The fridge is an important piece of equipment in the kitchen for keeping food safe. Cold temperatures help food stay fresh longer. Refrigeration slows down the activity of bacteria delaying the decomposition of food. Freezing is a method of preserving food by lowering the temperature to inhibit microorganism growth. While refrigeration lends itself nicely to conveniently reusing leftovers in a short period, freezing leftovers guarantees freshness and ensures food is safe to eat for a long time. However, freezing will not destroy any microorganisms which may have developed before the food was frozen.
Refrigeration and freezing can make life easier, but not all foods can be refrigerated or frozen. Other foods just need to be at normal room temperature. Most of the foods can be frozen, either cooked or raw. Here is a list of a few foods that can be safely frozen; all meat and meat products, seafood, poultry products, milk, cheese, butter, peas, cooked cereals, cooked root tubers (arrow roots, sweet potato, yams, cassava, etc.)
Storing your food on the correct shelf is vital to ensure it remains safe to eat and stops bacteria from spreading. Top shelf, ready-to-eat foods that don’t need cooking such as cooked meats, leftover, and other packaged food. Middle shelf, dairy products such as yogurt and cheese. Milk and eggs should be stored here and not in the door. The bottom shelf, raw meat, poultry, and fish always cover and keep in a sealed container. Vegetable drawer, salad, fruit, and vegetables should be kept in sealed bags or containers and washed before use. To help fruit and vegetables last longer, don’t wash them before storage. Door, store food that has natural preservatives such as condiments. You can also store butter here and soft cheeses as they don’t need to be in the coldest part of the fridge.
Foods that that should be in the fridge and not in the cupboard or on the shelf top include:
- Leftover foods, any foods that remained after eating should be put in the freezer or fridge within two hours of being cooked. Divide leftover into individual portions and refrigerate and use within 2 days. When reheating food, make sure it is heated until it reaches a temperature of 70C for 2 minutes, so that it is steaming hot throughout.
- Fruits and vegetables, like carrots, broccoli, cabbage, and celery should be stored in a plastic bag in the crisper of your fridge. Mushrooms are best stored in a paper bag. It is best if vegetables are stored in a different part of the fridge than fruit to prevent them from ripening too fast. Bananas are tropical fruits and have no natural defense against the cold in their cell walls which is what causes the banana’s skin to turn black and spoil.
- Condiments like ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, pesto, the tartare sauce should be stored in the fridge after opening, this is because some of its ingredients have eggs with can help increase its spoilage on the shelf.
- Cakes, if you have leftover birthday treats or are baking something special for an event, storing the cake in the fridge is a great way to make sure it doesn’t go stale. Though most cakes made with whipped cream or fresh fruit should go straight into the fridge after serving.
- Dairy products, store milk, and other dairy products like cheese, butter, yogurt, in the coldest part of the refrigerator, never store milk in the refrigerator door where it is susceptible to warmer air from opening and closing the door.
- Eggs, should not be stored on the refrigerator door, but in the main body of the refrigerator to ensure that they keep a consistent and cool temperature. Leftover raw egg whites and yolk should be put in airtight containers and stored in the refrigerator immediately.
- Seafood should be stored in the refrigerator and used within 1 to 2 days after purchase. It is a good idea to keep it as cold as possible in the fridge. If the fish won’t be used within 2 days, wrap it tightly in moisture-proof bags and store it in the freezer.
- Meat and meat products, when refrigerating raw meat, keep it in its original packing right up until you use it, this will contain contamination in the event of any drips or spills. For cooked meat, let it cool completely at room temperature and store it in an airtight container.
- Wine and alcohol, tests have shown that one of the best ways to keep your bottle of wine from turning sour is to put it in the fridge. Whether it’s red, white, or pink, just let the red wine slightly return to room temperature before serving. Beers should be kept refrigerated always, otherwise, they can lose their integrity and develop off-flavors.
- Poultry, packaged fresh poultry may be refrigerated in its original wrapping in the coldest part of the refrigerator for up to two days. Cooked, whole poultry without stuffing may be stored for three days.
The refrigerator is considered one of the enormous technological advancements in the present day. Amidst the busy schedule, one finds it easy to cook food and refrigerate it as food does not get spoiled. However, devouring too much leftovers can be harmful to your health, and if the food is kept for a longer time and then consumed it could lose its nutritional value, cause food poisoning or indigestion.