Micro-organisms live in every part of the biosphere. Some are even capable of growing at low temperatures, including those below the freezing point. These micro-organisms live from the sea to the high mountains, and unfortunately in refrigerators. There they may spoil or contaminate food. Therefore, although storing food in the refrigerator is the best way to keep it safe from bacterial contamination, there are types of bacteria that can grow in cold temperature as well as inside the refrigerators.
Cleaning your fridge once a month with a mix out of 2 cups of vinegar and one litre water can greatly reduce your chance of bacterial contamination. Wipe down every shelf and drawer. Try to avoid the sealing rubber since vinegar dries it out.
The temperature shouldn’t slide below 40 degree F. If your fridge doesn’t have a build in thermometer it might be worth it to buy one to hang it in. Space items out too so the cold air can circulate and do its job of keeping food fresh and ready for feasting.
Now, time for the specifics;
This is the warmest part of the fridge, where the temperature can be a degree or two higher than the main compartment, so it’s not a good home for anything highly perishable. Use the door’s shelves for the collection of condiments you’ve amassed while perfecting your pad thai and tikka masala. Pasteurized orange juice can go here too. Butter doesn’t need to be kept super-cold and can go right where your fridge wants you to put it—in the covered dairy compartment. (You can also keep soft cheeses, such as brie, in there.)
This is the second-warmest area of the fridge. Put soft drinks, yogurt, leftovers, and anything ready-to-eat—such as deli meats and cheese—up here.
If you have one, this can be the designated home for your aged Gouda, where it’s relatively warm. (Cheese, incidentally, can find many happy homes in the fridge. You can also keep it in the drawers at the bottom, if you tend to eat more Great Hill Blue than broccoli.)
Things are starting to get colder. Because many of us want to refrigerate our eggs, this is where they should go, where the temperature is most consistent. The milk also goes here.
Keep raw meat and seafood here, in their original packaging, and toward the back, where it’s the coldest. If you buy a lot of meat and are concerned about drippy raw chicken juices contaminating fruits and vegetables in the drawers below (a valid fear), keep a separate plastic bin on this shelf devoted to uncooked meat. Bonus: easier cleanup if things do get messy.
Here’s where things get a little bit complicated. Fruits and vegetables belong here, where refrigerator humidity levels are highest. But different produce requires different levels of moisture, and certain fruits emit ethylene, a gas that accelerates rotting in vegetables.
Your best bet is to make like the Offspring and keep ’em separated. Keep fruit in the lowest-humidity drawer, often marked “Crisper,” with the vent open, which allows more air to come in. Vegetables can tolerate more humidity. Keep the vent on this drawer closed, which keeps air from circulating and holds moisture in.
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