5 Mistakes You're Making When Storing Food in the Refrigerator
Maximize the space and keep your food fresh by organizing it properly
The refrigerator is one of the home appliances that will see a lot of action whether or not it's full. Since we all need to eat, preserve leftovers, and keep some items cold and fresh, knowing how to properly store food is a necessary skill in any home. Truth be told, there are a couple of homeowners who are not using their refrigerators as well as they should. If you're one of those people who still do these food storage mistakes, heed our advice when it comes to using the fridge properly and learn these by heart:
Mistake #1: You let food cool before refrigerating it.
The mistake here affects food that’s just been cooked as well as food that’s already been sitting out on the table. According to food safety regulations, food should not be left out at room temperature for more than four hours. That’s because, within that time, the food could have grown dangerous illness-causing bacteria. So why let the food you have just cooked cool before sticking it in the refrigerator where it can cool off quicker?
Storing the hot food immediately in the refrigerator prevents more of these bacteria from growing. Meanwhile, with food that has been sitting out on the table while you ate, you’ll want to reheat it before storing to kill off any bacteria which could have grown.
Mistake #2: You don't transfer leftovers into covered containers.
The mistake here isn’t as obvious as some of the other food storing mistakes. What’s wrong with this scenario? The containers. Leftovers should always be stored in containers with lids or sealed. Whether it’s adobo, menudo, or sinigang, the delicious aroma you enjoyed smelling while eating your food will and can affect the ingredients and other food that’s in your refrigerator with it.
Containers with lids, bowls covered in plastic wrap, and sealed packaging are best when storing leftovers or any food for that matter that has a strong aroma. That’s why aroma-sucking baking soda is a popular refrigerator item. By making sure all food in your refrigerator is sealed in a covered container, your rice won’t smell and taste like the blue cheese dip you loved with your spicy buffalo wings.
Mistake #3: You are still defrosting frozen meats on the shelf.
Most frozen food items need to be defrosted before cooking. While it’s great that you’re no longer defrosting meats and other frozen food items on the kitchen counter, defrosting on the refrigerator shelf is not enough to prevent cross contamination.
You should also be defrosting on a tray or on a plate that can catch any drips as it defrosts. This is a safety precaution, especially if you’re defrosting raw chicken. Not only that, the tray or plate you use should be deep enough so it is easy to remove without spilling any of the drips it collected.
Mistake #4: Raw food and ready-to-eat food share the same refrigerator shelf.
There’s a reason why ready-to-eat or cooked food should be stored on the top shelf of your refrigerator and any raw meats should be on the bottom shelf. Since ready-to-eat food does not need to be cooked or heated up to be consumed, the danger of getting sick because it was contaminated is much higher. Avoid this by always ensuring that cooked food and raw food always remain separate.
Mistake #5: You're still storing eggs in the container on the door.
It’s really not the best place to store eggs and that’s because when eggs are properly chilled, it will stay fresher longer. The door, while convenient, isn’t the coolest area. While having the eggs on the door isn’t a problem if these are consumed quickly, having the freshest egg is always a good thing, especially when it comes to cooking the best looking sunny-side-up eggs for breakfast.
Keep these tips in mind when you’re organizing your refrigerator the next time you clean it out and you too will avoid any food-related illnesses that may be caused by storing your food incorrectly.
This story originally appeared on Yummy.ph.
* Minor edits have been made by the Realliving.com.ph editors.
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