An Australian consumer group has revealed exactly how to stack your fridge so that all manner of produce, dairy and packaged goods stay fresher for longer – and the order might surprise you.
CHOICE whitegoods expert Ashley Iredale claims it’s worth taking the time to order your fruit and vegetables, milk and butter, instead of ‘jamming’ them into spare spaces you see because it will ultimately lead to lower electricity bills and better tasting food.
In general he recommends leaving room for air to circulate between each product in the fridge because it will allow the electronic device to work more effectively – and save you money in the long run.
‘Keep commonly used items at the front where they’re easily accessible. No one wants to search for the tomato sauce, and the longer the fridge door is open, the more energy you’re using,’ he said.
As a general rule piping hot leftover food shouldn’t be placed directly into the fridge or freezer because it will warm up the other food already in there.
So what else should we know?
CHOICE whitegoods expert Ashley Iredale claims it’s worth taking the time to order your fruit and vegetables, milk and butter, properly
Keep your butter and cheeses in the specialised dairy compartment, usually located in the door of the fridge, and milk also in the door for added convenience.
If you want your milk to last longer it should always be placed upright – to avoid spills – and kept in the coldest part of the fridge, which if you open it a lot, could be further back inside the shelves.
Butter is kept in the dairy compartment because it’s a slightly warmer area than the rest of the fridge, meaning you will still be able to spread it each time you take it out.
‘The fats in butter also absorb taste and odours from nearby foods, so the handy cover helps keep your butter tasting like, well, butter,’ Mr Iredale said.
The same goes for cheese but if you’re planning on keeping it for longer than a few days it’s best to place the slab inside the fridge rather than the door so it cools down and prevents listeria contamination.
Meanwhile eggs should be kept in their original carton – rather than the plastic container in the fridge – because it slows moisture loss and helps you keep track of when they will go off.
If you want your milk to last longer it should always be placed upright – to avoid spills – and kept in the coldest part of the fridge, which if you open it a lot, could be further back inside the shelves
FRUIT AND VEG
The crisper drawer at the bottom of the fridge is where fruit and veggies will thrive.
It’s not as dry as the rest of the fridge so it’s designed to keep produce fresh for longer.
Tomatoes, however, should be kept in a fruit bowl on the counter to keep them deliciously tasty, and should be kept well away from the fridge.
The crisper drawer at the bottom of the fridge is where fruit and veggies will thrive
MEAT AND SEAFOOD
These products are best kept at a temperature of zero degrees, which is colder than the fridge’s main compartment.
If you have a chiller this is where they should be placed, but if not aim for the back of the fridge where they can be kept colder – away from the warm opening of the door.
Raw chicken can be stored in the fridge for a few days but if you’re planning on cooking it the following week, freeze it.
Chicken leftovers will last three to four days in the fridge if it has been placed in an airtight container.
These products are best kept at a temperature of zero degrees, which is colder than the fridge’s main compartment
Keep bread out of the fridge and well wrapped to avoid losing moisture.
‘Apart from moisture loss, one of the contributing factors to bread going hard and stale is the starch from the wheat forming (or rather, reforming) into crystals, which happens quicker in cooler temperature,’ he said.
Interestingly, freezing bread can also prevent the wheat from forming crystals, so if you know you’re not immediately going to be devouring it, place it in there.