Fridge storage: achieving a longer shelf life

[fa icon="calendar'] Jan 19, 2015, 2:30:54 PM / by SunPork Fresh Foods

looking-in-fridgeWhether you're storing pork, other meats, dairy products or fruits and vegetables, there are good ways and bad ways to go about doing so.

In today's blog, we take a closer look at the best practices when it comes to storing food in the fridge. A few simple adjustments can keep your food fresher for longer, ensuring nothing needlessly goes to waste.

 

Temperature

When it comes to your fridge, the ideal temperature range you should aim for should sit anywhere between 0 and 4 degrees. This range ensures that bacteria growth will be kept at bay, protecting what you've bought and keeping it fresher for longer. Temperatures are most consisten on the top shelf, the coldest on the bottom shelves, and the warmest on the fridge door.

The top shelves are more ideal for foods that don’t require cooking. These include herbs, pre-cooked meats, leftovers and other ready-to-eat items. Products that have natural preservatives are better suited for the fridge door as the warmer temperatures are less detrimental for such products. Unfortunately, despite the usual practice of including a section where you can store your eggs on the fridge door, it's not the most ideal place for them.

Given that the bottom of the fridge is the coolest (the classic hot air rises fact), this is where perishables should go. The likes of raw meat (e.g. pork), dairy products (e.g. eggs, milk, etc.), and seafood. Fruit and vegetables should be stored in the crispers.

 

Keep fruits and vegetables away from each other

While both fruits and vegetables are good for you, they're not the best of bedfellows. Certain fruits pose a risk to the health and life of vegetables. Fruits such as peaches, plums, and pears can emit a gas that causes vegetables to rot. To be on the safe side, you should keep fruits and vegetables in different crispers. If you only have one large crisper in your fridge, then place the fruits in there and place any vegetables that require refrigeration on of the bottom shelves. This will achieve the same effect of creating a barrier so the particular fruits' gases don't hurt your vegetables.

 

Not everything needs to be in the fridge

Many people tend to store things like bread, onions and tomatoes in the fridge, but most of these don't need to be there. When it comes to bread, storing it in the fridge only serves to dry it out and, consequently, rid it of any of its original softness. The best approach is to store your bread out of the fridge and consume it before the noted best before/use by date. If you do want to keep your bread for longer as you know you won't be able to consume it in time, the freezer is a better option. Bread can keep up for three months when frozen.

Dark cupboards are a better storage area for onions than the fridge. The same goes for the likes of squash and potatoes. For tomatoes, they'll ripen normally at room temperature. As long as you avoid placing them in direct sunlight, they'll keep for a reasonable amount of time before needing to be used.

 

Don't overstock your fridge

One of the worst ways of impairing your fridge's ability to maintain consistent, cool temperatures is by overstocking it. If you find yourself stacking items until each shelf is stuffed full, don't be surprised if your fridge isn't keeping things that cool. In the end, overstocking blocks the normal airflow that makes for efficient cooling in a fridge. With that airflow compromised, you'll find your fridge will have warm spots or the overall temperature simply won't be in the ideal range. So adjust the fridge storage until a normal airflow is achieved.