23 Mar A Guide To Storing Items Correctly In Your Fridge
From packing suitcases to filling drawers, and from keeping receipts and credit cards in our wallets and purses to overloading the washing machine – we’re all guilty of being a little, shall we say, less than neat from time to time.
We all know from going on holiday and not wanting to be caught short from unpredictable weather that we can often want to pack more shoes, clothes and toiletries than our suitcases can handle. And at home, many of us are hoarders of the most unforgiving kind – our wardrobes are practically bursting at the seams, and none of our drawers will close.
When I go shopping, I invariably stuff the receipt in my wallet, which, along with my credit cards, banking cards, loyalty cards, library cards, insurance cards and AA card, often feels more like a rubbish bin than a cash receptacle (and there’s never enough of the green stuff in there anyway!!).
Yes, we can be – okay, let’s forget about the ‘less than neat’ euphemisms now – decidedly untidy from time to time, and nowhere is this better exemplified to our shame than in the fridge.
It’s true – after we’ve prised a pair of jeans out of the overstuffed drawer, thrown on a coat from somewhere near the entrance to Narnia at the back of the wardrobe, gone to the shops and filled our shopping trolley higher than our heads and then stuffed yet another yard-long receipt into our already overcrowded purse or wallet, we’ve then got to unpack everything and find a home for it all back in the kitchen.
For me, this is the worst kitchen job of them all. I actually quite enjoy shopping, I absolutely adore cooking (and eating), I don’t even mind doing the cleaning. But, if I won the lottery, then the first thing I’d do is employ someone for just 20 minutes once a week to unpack my shopping and put it all away in the cupboards, freezer and fridge for me.
I’m not joking. It’s a horrible task. Awful.
But, alas, it has to be done – and I don’t even play the lottery, so I guess I’m stuck with doing it for the foreseeable future rest of my life anyway.
Being Neat Makes Sense In Lots Of Ways
Ah, well. What does encourage me to plough on through the task at hand, however, is the thought that by storing all my food items in my fridge correctly, I will at least be cutting down significantly on my wastage.
Astonishingly, the average household will spend roughly £480 a year on food that they eventually throw in the bin. This is simply a crime against humanity if nothing else, so, for me, it’s imperative that I make my food last in the fridge so that it’s still fresh by the time I use it.
What is more, food stored incorrectly in the fridge can be susceptible to cross-contamination of all sorts of nasty bacteria – let alone cause havoc with the appliance’s temperature, which in itself can be the cause of anything from salmonella to listeria multiplying to dangerous levels and causing food poisoning.
So, now that we know the risks, let’s consider what we might do to prevent them.
A Guide To Storing Items Correctly In Your Fridge
Here is the warmest part of the fridge, which means that it’s the best place to keep your pre-prepared foods such as jars of sauces, cheeses, yoghurts and creams. In fact, other dairy like butter or margarine is best kept here too, and if there’s room for the milk bottles then squeeze them in as well.
This is the shelf that you reserve for your leftovers. Any cooked meats that you didn’t finish along with your Sunday roast can take up residence here, along with sealed containers filled with any stews, casseroles, rice, pasta or curries that didn’t get gobbled up when you prepared them.
This is the coldest part of the fridge, so is best reserved for the most volatile and perishable items on your shopping list. This means all of your raw meat and fish. You need to keep these items either sealed up in the packaging that they come in, or otherwise place them in sealed containers yourself. Not only does this make sense over temperature concerns, but placing these items on the bottom shelf means that there is no risk of any blood or raw juices dripping down onto ready-to-eat foods, which, especially in the case of chicken, could cause any unsuspecting midnight nibblers all sorts of gastrointestinal trouble.
Here is the place for all of your fruits, salads and vegetables. Some salad drawers come with humidity controls which help certain vegetables – such as lettuce, cucumber, cauliflower, beans, broccoli and carrots – stay crisper and fresher for longer.
Since the door is the one place in the fridge that will always find itself exposed to warm air from time to time, the temperature here will invariably fluctuate. Therefore, this is the best place to store your food items that do not rely so heavily on being constantly held at a chilled temperature in order to last. Fruit juices, condiments, jams and eggs are most at home here, and if there wasn’t room for the milk on the top shelf, then it will be fine in the door rack.