You stand in front of an opened refrigerator door with a bag of fresh produce in hand. You shift legs as you stare into the clutter on the shelves in front of you, items stacked one on top of the other, and think, “Now where do I put this?” … If that’s you on grocery shopping day, you could use some refrigerator organization tips, both to make your life easier and ensure that all the food you just bought will last long enough for you to use and consume safely.
Refrigerator Organization Tips You Should Know
One of the biggest refrigerator organization tips that most sources agree on today is how the refrigerator door should be used. Years ago, people stored cartons of a dozen eggs in the door, probably because the container appeared to be designed just for that. But that’s not recommended, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In fact, you shouldn’t place any easily perishable foods or drinks in the refrigerator door and instead use the door mainly for condiments. The temperature of items in the door may fluctuate as you open and close it, compromising the safety of the items.
When it comes to the shelving, place ready-to-eat items, cooked leftovers, and drinks such as milk on the top shelves, and uncooked items like raw poultry or meat on the lower shelves. This helps to reduce contamination that could be caused by raw juices leaking onto lower shelves.
If you use the drawers for produce, make sure the fruits and vegetables are properly and completely sealed to keep them safe from the raw items on the shelves. As noted by thekitchn.com, an alternative would be to use one of the shelves for raw meats only.
How Long Items Last in Your Refrigerator
The following list summarizes how long some basic items can be stored in your refrigerator safely, according to the USDA, as long as you follow proper refrigerator storage guidelines:
• 1-2 days
- Ground beef
- Ground poultry
- Chicken or turkey, both whole and parts
- Fresh fish and shellfish
• 3-4 days
- Cooked egg dishes
- Cooked casseroles
- Cooked soups and stews
• 3-5 days
- Opened package of luncheon meats
- Fresh meats, including steaks and roasts\
- Store prepared salads
• 7 days
- Smoked breakfast links
- Fully cooked ham
- Hard-cooked eggs
- Opened packages of hot dogs
Come back to JK Cabinets & Design’s blog page for more food safety and refrigerator organization tips, including the best ways to store fruits and vegetables.
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