As someone who constantly overpacks their holiday suitcases, keeps their old receipts, and never cleans out their handbag, it’s no surprise that I’m not the most organised individual in the world.
In fact, I’m also known as ‘Condiment Queen’ within my family due to the inordinately large number of jars that take space within my fridge, leaving hardly any space left over for food.
It’s not just bad for my fridge organisation, it’s bad for my wallet! Apparently, the average household will spend roughly £480 a year on food that eventually ends up in the bin. I don’t even want to think about how much I’ve wasted by letting my veggies expire in my fridge.
There’s another risk. Food that’s stored incorrectly can cause cross-contamination; that is, bacteria can spread from one item to the next. This doesn’t only mean that your bananas will ripen faster than you expected, but you may even get food poisoning from the lack of organisation.
And all that because I love my condiments!
Thankfully, there are so many ways that we can keep on top of this, and prevent all these nasty effects.
I’d like to share what I’ve done so that you can learn from my mistakes.
This is the warmest part of the fridge, which means that it’s the best place to keep pre-prepared foods such as jars of sauces, cheese, yoghurt, and cream.
In fact, other dairy like butter or margarine is best kept here too, and if there’s room for the milk bottles then squeeze them in as well. This could be dairy milk or free-from milk alternatives, such as oat, rice, almond, soya, and coconut. But remember, if you do add bottles of milk here, make sure you close the lid tightly so they don’t leak, which would then mess up your entire fridge!
This is the shelf that should be reserved for your leftovers (which are a saving grace for any mid-week meal!).
Any cooked meat that you didn’t finish, along with your Sunday roast, can take up residence here, along with sealed containers filled with any stew, casserole, rice, pasta or curry that didn’t get gobbled up when they were first prepared.
This is the coldest part of the fridge, so is best reserved for the most volatile and perishable items on your shopping list. This means all of your raw meat and fish. You need to keep these items either sealed up in the packaging that they come in, or otherwise place them in sealed containers yourself.
Another good tip is to freeze your meat when you purchase it, and you can defrost it overnight right here on the bottom shelf.
Not only does this make sense over temperature concerns, but placing these items on the bottom shelf means that there is no risk of any blood or raw juices dripping down onto ready-to-eat foods, which, especially in the case of chicken, could cause any unsuspecting midnight nibblers all sorts of gastrointestinal trouble.
This is a no-brainer: here is the place for all of your fruit, salad, and vegetables. Some salad drawers come with humidity controls which help certain vegetables – such as lettuce, cucumber, cauliflower, beans, broccoli and carrots – stay crisper and fresher for longer.
Since the door is the one place in the fridge that will always find itself exposed to warm air from time to time, the temperature here will invariably fluctuate. Therefore, this is the best place to store your food items that do not rely so heavily on being constantly held at a chilled temperature in order to last. Fruit juices, condiments, jam, and eggs are most at home here. If there’s no room for the milk on the top shelf, then it will be fine in the door rack.
Even if you don’t take all of these into account, there’s now a refrigerator that will essentially organise it for you: the AEG Customflex! No, it isn’t a robot that can sense where your items should be stored, it’s a fridge with large compartments and a unique movable storage system in the door.
Hopefully, just following my handy tips will help you keep your food (and money!) from going down the drain.
If you’d like any more advice or help choosing a fridge, please contact me.