9 Mistakes You’re Making When It Comes to Your Fridge
Raise your hand if you get home from the grocery store, throw your haul in the fridge, and call it a day? We’re guilty of this shove-it-all-in approach, too. And while stocking your fridge migt not seem like rocket science, there are actually quite a few mistakes you’re probably making. Read on to find out what they are and tally it all up when you’re done. What’s your score?
1. You’re storing dairy in the door.
Your fridge’s door is the warmest part of the fridge — and your dairy products are some of the most likely to spoil. Do yourself a favor and move the milk, butter, and eggs inside the fridge. The door is perfect for those condiments that actually need to be refrigerated (see number 7 on this list).
2. You’re not storing meat correctly.
If you have a meat drawer in your fridge, you should use that. If not, stash your mean in a bin and keep it as close to the bottom of your fridge as possible. This way, should the package and the bin leak, you won’t get meat juice all over your other groceries.
3. You’re wasting the space in your crisper drawers.
Your crisper drawers are actually there for a reason, you guys! And those humidity sliders actually make a difference. Here’s a good rule of thumb: If it rots, the humidity should be low; if it wilts, the humidity should be high.
4. You’re setting the temperature too low or too high.
Your fridge has an ideal temperature: It’s right around 35 to 38 degrees. Below 32°F, and food will freeze; higher than 40°F and your food is in the unsafe zone. If you don’t have a thermometer built in to your fridge, hang one inside the fridge and check it periodically to make sure your fridge is within this range.
5. You’re not checking your door’s seal often enough.
Speaking of temperature, you may find that your fridge is set to the right temperature, but it’s clocking in warmer than it should be. If that’s happening, check the door’s seal with this neat trick: Close the door on a dollar bill and try to pull it out. If it stays put, you’re good. If it slips right out, it’s time to replace the rubber or plastic door seal.
If you’re planning to eat tonight’s lo mein for breakfast the next day, sure, you might not absolutely need to label your food. But how many times have you surfaced an unlabeled container from the back of the fridge and wondered What is this and when did I make it?
7. You’re putting things in the fridge that don’t need to be in there.
Are you storing your vanilla in the fridge? Your fish sauce? Tomatoes? How about your mustard, hot sauce, soy sauce, and ketchup? These things are shelf-stable and can safely be stored in your pantry, which means you can free up some space in your fridge.
How often is often enough? If you’re doing it every three months, so long as you’re keeping things generally need and tidy and cleaning up spills as they happen. Once a month for the interiors is even better — and don’t forget to change the water filter and air filters and clean the condenser coils one or two times a year.
More on Cleaning the Fridge
9. You’re waiting too long to put food in the fridge.
There’s some debate about this topic, but when we consulted the experts, the advice was clear: You want to put your food in the fridge as quickly as possible, so that it doesn’t cool (and sit) at an unsafe temperature. Of course, let your big pot of soup cool a bit (you don’t want to lower the temp of everything else in the fridge), but don’t wait too long!
How many of these are you guilty of?