If only cleaning a refrigerator were as easy as turning the knob on self-cleaning ovens.
You may not think too much about cleaning a refrigerator as a means to maximize your food's life and flavor, but oh it matters. But the way you arrange your fridge can keep your food fresher for longer. It can also prevent dangerous cross-contamination. Want to make healthy eating choices? A well-organized refrigerator can help you do that too.
1. Start your refrigerator organization project by cleaning everything out. You may need an ice chest to store any temperature-sensitive items while you clean. Use a natural cleaner and warm water to wipe down all your drawers and shelves, including the door. In some cases, it may be easier to remove the fridge components completely and scrub them in your kitchen sink. Don’t forget to wipe down the outside of the refrigerator and the inside of the doors.
2. Now that your fridge is clean and empty, look inside and locate the air vent. It’s usually situated somewhere on the back wall of the appliance. The area by this vent is the coldest spot in your entire refrigerator. Store seafood and dairy items towards the back of this shelf.
3. Next, consider the upper shelves of your fridge that are located at eye level. This is prime real estate, and the foods you put here are the ones that you will grab for when you’re hungry. It’s a great spot for leftovers and ready-to-eat foods that need to be consumed sooner rather than later. You’ll also want to store healthy snacks here, including fresh fruit, chopped vegetables, low-fat cheese strips and protein shakes.
4. For whole vegetables and fruits, you’ll find some built-in refrigerator organization in the form of crisping bins or drawers. These special crisping areas are designed to have a higher humidity, which keeps produce fresher longer. Never store your fruits and vegetables in a tightly sealed plastic bag. Instead, store produce out of bags or loosely covered. If you have two crispers on top of each other, keep the produce that will be cooked on the top one, and store produce that you’ll eat raw on the bottom. In case of accidental food leakage from above, cooking your vegetables will kill off the nasty bacteria.
5. Eggs and raw proteins like beef, chicken and pork should always be kept on the lowest shelf. Sometimes packages aren’t sealed tightly, and you don’t want raw chicken juice running down the shelves of your fridge. Most new fridges will have this shelf sealed. If yours doesn’t, always store your proteins in a container.
6. Got butter? Be sure to store your butter in the designated butter compartment, or in a butter dish with a lid. Otherwise, the fats in your butter will pick up various aromas in your fridge, like onions.
7. Finally, you’re ready to fill up the door. The temperature on your door shelves fluctuates the most – every time you open and close the door. Use this space for items that are temperature-stable, including condiments, dressings, pickles, juices and drinks. Never store your eggs in the door.
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Photo by armigeress