Suburban housing and car dependency have made most Americans buy their groceries and food in bulk. While it does save money, you often fail to use up all the ingredients before they rot away. If your refrigerator is broken, prepare to dump hundreds of dollars worth of food in the trash as they quickly go bad. While you can search for “refrigerator repair near me” to fix your broken refrigerator, you also need to change your ways to keep your food fresh for a longer time. Let’s figure out how you can do that:
- Best before dates are mere guidelines – You treat best-before-dates as a deadline. Finish the ingredient before that date or the food becomes unfit for consumption. Unfortunately, this is one of the biggest misconceptions about the food industry. Those dates are just a recommendation.
Apart from meat and eggs, the best-before-dates tell you how long the product will be in its finest condition. In most cases, it tastes the same even after you use the product after the date passes.
If the date has passed a couple of days for a particular item, use common sense to judge if a product has gone bad. Use sight and smell to tell if it has gone bad. Moreover, check the instructions on the label. It tells you how to store the product to make it last longer and keep it fresh.
- Pay attention to the fridge temperature – To preserve your food for the longest time and make it taste as fresh as possible, you need to adjust the thermostat on the fridge and maintain a temperature of 0 to 5 degrees Celsius. For the freezer, the ideal range is -18 to -20 degrees Celsius.
Your refrigerator needs to achieve these temperatures quickly and preserve the temperature easily to prevent nutrient loss from your food. Every degree change in temperature makes a big difference. A few degrees may be the difference between crunchy and wilted leafy greens.
- Use fridge shelves wisely – Irrespective of the average temperature inside your refrigerator, the temperatures will differ as you move down the shelves. That’s why you need to store different items on the shelves instead of pushing in whatever’s in front of you.
Raw meat, seafood, and fish are sensitive and need to be preserved within 0 to 3 degrees Celsius to prevent harmful bacteria from invading the meat and lock in freshness. That’s why they should be kept in the chill compartment of the fridge, or at the lowest shelf with the highest density of cool air vents.
Less perishable products like butter and cheese can be kept near the top shelves where it’s relatively warmer. Most condiments won’t go bad even if you keep them outside the fridge and that’s why you can keep the condiments on the small shelves on the refrigerator door where cooling is inefficient. Reserve the middle shelves for leftovers.
- Humidity control – Humidity control is the greatest feature of a fridge, apart from cooling. Veggies and fruits stay fresh in certain humidities and your refrigerator allows you to control that. Make sure that you turn the humidity switch high for veggies while fruits can make do with low humidity.
If you have an old fridge that doesn’t have humidity control you can store the veggies in a drawer. This helps to seal in the moisture and prevents drops in humidity levels. Fruits can go on the middle shelf.
It’s preferable to keep fruits and mushrooms in a humidity control box since they produce ethylene. Ethylene ripens other fresh products very quickly and can make your perfectly good carrots and peas go bad quicker than usual. Certain fruits like apples and watermelons are an exception to this rule and instead go bad due to ethylene.
- Don’t keep your refrigerator in very low or high-temperature environments – Refrigerators aren’t designed to operate smoothly in extremely low or high ambient temperatures. Yes, if you have a fancy refrigerator that puts a big dent in your bank account, you may have a model that can work fine even at -10 degrees Celsius ambient temperature. For most people, this isn’t the case.
Your refrigerator would struggle to be functional in such low temperatures and the same holds when the ambient temperature is hot enough to make you sick. When the refrigerator doesn’t work properly, your food won’t be kept in ideal conditions either and it will go bad more often. That’s why you should keep your refrigerator out of garages, outhouses, and other such places.
- Store food in packaging – A manufacturer packages your food in materials and in certain ways that are meant to keep the food fresh for weeks through its transportation journey and while it sits on the supermarket shelves.
That’s why you should always store food in its original packaging to keep them fresh. If it’s possible. Consider buying a small food-safe vacuum packager for packing meat and veggies. It helps to keep your food fresh and preserve the nutrients for the longest time.
- Allow leftovers to cool down – Leftovers have become an everyday occurrence in most households since people prefer to save time in their busy life by cooking in large batches. However, instead of shoving that hot pot full of soup, stew, or chili in the refrigerator, wait for it to cool down.
Hot food is like a shockwave to the refrigerator. The sensors go up in alarms and the refrigerator works at its full potential to bring down the temperature. The sudden drop in temperature takes away some of the flavors from your delicious chili. Moreover, other items in the fridge get affected since the refrigerator can’t maintain a stable temperature.
The above-mentioned tips will help you preserve your food for the longest time and keep it fresh so that you can enjoy delicious meals. It also saves the environment and saves you money. However, if your refrigerator breaks down, the only solution is to search for “refrigerator repair near me” and hire a professional repair technician.