Many Americans often question how long dairy and egg products can be safely stored, what type of milk container to buy, or how to handle raw eggs.
Making your food last longer in your fridge will help you to avoid waste, shop less and slash your grocery-shopping bill.
Chilling food helps prevent harmful bacteria, such as salmonella and listeria, from multiplying to dangerous levels and causing food poisoning. It also slows the natural deterioration of fresh meat, fish, fruit and vegetables, helping them last days longer than they would at room temperature.
Whatever fridge you have in your kitchen, storing food properly will help give groceries their longest possible shelf-life. We look inside a typical fridge compartment to reveal which foods you should store where.
Keep milk in the main part of the fridge compartment if you have the space. When milk is stored in the door rack it’s warmed by the ambient air of the kitchen whenever the fridge door is opened.
Milk Buy milk and other dairy products toward the end of your shopping trip. Store milk and other dairy products in the refrigerator below 40°F but never store milk in the refrigerator door where it is susceptible to warmer air from opening and closing the door. Discard all kinds of milk (whole, 2 percent, skim, etc.) after the container has been opened one week of opening, no matter what the “sell-by” date is. Ice cream has a shelf life of two to four months because it is stored in the freezer where bacterial growth is significantly slowed due to the colder temperatures – make homemade ice cream with pasteurized eggs. Choose milk in cardboard cartons or non-translucent jugs Translucent containers allow light in that can cause milk to spoil more easily and more quickly Eggs NEVER eat raw eggs–and this goes for raw cookie dough too. When buying eggs, choose a carton that is cold and make sure the eggs are clean and aren’t broken or cracked. Store eggs in the original packaging in the coldest part of the refrigerator, not in the pre-made egg cups in the door. Raw eggs should not be kept for more than three weeks in the refrigerator; Hard-boiled eggs can last a week in the refrigerator (in or out of the shell).
Some other important facts and recommendations:
Don’t overfill your fridge, which prevents cold air from circulating properly.
On the other hand, don’t be proud of your half-empty fridge with its crusty ketchup bottle and six-pack of Coors; a desolate fridge is not only sad, but it invites uneven temperatures.
Areas of the fridge that are not in direct contact with the cold air flow are warmer. Hence the lower part of a refrigerator is warmer, especially because it is shielded from the cold air flow by upper shelves and drawers.
The door area in the fridge is warmer because it is further from the cold air source and because the other side of the door is in contact with the outside. However, compartments at the top of the door are cooler than those at the bottom because they are somewhat closer to the cold air source at the top of the refrigerator. An exception is the egg compartment, which is usually covered by a plastic cover that prevents circulation of the cold air.
Opening the door of the fridge can let large quantities of warm air in. When opening the door, the cold air pours out from the lower part of the fridge and into the room and the warm air from the room is sucked into the top part of the fridge. Opening the door for 30 seconds can lead to temperature change of 5-10 degrees. It can then take up to 15 minutes for the fridge to return to its initial low temperature.
Dairy products and drinks should be placed at the top of the refrigerator, cool but not too cold, so they do not freeze. Preferably, place milk and dairy products on the side where the cold air blows and position drinks on the other side.
Meats and fish should be on the mid-tier shelf.
Cheeses and cold cuts should be placed in the top drawer below the bottom shelf.
Fruit and produce (salads and vegetables) can be in the middle of bottom drawer, still cool but not too cold so they do not freeze. One of these drawers usually has a humidity control.
If there are two bottom drawers, the lowest drawer is best for food items that need some refrigeration but are under a vacuum seal and therefore will last longer.
Eggs and butter should be placed in the door, but in a compartment protected by a cover so that they do not get too cold (eggs) or too hard (butter).
Dressings and sauces go in the middle compartments of the door
Items that need the least refrigeration should be placed in the bottom of the door.