Storing food in your refrigerator
Your refrigerator helps to extend the storage times of fresh perishable foods. The cold temperature slows down the major causes of food spoilage – namely, the growth of bacteria, moulds and yeasts, and any chemical and physical reactions.
Fresh food care
The quality of food before it is placed in the refrigerator is critical to successful storage. For best results:
- Select foods that are very fresh and of high quality.
- Buy only the amount that you will use within the recommended storage time. If you buy extra, plan to freeze it.
- Ensure that food is well wrapped or covered before it is stored. This will prevent food from dehydrating, deteriorating in colour or losing flavour and will help maintain freshness. It will also prevent odour transfer. Fruit and vegetables need not be wrapped provided they are stored in the vegetable bins of the refrigerator.
- Make sure that strong smelling foods are wrapped or covered and stored away from foods such as butter, milk and cream which can be easily tainted by strong odours.
- Refrigerate fresh, perishable foods as soon as possible after purchase. If left at room temperature for any length of time the rate of deterioration will be accelerated.
- Avoid placing food directly in front of air outlets, as it may freeze and cold air needs to circulate to maintain safe food storage.
- Do not open the refrigerator door unnecessarily.
- Cool hot foods down before placing them in the refrigerator. This should be done quickly. It can be aided by placing the container of food in a bowl of ice and water; renew the ice as necessary.
- Store raw and cooked food in separate containers or packaging to prevent cross contamination.
Hot containers may damage shelves and walls of the refrigerator.
- Keep the refrigerator clean. Wipe the inside walls and shelves frequently (refer to Cleaning Care) and place only clean containers in the refrigerator.
- Keep a close check on the quality of food in your refrigerator. Discard any food that shows signs of spoilage. Pay particular attention to meat, fish and poultry, as these foods are highly perishable. Use food within the recommended storage times
Dairy foods and eggs
- Most pre-packed dairy foods have a recommended ‘use by/best before/best by’ date stamped on them. Store them in the refrigerator and use within the recommended time.
- Butter can become easily tainted by strong smelling foods so it is best stored in a sealed container.
- Eggs should be stored in the refrigerator. For best results, especially when baking, remove the eggs from the refrigerator two hours before they are to be used.
Fish and seafood
Precooked foods and leftovers
Fruit and vegetable bins