We all own a fridge. It sits in the kitchen quietly chilling our wine and cheese, along with various opened jars that should have probably been used up months ago!
But did you realise that there is a proper way to look after and use your fridge?
To take a step back in time, but not so very long ago, our elders would not have had the luxury of having a chilled compartment at the flick of a switch. They probably relied on a pantry which backed the north wall of the house, or even a cellar. A lot of their food was kept preserved by pickling or salting methods, and shopping was done on an ‘as and when needed’ basis and eaten within a day or two. Weekly shopping at supermarkets hadn’t been invented.
The advent of the fridge has changed our habits and allows us to store food for a much longer length of time. Also, with a general desire to have less chemicals in our food, preservatives are on the decline which means that some opened bottles or jars of food have to be stored in a fridge.
So, what are the rules to ensure that our fridge gives us optimal performance? Read on for a few of our favourite tips.
Aim to keep your fridge at an operating temperature of 0 – 5°C but certainly never higher than 8°C. Some fridges these days have an inbuilt thermometer but if not, these can be easily bought and placed in your fridge for good reference.
Fridges are generally cooler at the bottom, so less perishable goods such as drinks and packets should be placed at the top, with condiments being stored in the door as this is where the greatest fluctuation occurs and these items are more resilient to a change in temperature.
Your more perishable goods should sit lower down the fridge, with raw products at the bottom as not only is this the coldest part of the fridge, but also any drips that may escape from meat or fish will not land on other food and cause contamination. Make sure all food is kept in sealed containers as this will prevent such an event happening and will also ensure no smells will taint other foods.
Fruit and vegetables also belong lower down in the fridge. There is quite often a crisper drawer for these which will help to keep them fresh for longer as they are designed to have a different level of humidity.
Never place warm items in the fridge. Many people may think this is a good way of chilling food, however, it will only raise the temperature in the fridge, affecting other foods and possibly spoiling them. Further, once the temperature of the fridge has been raised, it will take some considerable time to get back down to the recommended level.
Similarly, try not to leave the door open for long.
Do not overfill or underfill the fridge. Overfilling it will not allow the cold air to circulate properly and underfilling it could result in an uneven circulation of air.
Try to get used to a good order of food rotation. Move items with a closer expiry date to the front so they don’t end up being forgotten about and then having to be thrown away. It is always a good idea to place opened items in an airtight container with the date of opening written on it so you know exactly when it should be used by.
Finally, keep your fridge clean and free from any spills. Wipe the seals down regularly to ensure the door always closes properly and keep the drain channel free of any blockages as this could cause a build up of ice and bad smells. Don’t forget to wipe the handle down too.
A well looked after fridge will look after you for years to come.
If you would like to broaden your knowledge of food safety, please click on our course link for more information.