Feb 27, 2019

Here’s a gentle reminder to start thinking about that major house cleanup that you’ve been putting off for a whilestarting with the refrigerator. It consumes a big chunk of your electricity bill, only to be home to lots of expired and wasted food. Optimize your biggest energy consuming appliance by keeping your fridge clean and clutter-free with these tips from experts.

From a chef

For Josh Boutwood, chef and creator of restaurants Helm and Savage, the most crucial tip is to clean and sanitize your fridge daily because it’s those machines that keep food longer.

On organizing the fridge, he shares, “ideally, we would want to organize the refrigerator in a manner that suits the flow of the kitchen.” He suggests that food items used more often should be closer to the front than seldom-used items. He also practices labeling the date of the items from the moment they enter fridge so that way, the first-in, first-out method can be applied.

Keeping key ingredient groups separated, especially items that may trigger allergic reactions from each other, is also vital to avoid cross-contamination. In his restaurants, he arranges these food groups from top to bottom: ready-to-eat or pre-cooked items and dairy and produce, seafood, processed meat, and poultry.

From a food safety officer

According to Glenn Dela Cruz of the Food Safety & Hygiene Academy of the Philippines, he recommends maintaining a regular schedule of deep cleaning for your fridge (both chiller and freezer), including all rubber gaskets where microorganisms inhibit.

He also notes that bacteria such as E. coli and salmonella cannot multiply on safe temperatures of five degrees Celsius for chillers and -18 degrees Celsius for freezers so it’s best to keep your fridge at those temperatures.

He suggests that all food items must be stored in covered containers with an appropriate label to monitor expiration dates. Segregate food items by storing them according to hierarchy, starting from raw food below cooked food. Transfer canned food to another container to avoid the risk of chemical contamination caused by the rusting of original cans.

He also recommends that any frozen food that’s being defrosted must never be refrozen to maintain its goodness. It’s highly advised to cook defrosted food immediately to kill microorganisms; otherwise, putting them back in the freezer only slows down the growth of bacteria.

 

This story originally appeared on Southern Living Recalibrate Issue.

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TAGS: DIY food safety hacks josh boutwood nolisoliph refrigerator