If you've decided to tackle the task of cleaning out your refrigerator, you should feel proud of yourself! At least once a year (we like to do it once every 6 months,) you should take stock of what you've got in your fridge, toss the expired condiments, give your fridge a good wipe down and then re-stock your shelves with ingredients that your family uses often. But the question remains, once you have a pristine base to start with, what is the best way to put everything back in to ensure optimum freshness? We're here to help by sharing our guide of where you should keep foods to ensure optimum freshness!
Fresh Veggies & Fruit
Fresh fruit and veggies are parishible and stay fresh longer with a bit of humidity. That means they should be kept in the drawers at the bottom, often labelled as 'high-humidity' or 'crisper' drawers. It's best to keep fruits and veggies stored in their original packaging or loosly wrapped in a plastic bag. Fresh herbs can be washed and loosely wrapped in clean paper towel and then in a ziploc. Mushrooms do best when kept in their original packaging or in a loose brown paper bag.
Tip: Leave vegetables and fruits unwashed until you use them. Water can promote mold and cause bacteria to grow.
Eggs are perishable and keep and last the longest where there is a temperature that is consistent. In most fridges this is on the middle shelf. Store eggs in the original cartons to keep safe and free from cracks and leaks.
Tip: Keep eggs in original container, not in the egg section of your fridge.
Milk is also perishable and it should find its home in the coldest part of your fridge, which is most often on the bottom shelf, at the very back of your fridge.
Tip: Make sure you check expiry dates at the shop and buy the freshest milk possible so it lasts the longest.
Yogurt, Milk and Cottage/Cream Cheese
Yogurt is very similar to milk and therefore it is best stored in its original packaging on the bottom shelf, close to the back.
Tip: Stack items ontop of eachother if they are the same and keep expiration dates visible at the front.
Packaged raw meat
Raw meat, including chicken, beef, pork and even fish, are all extremely perishable and thereforehould go on the super-cold bottom shelf. An added bonus of putting all raw meat in this location in your fridge is that if any juices drip, they won’t contaminate the whole fridge.
Tip: Buy a plastic open-top container that you can store meats in so that if any drips do occur, you can simply remove that and wash it and your fridge will not need a clean up.
Condiments & Sauces
Condiments and sauces are generally very high in vinegar and salt, which are natural preservatives. So normal condiments and sauces including ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, and salad dressing are fine on the door where it is the warmest because the door gets opened and closed constantly. Same goes for pickles, salsa and any sauces you have. Nut oils, like sesame and walnut oils, belong in the refrigerator so they do not become rancid, also on the door.
Tip: Check your condiments once a month and toss anything that is over its expiry date and buy a fresh bottle or jar. Keeping on top of it will make it easier for you in the long run.
Many fridges now have a meats and cheese drawer which is a great place to store things like deli meat and cheese slices.
Tip: Most deli meats only last a couple of days after the package is open so buy only what you will actually eat!
Butter and soft cheeses
Butter and soft cheeses like cream cheese and ricotta don’t need to be super cold, so they can live in the dairy compartment on the door (the warmest part of the fridge). Place soft cheeses, like Brie and goat cheese, in an air-tight container after opening them to keep them fresh for longer.
Tip: We like to use a bin to keep all of our cheeses together! A quick sniff will tell you if they are still fresh.
Bottled Juices and Smoothies
Fresh pasteurized juices and bottled smoothies are also perishable so keep them on the bottom shelf close to the back with the milk and yogurt.