This article was written for Annabel & Grace, which is now part of Rest Less.
Although I’m usually pretty well organised, I do get a bit frustrated with the contents of my fridge. Well, not the contents exactly, but how I am storing them and whether they should be refrigerated at all. Bottles rolling about, not enough space for those things that are in there long term, leftovers wrapped in foil or clingfilm scattered about the shelves, and is that avocado better out than in? So I went in search of some really good fridge hacks and this is what I found and would like to share with you:
Don’t keep the fridge door open for longer than necessary and don’t overfill the fridge, as this will prevent air circulating, which will affect the internal temperature.
Only refrigerate food that is room temperature or cooler – putting hot food in will raise the temperature inside the fridge.
Temperatures vary in different parts of the fridge: store items that don’t require cooking such as mayo, sauces and dressings, on the upper shelves; dairy products on the lower/middle shelves; wrapped raw meat and fish on the bottom shelf (the coldest part of your fridge) where they cannot cross contaminate other foods if they leak. Preserves such as jams, chutneys and pickles in the fridge door shelves, where temperatures are most susceptible to fluctuation. Store delicate salads and herbs away from the back of the fridge, which is very cold – they are better off in the salad drawer.
If you’ve been preparing foods such as raw meat or fish, it’s incredibly important to wash your hands before touching your fridge door or contents to avoid contamination.
Keep it clean. Regular cleaning will not only keep your fridge hygienic but you’ll also have a chance to chuck out all those space-hogging expired products such as half used curry pastes. Remove everything from the fridge and give the shelves, drawers, interior walls, etc, a good clean with a proprietary cleaner (or a solution of 1tbsp bicarbonate of soda to 1litre (1¾ pints) water), then dry with a soft cloth (e-cloths are great for this). Put removable drawers and shelves into the dishwasher for a really good clean.
Use storage pots to keep leftovers fresh – these dated tubs from Joseph Joseph are pretty cool.
A simple but clever solution to stop rolling bottles and cans – the fridge monkey.
Create an ‘eat first’ box to remind yourself of what needs eating up fastest to prevent waste.
Eggs – can be stored out of the fridge but will last longer in it. But don’t keep them in the door where the temperature fluctuates, the middle shelf is best.
Group foods together ie if you have a few different cheeses, keep them all together in one storage box.
For optimum food quality and freshness, always keep opened condiments, such as jams, sauces and mayonnaise in your fridge. To save space, use a tiered shelf to keep them together. A lazy Susan is also a great way to store them as you can easily find the one you want without having to blindly reach to the back of the fridge.
WHAT NOT TO REFRIGERATE
Knowing what’s best stored outside your fridge will free up valuable space inside. ‘Gas releasers’ such as bananas, avocados, nectarines, peaches, pears, plums and tomatoes are all much better stored at room temperature. If you keep them in the fridge the ethylene they release can cause other fruit and veg to ripen/spoil more quickly.
Melons If whole, keep it out of the fridge. Once you’ve cut into it, clingfilm it and put it the fridge.
Coffee Whether in bean or ground form, coffee should never be stored in the fridge as it absorbs the smells. Keep it in an airtight container.
For more useful life hacks click here