Refrigerator Storage

A refrigerator is one of the most important pieces of equipment in the kitchen for keeping foods safe. These electric units are so commonplace today, we forget a refrigerator was once little more than a box with a block of ice used to supply a rather undependable source of cold air. But we are instantly reminded of its importance to our daily lives when the power goes off or the unit fails, putting our food's safety in jeopardy. Refrigerator storage is an important way of keeping food safe. The cool temperature helps to keep the food fresh and slow the growth of most harmful microbes. At the same time, it does not change the characteristics of the food.

Refrigeration can substantially reduce the rate at which food will deteriorate. Low temperatures slow down the growth of microorganisms and the rate of chemical (including enzymic) changes in food. These are two of the main causes of food spoilage. Different parts of your refrigerator will operate at different temperatures. In older style refrigerators the upper shelves will often be slightly colder than the lower shelves. In more modern appliances, the temperature will be relatively uniform throughout. The proper temperature for a refrigerator is 5°C on the middle shelf. However, the temperature is not constant throughout the interior. By taking advantage of the temperature differences, you can ensure optimal storage for all your food. Store eggs, dairy products, sandwich meats, leftovers, cakes, and products marked "Refrigerate when opened" on the middle shelves (4-5°) and the top shelf (8°C). The drawers at the bottom (up to 10°C) are intended for vegetables and fruits that can be damaged by lower temperatures. The compartments or shelves on the inside of the door are the warmest part of the refrigerator (10-15°C) and are intended for products that need only light refrigeration. These include drinks, mustard and butter.The coldest point in the refrigerator is the bottom shelf on the drawers used for vegetables (2°C). This is the place to put fresh meat and fish. Placing them at the bottom also prevents them from dripping onto other foods.