Most of us rely on our refrigerators and freezers to preserve food and keep it fresh. If you don’t store food safely, it can be damaging to your health. Here are some simple tips to enable you to get the best out of your groceries, and prevent unwanted illnesses.
Checking the temperature
It’s really important that your refrigerator and freezer are set at the right temperature to keep your food fresh. The temperature in the fridge should be lower than 5 degrees while the freezer should be set at around -17 degrees. If the fridge or freezer are too warm, they won’t do their job properly. If you keep having to adjust the temperature, or the thermometer reading seems to change on a regular basis, this may indicate a fault, and it’s wise to get your appliances checked out by a company like City Appliance Repair. Some units have built-in thermometers. If your’s doesn’t, and you want to check the temperature, you can use a normal thermometer.
Which foods to refrigerate and freeze
You can’t freeze everything, so always check the labels before you put anything in the freezer. You should be able to spot small badges that give you advice. In most cases, if you can freeze the food, you should do it as soon after purchase as possible. If you’ve bought something, and it has passed its use by date, don’t then put it in the freezer. Use by dates are only guidelines, but they are there for your safety, and you should only freeze items before the use-by date. You can freeze foods and then defrost them after the use-by date. There are lots of different types of foods you can store in the refrigerator, including fruit and vegetables, dairy products, cooked and raw meat, fish, and eggs.
Organizing your refrigerator
It’s wise to use the different compartments of your refrigerator for different types of food. Keep meat, poultry, and fish in sealed containers at the bottom of the refrigerator, and separate them from dairy products and cooked meat. Many of us keep bottles of milk in the fridge door, but they’re actually best stored on the shelves towards the bottom, as temperatures tend to be coolest here.
If you decide you want a chicken breast or some fish cakes for dinner, and they’re in the freezer, simply remove them and leave them to defrost at room temperature. It is possible to cook some foods from frozen, but you should always defrost meat thoroughly. When you’re cooking meat and fish, ensure that it’s cooked through before serving.
The way you cook your food is really important, but don’t turn a blind eye to storage. Always check best before and use by dates, and avoid eating anything that is passed its best. You can freeze most foods, but check the labels before you do. Make sure your appliances are working properly. If there’s a fault, or you’re worried that something isn’t quite right, seek advice. If you cook food that hasn’t been stored safely, there is a risk of food poisoning.