BY JOEL KOH
Reading Time: 6 minutes
Did you know the average person opens the fridge 15 to 20 times a day? That’s actually a lot if you think about it. For something that’s used so often, have you ever stopped to wonder how much time you’ll save if the fridge is well-organised and everything is easy to find? Not to mention keeping food in the right place is vital to food safety as it prevents cross-contamination and food spoilage.
Don’t know where to start? Don’t sweat it! We’ll share how to keep a fridge organised so you can save time, and keep your food fresh and safe. Just keep reading for our pro tips and recommendations.
Food to Leave Outside the Fridge
To start, remove all the products that don’t belong in the fridge. Believe it or not, most food products fare better in room temperature and actually spoil faster in the fridge.
This includes food like onions and root vegetables (potatoes, lotus root), tomatoes, olive and vegetable oil. Most fruits (except berries) will last longer at room temperature. Just be sure to keep them in a cool dry place away from direct sun exposure!
Next in organising your fridge – grab some airtight containers as some foods need to be contained for safety. You’ll want containers that are clear so you can identify and access them quickly.
It’s also vital that you store all raw meats, poultry and fish separately to prevent bacteria from spreading as it can cause serious food poisoning. All uncooked meats should be kept in clean, sealed containers or ziplock bags so they don’t come in contact with or drip onto other food products in the same fridge compartment.
Airtight containers are also important as they contain the smell of the food and prevent cross-contamination. I’m sure you don’t want your entire fridge to smell like durian or stinky tofu right?
You’ll be glad to know IUIGA offers quality food storage containers in various sizes at completely transparent and fair pricing. Rest assured you’ll get a bang for your buck as they’ll keep your food fresh, no matter the size of your produce.
Made from BPA-free, food-safe acrylonitrile styrene (AS) plastic, these quality containers are clear for easy identification and reach so you don’t have to rummage your kitchen or fridge to find your food.
You’ll be glad to know that IUIGA offers quality food storage with multiple sizes at fair pricing, to keep your food fresh, no matter the size of your produce.
Now that you’ve gotten your containers, you can start categorising your foods based on these suggested categories. There’s no hard and fast rule to this, so feel free to personalise it based on your lifestyle habits and preferences.
All raw meats, poultry and fish should be kept in the freezer section of the fridge at all times. Once you return from grocery shopping, always store the meat first as they’re raw and bacteria breed rapidly if it’s not stored properly at the optimum temperature. Always ensure that the raw meats are kept separately and away from any cooked food. To do that, wrap any raw meats in a plastic bag and seal it before placing in the food storage. When it comes to preventing food contamination, better be safe than sorry.
Fruits & Vegetables
Fresh produce such as fruits and vegetables are best kept at the crisper drawers of your fridge. The crisper drawers actually regulate the temperate and humidity levels to keep your fruits and vegetables fresher for longer. With reference to the image above, that’ll be the ideal amount of fresh produce to be kept in crisper drawers. However, if you have more to keep, it’s best to categorise and store them in food storage containers. Otherwise, there might be chances of the produce at the bottom getting squashed by the heavyweights above, which may lead to spoilage and nasty leakage.
Pro tip: remove your fruits and veggies from their plastic packaging before storing inside the fridge. Plastic bags traps ethylene gas which is let out naturally as they ripen over time. Trapping the gas will accelerate their decay, and we don’t want that.
Condiments & Sauces
Generally, most condiments and sauces (whether bottled or in sachets) contain salt and vinegar, which are natural preservatives. This allows them to last longer than other foods in the fridge, so you can afford to store them at the fridge door which is exposed to warmer air when opened, because they’re least affected by temperature changes.
Examples of such condiments and sauces include ketchup, mayonnaise, salad dressing, and sesame oil.
Ready-to-eat meats such as ham, salami and cold cuts should be placed in the shallow meat drawer as it’s colder than the rest of the fridge. If your fridge doesn’t have this compartment, don’t worry – you can also place them on the bottom shelf.
Snacks & Leftovers
Store all your snacks and leftovers on the highest shelf of the main fridge compartment as putting it at eye-level increase the chance of you finishing them quickly before they spoil.
Pro tip: leftovers should be consumed within three days maximum.
When it comes to dairy products, you’ll need to keep your fridge between 1ºC to 2ºC in order to maximise freshness. Dairy products also need to be placed in this specific order:
- Top shelf: store yoghurt here and remember to keep it tightly covered to maximise freshness.
- Middle shelf: store butter here and remember to wrap it tightly to keep it fresh
- Bottom shelf: store milk and cream here to keep it as cold as possible
- Crisper drawer: store cheese in its own drawer as it tends to absorb flavours easily
Do not store milk or butter in the fridge door as they need to be kept at a constant temperature.
Like condiments and sauces, drinks can be stored at the fridge door as liquids don’t get affected by temperature changes as much. The exception to this is bottled, carton or freshly-squeezed juices – these should be stored at the bottom shelf. Anyway, if you don’t already know: fresh juices should be consumed within the first 15 to 20 minutes for the best effects.
Bonus: How to Store Hot Foods
According to nutritionist Dr. Anju Sood, hot foods and liquids shouldn’t be thrown into the fridge immediately after cooking or heating as it may “lose its nutritive values and might just make your fridge work extra hard.”
However, it’s okay to put mildly hot food into the fridge for storage but the best way is to wait for it to cool down to room temperature before refrigeration.