It is many years since schools stopped teaching cooking and domestic science and the result is that few people in the below 35 age bracket are familiar with risks presented by refrigerators. This article is aimed at covering a few basic rules that will help us store food in a safe and hygienic manner.
The average refrigerator operates between 35F (2C) and 44F (7C), which is low enough to stop microorganisms from forming. (Microorganisms include bacteria and mould.) It is NOT cold enough to destroy microorganisms already present in the food; it is up to you to ensure the freshness of food that you buy. The fresher it is the less likely it is contaminated. Therefore you should buy fresh and get it into a fridge as soon as humanly possible.
One of the major problems I see with refrigerators is that the door seal isn’t sealing properly.
This places a heavier than normal load on the motor and causes burnout before the expected life span. Also it stops the refrigerator from maintaining optimum performance. The cost of replacing a door seal for a refrigerator or freezer is reasonably cheap and should be done at least once every 3 years. This will:
- Extend the life of the machine.
- Keep your food safer by maintaining constant temperature.
- Save on electricity bills.
There are also a few other rules that constitute sensible use of refrigeration that are basically common sense practices and adhesion to these rules will enhance all of the above benefits.
- Do not open the door unless you know exactly what you wish to take out. Opening the door allows warm air into the storage area and this affects the electricity used and the food stored inside. Leaving the door open destroys what the machine has worked for hours to achieve.
- Cover all food before you put it into the refrigerator and I go against common trends by covering with aluminum foil rather than cling film. Foil excludes light and light is an enemy of food. Food exposed to light deteriorates quicker than food that is protected from light.
- I never advise placing warm or hot dishes into a refrigerator despite claims by various makers that it is safe to do so. It is better to cover the food and allow it to cool before placing into the refrigerator. Hot dishes placed into the fridge cause frosting within the machine and this forms an unwanted insulation layer over the contents.
- Raw food such as meat and fish should be covered and placed in the coolest section, normally the top section. If they are uncovered they can pass their flavor to other foods such as cheese or butter.
- Cooked meat and other cooked foods should go in the middle section.
- Vegetables and fruits into the specially designed crispers.
These basic rules will help you produce better meals because the food you use will be at its best.
This article is copyright © David McCarthy 2006 and may only be reproduced in its entirety without additions.
About The Author
David McCarthy is a avid article writer and all articles suppport his website at http://www.recipesmania.com/ a site devoted to freely sharing knowledge about all things food, health and diet. The site features recipes for all occasions.
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