Where To Store What In the Refrigerator

Fall 2010 Kitchen Cure

Many of us have been cleaning the fridge this week as part of the Kitchen Cure.

Do you have a system for deciding what goes where? A little knowledge about the different temperature zones in your refrigerator can help.

Refrigerators vary, so ultimately you'll want to assess the design and temperature of your own particular model, but these are some general guidelines:

The door
This is the warmest part of the fridge and subject to the most temperature fluctuations, so avoid storing highly perishable foods on the door. Even though many refrigerator doors have an egg compartment, it's generally not a good idea to store eggs there; keep them in the carton on a shelf, instead. Condiments and other well-preserved foods are generally fine on the door.

Upper shelves
Upper shelves are usually constant in temperature. Use them for dairy products, drinks, containers of leftovers, and anything you want to be able to see first when you open the fridge, such as healthy snacks!

Bottom shelf
This is often the coldest spot in the fridge. It's a good place to store meat, fish, and eggs. (There's also a health advantage to storing meat here.)

Crisper drawers
Some refrigerators advertise humidity features, and how well those actually work depends on the model. Drawers do tend to retain some moisture, though, which is good for produce. If you have multiple drawers, use them to separate ethylene producing fruits and vegetables from sensitive ones, or organize for food safety and designate one drawer for produce and another for meat.

On top of the fridge
If the top of the fridge is warm, avoid storing food here. You might use the space for small appliances, cookbooks, or other items. (See What's On Top of Your Fridge? for more ideas.)

Is this how you organize your refrigerator? Or is there a different system that works better for you?

Related: How To: Organize Your Fridge

(Image: Flickr member Average Jane licensed under Creative Commons)

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