How you pack your refrigerator actually plays an important role in ensuring that your produce stays fresh. Which is why knowing how you should be organising a fridge is a good skill to have. Because if everything you store in the fridge never lasts very long, then chances are you might be storing them in all the wrong places.
Tips on organising a fridge
The best place to put your eggs is on the middle shelf where the temperature is most consistent. And the best way is to store them in their original cartons and not to transfer them out to the fridge egg holders.
Because of the size of milk cartons, we tend to end up putting them on the sides with the bottles or on the top shelf where there’s more space. But the best place to keep your milk is actually on the bottom shelve and all the way in the back where it is coldest.
Yoghurt, sour cream, and cottage cheese
The same rule applies to most dairy products like yoghurt, whipped cream, sour cream and cottage cheese. They last longer on the bottom shelf for the same reason. A good tip is to place them on a turntable with their expiration dates visible for an easy and pain-free access.
Packaged raw meat
Whether you are defrosting of storing meat that needs to be cook later on today or early tomorrow, it should go on the super-cold bottom shelf. The reason for this is so that if there are any liquids coming out of the meat, they will just end up on the bottom tray instead of dripping everywhere and contaminating the whole fridge.
Vegetables can last longer with a slight amount of humidity which is why the vegetable crisper is the best place for it. It is the moistest spot in the fridge. Do not prewash your veggies until you are ready to cook them. Just store them loosely tied in their original packaging or wrapped in paper and they should keep fresh for longer.
Do the same with fruits as you would with your vegetables. Store them in their original packaging or plastic bags loosely tied, although citrus fruits would be fine with no bag. Again do not wash fruits until you want to eat them because water can promote mould and bacteria to grow.
Most deli and cold cut meats are eaten as is which is why you really need to place them in the colder section when organising a fridge. A great place is to put them in the shallow meat drawer. But if your fridge does not come with one, then just place them on the bottom shelf and keep them away from all the other raw stuff.
Butter and soft cheeses
Generally, butter and soft cheeses do not need to be kept super cold. They will be fine placed in the dairy compartment by the door which is actually the warmest part of the fridge. Just make sure to store soft cheeses in airtight containers if you do not finish eating them in one sitting.
Most condiments whether homemade or storebought tend to contain high amounts of natural preservatives like vinegar or salt. So condiments like your favourite soy sauce, chicken rice chilli, sambal, tomato sauce and other salad dressings can be stored on the side by the door. Same goes for your bottled acar all ready for Chinese New Year, as well as pickled ginger and jarred chutneys.
Most juices can be stored on the door, as long as it’s been pasteurized. But if you’ve just made a jar of freshly-squeezed OJ, it should be stored on the bottom shelf where it is coldest to really help maintain its freshness.