Extending Your Food’s Shelf Life with Proper Refrigeration

According to estimates, people waste no less than 200 pounds of food every year – either they throw items that have ceased to be appealing, or simply allow things to perish in the fridge. Imagine buying a week’s worth of food and just having to throw them into a landfill site.

The good news is stretching your food’s shelf life can all begin by improving your refrigerator practices or habits. Here are tips that can help:

> A stuffed fridge won’t have proper air circulation to sufficiently cool all of its contents. Bacteria that bring illness and those that increase the rate of spoilage grow more rapidly in a fridge that’s set higher than 40?F. In such a scenario, a fridge thermometer surely comes in handy.
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> To impede the growth of pathogens and spoilage bacteria, the temperature in your fridge must at least never exceed 40?F. The best temperature for prolonging your food’s shelf life is 36>37?F (not too cold that your drinks are crystallizing or your lettuce leaves are freezing).
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> Know your fridge’s cold and hot spots. Some foods freeze sooner than the rest. It’s wise to take a temperature profile of your fridge by moving the thermometer around every now and then to know which are cold and which are hot spots. Foods that are less likely to freeze, such as your steak, may be better placed close to the bottom, back and walls, which are generally the coldest. Keep in mind that newer refrigerators usually have a more uniform temperature.

> Most foods that require no refrigeration – think apples, certain pastries, etc. – will last even so much longer if you actually put them in the refrigerator.

> If you keep raw fish in your fridge for longer than a day after purchase, put some ice on top so it stays fresh and tasty. The fish should of course be wrapped in a plastic bag in order to protect it from melted ice.

> Clean your fridge from time to time as a way to prevent the spread of pathogens and spoilage bacteria among the foods. Wipe off spills immediately, and sanitize the entire interior at least every month or two. And don’t forget to dust off the coils – dirty ones impede sufficient air flow.

> At least once a week or so, look in the fridge and find contents that may have been there too long, such as saucy leftovers, mold-covered fruits or old luncheon meats shoved to the back. Remember, less sugary foods deteriorate faster.

> And just in case you’re planning to buy a new refrigerator, get one with glass or plastic shelves – which are much easier to keep germ-free – instead of wire racks.