Badly stored food can harbour a formidable range of disease-causing bacteria. Make sure you stay safe and that your fridge is well-stocked and clean with these 10 tips:
Invest in a good quality frost-free fridge
So you don’t have to worry about defrosting your fridge and food.
Put a small bowl of vanilla essence on a shelf at the back
This gives the fridge a nice smell. Ensure that it’s in a stable tupperware or container so it doesn’t spill in the fridge.
Don't jam food in
Allow airflow between items. You should be able to see what’s at the back. If you can’t, it’s time for a clean-out.
Wrap meat, chicken and fish in plastic wrap
Place them on a plate to avoid them dripping on other foods. Keep fruit and vegetables in the crisper drawers and wipe them out regularly as water will accumulate, making the vegetables rotten. Store salamis and cheese in airtight containers so that their smell doesn’t taint other food.
Split hot food into containers before cooling it in refrigerator
While it’s a myth that you should let food cool before putting it into the fridge, you should at least divide the food into smaller portions before putting it into the fridge so that it cools more evenly and doesn’t over work your fridge too much.
Bacteria can grow pretty rapidly when food is left out for more than two hours at room temperature.
Write the name of the dish and the date prepared
Do this on containers and onto items you’d like to freeze or meals prepared in advance. This helps you distinguish between food that is going bad more easily.
Don't thaw food on a bench or sink, or under hot water.
Thaw or marinate meat in the bottom of the fridge or, if you need it quickly, in the microwave. This prevents food poisoning from happening.
Clean up fruit juice spills quickly
Especially if it lands on the fridge seal as this makes it prone to splitting.
Close the fridge door after use
Opening it, even just briefly, will cause the temperature regulator to readjust as cold air escapes quickly, wasting electricity and costing you money. Encourage everyone to do the same – especially teenage boys.
Discard leftovers after two days
Don’t rely on the ‘sniff test’ – while it’s a good measure of edibility, it doesn’t ensure safety. Plus, certain smells can take forever to get rid off when they’ve been exposed to your fridge.