Family Food and Wine Health Home

How to use the fridge effectively

October 3, 2016

Almost everyone uses a fridge in their home. As with many tools, however, there are good and bad ways to use them. There are even ways to use them effectively. It’s not simply a matter of throwing in any item that we want. We should therefore take time to consider precisely what’s required from us in order to treat our fridge and food well.

How to clean

Due to the cold temperature, we might assume that food will last forever. We associate food going off with bad smells, yet the temperature of the fridge can neutralise this sensation. This is why we need to check for bad or old food with our eyes, not our noses. Cleaning should be done monthly and weekly, each time taking different approaches.

Weekly means we should be checking for spills. This is easy to wipe up and can probably be done at soon as it happens. Sometimes we may not notice a spill, because an item might out of view. Give each shelf a once over, then wipe away with damp cloth. We also should wipe sticky residue off bottles or other containers. Fruit and vegetables often go off faster than other foodstuffs – while going through wiping down procedures, make sure to check the dates or condition of fruit in the crisper. Toss whatever is unusable.

Monthly cleans require more work. This is where we should remove each shelf, throwing away what’s expired and wiping down the base itself. Once all items are removed, we should have a once over with a damp cloth, lightly coated in detergent or baking soda. Make sure to dry whatever has been wiped.

Drawers are bit more work. As the notes:

“Wash drawers in a solution of lukewarm water and mild detergent, then dry thoroughly, says home safety expert Cheryl Luptowski of National Safety Federation. Remove stubborn odors by rinsing with a solution of one quart of water and two tablespoons baking soda, followed by a plain water rinse and then wiping dry. Instead of detergent, cleaning coach Leslie Reichert uses one tablespoon white distilled vinegar to one quart of water to wash and deodorize at the same time.”

How to stack

We might think stacking a fridge is easy, but it requires some thought. The Kitchn recommends using lower shelves for raw ingredients and upper ones for leftovers, drinks and ready-to-eat foods. They also recommend separating drawers between meats and fruits, since the former can contaminate the latter. If the drawers are on top of one another, use the lower one for meat.

Of course, we can do ourselves a large favour by noting the features on the fridge for sale, that we’re considering.

(Picture Credit:Christina Hendricks / Flickr)


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