The invention of the fridge changed how we viewed food permanently, greatly extending the shelf life of much of the foods we all enjoy. Of course, that doesn’t mean you’re getting the most out of your fridge! Sometimes, the way we use our fridges can lead to our food spoiling quicker than we’d like. Below are some quick tips and tricks on how to extend the shelf life of fridge foods.
Keep the air flowing
While some may like the image of their fridge filled to the brim, that might not be the greatest thing for your food to stay fresh. Cramming food into your fridge and not leaving space between items can actually throw off the proper regulating of the temperature inside your fridge. Blocking vents and airflow can create patches that aren’t as cold as others, and that can lead to mold and bacteria growth. Consistent temperature is key to keeping everything as fresh as possible!
Wash fruit and vegetables
Fruit and vegetables spoiling is often caused by bacteria getting a foothold and growing. So, how can you get rid of some of these pesky microbes? A vinegar and water bath! Fill up your sink with water and add 1 cup of distilled white vinegar. Then, toss in your fruits and veggies and let them soak in the mixture for around 10 minutes. Take them out, give them a little rinse, and let them dry before putting them in the fridge (a pat dry with a towel can help this process.) This will help stunt any bacterial growth on your fresh produce.
Keep your fridge clean
Cleaning your fridge may not top your list of chores to do every month, but is essential to keeping your food as fresh as possible.Removing everything from you fridge to do a good thorough scrub is a definite way to extend the shelf life of your fridge food. Getting rid of any possible place for bacteria and mold to grow is a key preventive tactic.
Flip your sour cream and cottage cheese onto the lid
This one is a unique and useful tip for those of us who love sour cream and cottage cheese. What’s the fix to extend their shelf life? Turn them upside down. This gets rid of the air pocket that will naturally develop (as you eat them) between the actual product and the lid. By turning it upside down, the pocket forms on the opposite end where it won’t have access to oxygen seeping in through the lid. This will keep the air out and help inhibit bacterial growth.
Not everything needs to be refrigerated
This one may seem a bit strange, but the fridge is not always the best place to keep foods from spoiling. Obviously, things like milk should always be stored there, but certain fruits and vegetables actually do worse in the fridge. Not only that, but they are actually the cause of some of the spoiling of things around them by producing ethylene gas! Some popular culprits like apples, bananas, and avocados are a definite no-no in the fridge. For a full list of ethylene gas producers to avoid, click here.
Keep it cool
Your fridge is obviously being used because it keeps food cool, but it may not be keeping it as cool as it could or should be. According to the Kitchn, your ideal temperature should be between 35-38 Fahrenheit. If your fridge is newer, it should have a digital thermometer. If not, you may have to get one your own, and fiddle around a bit with the settings on your fridge to find the sweet spot. Going any colder than 35 Fahrenheit won’t be any good either! Ice crystals may form and that can will cause freezer burn. A cool 36-37 Fahrenheit is probably your ideal temperature for extending the shelf life of your fridge foods.
Keeping those precious fruits and vegetables crisp and fresh longer is a cause anyone can get behind. There’s nothing worse than looking forward to some fresh berries you bought two days ago, only to find they’ve gone bad. Following these tricks and tips will help keep your food fresher for longer. For more information on how to extend the shelf life of your fridge food, visit the Medallion Blog.