Organizing your refrigerator can often feel like a puzzle and sometimes you resort to just shoving things in where they “fit best.” Here are a few tips for you to get the “best fit” and organization for your fridge and maximize freshness to minimize waste. Minimizing waste may also add to savings to your grocery budget.
- Eggs – Eggs are an important staple to a healthy diet and we certainly go through our fair share. Store your eggs, in their original cartons, where the temperature is the most consistent – the middle shelf.
- Milk – If you consume dairy milk, make sure it is stored on the bottom shelf, in the back, where it is the coldest. Do not store milk cartons in the refrigerator doors, as they are exposed to warm air each time the door is opened.
- Nut Milk (Almond, Soy) – To prevent possible freezing, store nut milk on one of the middle shelves of your refrigerator. If it does freeze on the bottom shelf (this has happened to me), it is not ruined, just move it up higher.
- Other Dairy Products (Yogurt, Sour Cream, Cottage Cheese) – These items should also be stored on the bottom shelf where it is cold, for the same reason as milk. Try to keep items accessible and the expiration dates visible if you can.
- Butter and Soft Cheeses – Butter doesn’t need to be stored where it is super cold so it is fine to store it in the dairy compartment on the door. Other soft cheeses, such as goat cheese or Brie should be kept in airtight containers once they have been opened to prolong freshness.
- Packaged Raw Meat – Meat should always be stored at the very bottom of the fridge. In a drawer if possible, where it is coldest. Raw meat should never be stored on the top shelf, because if the juices drip, this will result in cross contamination of other foods.
- Fruit – Store your fruit in your crisper drawer where the humidity is the lowest. Try to keep it in the original packaging and do not wash it before storing it. Water can cause mold and bacteria to grow, so it is best to wash your produce right before using it.
- Vegetables – If you have a drawer marked vegetables or high humidity, store your vegetables there. Veggies tend to do better with a bit of humidity. Keep them in their original packaging, and once again, do not wash them until you are ready to use them.
- Condiments – Because vinegar and salt are natural preservatives, and condiments are relatively high in vinegar and/or salt, these items can be stored in the door. Examples include, ketchup, sauces, dressings, olives, pickles, salsa, etc. Nut oils such as sesame or walnut oil should be stored here as well as nut butters and jams.