Storing food properly in your fridge is important since it contains different thermal zones. Here’s how to store them properly to be better organized and avoid food waste.
When organizing the refrigerator, we like to take inspiration from restaurant kitchens because they organize it with food safety in mind. Thus, their organization is based on the temperature at which the food should be cooked.
Foods that do not need to be cooked to be safe to eat (such as prepared foods or leftovers) are placed on top. Foods that need to be cooked at a higher temperature, such as chicken or beef, are placed at the bottom. So, imagine ranking food from top to bottom in increasing order of its cooking temperature.
By arranging this way, cross-contamination cannot be a problem, as the contaminated food will have to be cooked at a higher temperature than what is above what may have spilled on it.
Prepare for refrigerator organization
The best way to start organizing your refrigerator is to clean it thoroughly. You should unplug the refrigerator and take everything out. Make sure you have a cooler ready to store all the food from the fridge while you clean it. This is also a time to take an inventory of all food and drink and get rid of outdated, spoiled, or items that you know you won’t use.
Once you have cleaned the refrigerator and taken inventory, you can set up the shelves to place the items in. If you know what to store in the refrigerator, adjust shelves and drawers accordingly. At this point, you could also plan the layout of the refrigerator and mark the drawers if necessary. In your planning, be aware that keeping similar foods together will help you find them very easily later.
How to organize your refrigerator?
How can you adopt their way of organizing at home? There is a method for determining where to store different types of food in the best refrigerator available under Rs. 30000, and it has to do with temperature distribution. Cooler areas, such as doors and top shelves, should not contain the same items as cooler areas or specialty drawers. Here’s a look at those areas and the best items to store in them ideally:
1. The upper shelves of the refrigerator
The top shelf is ideal for storing ready-to-eat foods, drinks, and leftovers. This is where they will stay fresh and easily seen. Basically, this is where you should store items that won’t stay in the fridge for long and those that don’t need more intense refrigeration.
2. The lower shelves of the refrigerator
Lower shelves are ideal for storing raw foods like meat, dairy products like milk and yogurt, and other perishables that should be kept in these cooler areas. If there are items on the top shelves that don’t fit where they should, you may want to put them on the bottom. As a general rule, the most perishable items should be at the bottom and, if possible, closer to the back of the refrigerator.
3. The refrigerator door
The doors are the hottest part of the refrigerator, which means they are best suited for less perishable items. These include condiments like sauces and dressings, but also certain delicacies like olives and dried or pickled packaged foods. Contrary to common practice, the refrigerator door is not the ideal place to store milk or eggs, as they are susceptible to spoilage and must be stored at lower temperatures.
Eggs need a constant temperature to stay fresh, which is why the middle shelf is the best place to keep them. Store milk on a lower shelf, ideally placed towards the back.
4. The refrigerator drawers
The refrigerator drawers are delicate. While they’re designed to hold produce at specific humidity levels, it makes sense to want to put fruits and vegetables in them. However, the drawers are usually at the bottom of the refrigerator, directly under the meat. You, therefore, risk contaminating your fresh produce.
If you have two drawers, take one exclusively for fruits and vegetables, and the other for meat. If one drawer is above the other, use the lower drawer for meat. If you need the two drawers for fruits and vegetables, use a clear container that will catch accidental drips from the meat and keep it away from the rest.
Use the refrigerator accessories
Some of the most effective refrigerator organization tips are for different kinds of useful accessories. These vary from DIY, homemade solutions to containers explicitly designed for refrigerator organization. Here are some of the accessories that will bring perfect order to your refrigerator:
Containers like clear glass sets and silicone food bags are great for keeping food fresh and easy to find. You can place the containers on a turntable for convenience and use tongs or hanging baskets to make the most of the space inside the refrigerator.
Additional bins and drawers can make the difference when it comes to separating different items and keeping similar items together. Tip: You can use file cabinets to stack things like yogurts, sachets, and snacks in smaller packages. Empty egg cartons can also serve as good holders for sauce bottles.
You can cover each flat surface with waterproof and washable refrigerator mats to help keep perishables fresh and make cleaning much easier. To achieve the same effect, place fruits and vegetables on a paper towel liner.
Refrigerator air filters are a great way to control food odors. It may not be directly related to the organization, but a well-stocked refrigerator should also be odor-free.
Other tips for organizing your refrigerator
1. Adopt the “first in, first out” rule
You can set the rule of “first in, first out”, which means preferably using the oldest foods in your refrigerator before starting the new ones. To make this rule easier to follow, organize the fridge (and freezer) making sure that older foods are ahead of newer foods, like in food markets!
2. Place leftover meals in clear containers
Place leftover meals in transparent containers and identify the contents and the date they were refrigerated. This also applies to the freezer where you can quickly confuse certain frozen things or forget how long they have been there.
3. Clean the refrigerator regularly
Because of the presence of all the organic matter in the fridge, bacteria can grow in large numbers. A fridge that is not cleaned regularly has thousands of bacteria. These unfortunately participate in the premature degradation of food. In addition, clean tablets prevent cross-contamination.