Whether you’re a carnivore, pescatarian, vegetarian or vegan, knowing exactly how and where to keep your food in the fridge is an art in itself. While many of us know the basics of keeping food fresh in the fridge, there are a few tips and tricks you can follow to ensure your food stays fresher for longer. Check out our tips below to find out how to smartly and safely store food in your fridge.
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Which food should be stored in the fridge?
Having a clear idea of the foods that need to be kept in your fridge is the first step to saving that all-important space.
For example, eggs: While you may think eggs have to be stored in the fridge, this is really up to you. Eggs can last longer when refrigerated but can also safely be stored on the countertop. Bread is another item that doesn’t need to be kept in the fridge, it can be safely stored in a bread bin.
Foods that can be easily contaminated, like meat and fish, do need to be kept in the fridge. But vegetables, like tomatoes and onions can be stored in the cupboard. Because fruits like avocados, apples, bananas, lemons and berries can change taste and texture inside the fridge, think about how quickly you plan to eat them and whether they need refrigerating.
Setting your fridge to the correct temperature
The million-dollar question! To keep your food fresh and safe to eat, it is recommended you set the temperature of your fridge to 4°C, or slightly below. Too warm, and meat and fish will contaminate. Too cold, and you’ll freeze your fruit and veg, leaving it inedible.
Which food goes where?
Storing everything in the right place in your fridge is important from a food safety angle.
Meat and fish need to be kept on the bottom shelf where any juices won’t spill onto other foods. Dairy products, like milk and cheese, can be stored on the middle shelves, while vegetables will stay fresher for longer in the most humid part of the fridge like veggie drawers. Fruit, on the other hand, needs lower humidity.
The best spot for any ready-to-eat food is the top shelf (which conveniently keeps it away from hungry little hands too). The fridge door is the perfect place for your tomato sauce, mayonnaise, mustard and other condiments.
Storing food in the fridge
Knowing where to keep certain food is one thing, but having an understanding of how to store it is another trick worth learning. A well-organised fridge allows cool air to circulate more evenly, which keeps food fresher. It’ll also make your life easier when taking things out to cook.
While fruit and vegetables can be kept fresh in the built-in drawer, you might want to think about storing meat, fish, dairy and even leftovers in easily stackable see-through containers so you can grab what you need when you need it.
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How to minimise food waste
The best way to minimise food waste is to buy the correct amount of food. It’s easy to overestimate how much food you actually need, but it’s also a simple problem to solve. Next time you’re about to do the food shop, take a look in your fridge first and note down specifically what you need for the week ahead. This will make a big difference when it comes to figuring out what you need and how much you need for the days ahead. Consider your plans for the week. If you’re going out for dinner with friends on the weekend, then you’ll need to buy less food for dinners.
When it comes to minimising food waste, the sooner groceries are refrigerated, the better.
Storing food in the freezer
Navigating your way around a packed freezer drawer can be a nightmare. Stuffing everything back in once you’ve finally found what you’re looking for isn’t much fun either. So organisation is key.
Try packing food into storage containers or even old takeaway tubs that can be labelled. When freezing meat, fish, sauces and even soups, keep everything in Ziplock bags to save space. You can then flatten these when defrosting, which will help food thaw out quicker.
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