We might be busy with work, doing our everyday activities, caring for the kids and more, but we still find time to clean and organize our home. However, this is not the case when it comes to our refrigerator. Sometimes we clean it once a week, a month, or anytime, we remember and feel like doing so. We should not take our fridge for granted as clean food storage is necessary for our health safety.
Refrigeration is known to be the most used food storage technique all over the world. In the US, there are about 10 to 12 Million units sold each year from 2016 to 2019 as per Statista.com. This is one of the most essential items in our home. It helps keep our food fresh and slows down the process of spoilage. Therefore, we should make an effort to clean and care for it. We want to help you effectively clean and organize your fridge. Here are the top 10 amazing fridge organizing tips that you can do at home.
You heard us right! Even your fridge needs to be decluttered. If your fridge has no extra space inside, it will be hard for it to do its job. Do not overfill your fridge. The ideal fridge should only be two-thirds full so that air can circulate, air vents won't be blocked, and your fridge will be energy efficient.
2. Check where you store foods
Easily spoiled foods like dairy product which contains eggs and milk should be stored in the middle shelf of your fridge. Do not store these kinds of food on the top shelf or the door, as those areas are the warmest spots. Warm temperature makes bacteria grow faster, so make sure to store those short-lived foods on their proper shelves. You can put condiments or snacks on the door shelf. Left-overs can be stored on the top shelf so you can easily see and consume them.
3. Pre-cut fresh produce is not always a good idea
Although there are effective ways of storing cut veggies and fruits, it is still best to wash and slice when you are ready to consume them. While readily chopped fresh produce is more convenient for us, its exposed surface will tend to decompose fast.
4. Do not mix veggies and fruits
Newer refrigerators have separate areas for veggies and fruits, so use them appropriately. Drawers for vegetables have high humidity as veggies sag gradually on moist areas. While the fruit drawer usually has low humidity as they rot slower when there's low moisture. So be careful not to mix your fruits and veggies when storing them.
5. Some fruits are to be stored in a vegetable crisper
Fruits that are sensitive to moisture loss and to ethylene gas should be stored in your veggies crisper drawer. Fruits like strawberries, bananas(unripe), and watermelons need high humid environment so they can stay fresh longer.
6. Know where to store your meats
There are two areas in your fridge where to store meats, in the freezer or at the bottom shelf. For freezer storage, you can store raw ground meats for 3 to 4 months. For cooked meats, 2 to 3 months. Make sure to label and date your meats to cook them before exceeding the said timeframes, as their flavors and texture can decline.
Storing meats on the bottom shelf will prevent juices from dripping on other foods. Ensure that they are well-sealed, so it doesn't come into contact with other foods. The recommended temperature is between 34° and 40°F. This will aid in slow bacterial growth. Meats can be stored on the bottom shelf for one to two days otherwise consume quickly.
7. Making it more organized
You can make the inside of your fridge look more pleasing by using container bins and trays. I know a lot of moms are interested in doing this. Organizing your fridge contents is an enjoyable thing to do and seeing it clean brings us satisfaction. You can use containers to categorize food items. If budget permits, you can use clear containers that are specifically designed for refrigerators. Arranging your fridge contents will let you know where to get the items you need. It will also help you be aware of the foods that needed to be consumed.
8. Designate an "Eat Me First" Shelf
One way to remember what food to consume initially is to designate an "Eat Me First" shelf or tray. This way, other family members will know that they can or should eat the food on that particular shelf before opening a new pack or eating another food. Less food will go to waste, which is what we aim for.
9. Follow the "First In, First Out" rule
If you bought a new tray of eggs, make sure to use the stock in your fridge first. The same goes for other food products. Always check and consume the foods that are near the expiry date. Do not mix them with your newly bought food items.
10. Clean your fridge regularly
Make sure to clean your fridge once a week. Scan your fridge contents and dispose of rotting foods to prevent the spread of bacteria. Remove all the items and drawers before cleaning. As per CDC guidelines, you can wash the drawers with hot soapy water and dry them with a clean towel. Wipe the insides of your fridge with a hot soapy cloth then wipe with clean water to rinse. Also, make sure to wipe the food containers clean before putting them back inside the clean fridge.
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