An organized fridge can truly make a world of difference in keeping your food fresh. Try following these simple tips to save some time and money, as well as a few headaches.
1. Location: With food safety as a constant concern, chefs always make a point to organize things based on how cold the items need to be. Knowing the best place to put things not only helps by preventing any cross-contamination, but it also helps you keep foods fresher, longer. Naturally, raw meats and seafood should be placed at the bottom of the fridge where temperatures are the coldest. Keeping them low also prevents them from potentially leaking contaminated juices onto other items. Another rule of thumb is to place foods that don’t need to be cooked on upper shelves, like leftovers and prepared foods, as these shelves tend to have the most consistent temperature. On standard refrigerator models, the door is where temperatures fluctuate the most. Normally, it’s suggested to keep those spots reserved for condiments and other products that have a long shelf life.
2. Avoid Overcrowding: Less crowding allows for better air circulation. Make sure you take advantage of all the real estate your fridge has to offer by evenly distributing your products to keep everything cooler. An overcrowded fridge is an inefficient fridge, which can lead to food spoiling. Don’t just throw everything in at random. Items that are stacked or sitting awkwardly could spill out the next time you open the door.
3. Move Older Ones to Front: That jam that expired in 2012? Never again. You can help avoid wasting foods that are expiring sooner by placing them in chronological order. Rotate items on your shelf to move things with upcoming expiration dates to the front. This helps prioritize your usage of certain things that could spoil sooner, and reduces the chances that things could go bad in your fridge.
4. Give Everything a Proper Place: Be consistent about where things live in your fridge. Once you have determined a permanent home for everything, not only will you know where things go, but you’ll spend less time looking when you need them. This also makes items easier to replace when you notice sudden vacant spots on shelves. Having assigned spots in the fridge will reduce the chance of forgetting about an item that may have already spoiled.
5. Time is not on Your Side: Keeping expiration dates visible is key to ensuring things don’t spoil. If there is no date on an item, keep a marker and/or white tape for labels nearby so you can at least keep track of when it was bought. In this case, knowing is more than half the battle.