- Make sure you're storing your food inside a clean fridge.
- Store your food in keeping with the categories below, to avoid cross-contamination.
- Never overstock your fridge - allow for room so that air can circulate.
- Put the items you use most regularly towards the front of the fridge.
When food is stored well, it lasts longer, keeps a healthy crunch (where this is a feature of the food), and allows for optimal temperatures throughout. The fresher the ingredients, the more delicious your meals will be – and the more money you’ll save by keeping ingredients fresh until their expiration date.
So, just how do you go about storing your food safely and efficiently? And how should you organise your fridge to get the most out of it? Our tips on how to store food in a fridge and keep food for longer via proper fridge organisation have all the answers.If you start with a clean foundation, then fridge organisation is a breeze. Get rid of expired food and limit how much you spend on these goods in future to avoid waste and overcrowding in your fridge.
How to store food in a fridge
The first step to organising a fridge is ensuring it is fit for storage. A quick wipe down with an antibacterial like Cif should do the trick, or read this article for more tips on fridge cleaning.
How you place items in the fridge then depends on the type of food. Refer to the categories below and learn how to store food in the fridge in a way that not only suits your family but which also promotes good food hygiene and keeps you safe.
Eggs: these guys need consistent temperatures, so the middle shelf is a good bet. Yes, that means you shouldn’t make use of the cute built-in egg container.Use biocides safely. Always read the label and product information before use.
Milk: Keep it as cold as possible – that means at the bottom, and at the back. Too inconvenient when you’re making a cuppa? The benefit of milk being stored properly is that it will last for longer which means more cups of tea and fewer congealed lumps on your cereal.
Soft Dairy: Cream cheese, yogurt, and cottage cheese are all examples of this. These are similar to eggs in that they need constant and consistent temperatures, so aim to store them in the heart of the fridge space.
Firm Dairy: By this we mean butter and hard cheeses. These don’t need to be super cold to stay good, so they can live in the shelves of the door (the warmest place in a refrigerator).
Raw Meat: Without a doubt, store anything like this in the bottom shelf. Super cold, and if it leaks for any reason, it won’t put any of your other food at risk of contamination.
Vegetables: These need moisture to stay fresh, so look for the drawer labelled ‘High Humidity’. Keep it in its original packaging or in a plastic bag. Always read the label on your vegetables’ packet to see if it is best off in the fridge too – some veggies are recommended to be kept at room temperatures and won’t last as long in the cold.
Fruit: In direct contrast to veggies, fruits need low humidity. Is there a space labelled ‘Crisper’? This is the ideal spot. Citrus fruits don’t need packaging, but everything else should be in bags. Like veg, not all fruit is best off in the fridge so check this first.
Condiments: If you’re already storing these in the fridge door then well done! Sweet and salt-based condiments have preserving ingredients in them to begin with, so they don’t need as much temperature assistance to stay in good form for a long time.
Juices: Orange, apple or cranberry…read the label of these fruity drinks to check if they have been pasteurised before putting them in your fridge. If they haven’t been pasteurised then keep them low down in the fridge. Otherwise, they’re perfectly fine to pop in the door.
Organising your fridge for efficiency
With all these tips taken into consideration, you also need to think about the design of your fridge and how everything fits together before filling it with food. The coolest (low and deep) and warmest (door shelves and cavities) areas will be the same in any make or model but you might need to adjust the placement of items in other areas depending on the specific features of your fridge.
If you’re not sure how to store food in fridge doors and on shelves efficiently then the easiest thing to do is think of the items you use most frequently. Place these near the front (to make them easier to reach) and make sure that the fridge is not overcrowded. Placing too many items in the fridge at once can affect the airflow and mean that you’re items aren’t kept as cool, or as fresh, as you’d like.
Leave plenty of room for the air to circulate and don’t push items right up against the back or sides of fridges as this can cause a build up of ice, water or simply stick the packing to the inside of your fridge – resulting in a messy clean-up job later on down the line. Once that’s done, you’ll have a perfectly well organised fridge and longer-lasting, fresh food.
Originally published 19 July 2018