YOU AND YOUR REFRIGERATOR

 refrigerator
Have you ever found yourself standing in front of your opened refrigerator to just cool down from being too hot?  As you stand in front of the open door do you mentally take note of the refrigerator’s contents?  Are there foods in the refrigerator that are furry and dark brown?  Gee what happened to the late night snack you were counting on eating?  How long has that been sitting in the frig?  And so the assessment goes on as you cool down in front of the open refrigerator.
 
Have you ever tallied up the dollars  from throwing food out of the refrigerator that have spoiled, wilted, dried up or exceeded their expiration date for eating?   What if you could cut down on the wasted dollars and stop throwing so much food away.  Summertime is a time we stock up on fresh vegetables, fruits, and salads.  Wouldn’t it be great if you could extend their shelf life and get more bang for your money?
 
There is a method that can help cut down on wasting food.  It’s all about how you store food in your refrigerator by placing them in their right spot in the fridge.
 
High Humidity Food
Set your crisper drawer on high humidity. 
This is where you store protected leafy greens in a plastic bag.
Broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, green onions, and hard vegetables like cabbage, turnips, and radishes will thrive.
Don’t forget your fresh herbs.  They like high humidity too.
 
Medium Humidity Food
Melons, limes, lemons, oranges, citrus fruits, and sweet potatoes appreciate medium humidity crisper drawers.
 
Low Humidity Food
Bell peppers, squash, mushrooms, avocados, pears and grapes hang out here.  If your bananas are ripe, they also go in the low humidity crisper drawer.
Fruits and vegetables emit ethylene gas so always use your crisper drawers for storage.
 
Beginning with the bottom shelf.
This is usually the coldest spot in the refrigerator.  Meat, fish, and eggs go here.  Don’t put your fruits or vegetables on the bottom shelf.  They will usually freeze and then go soggy.
 
Upper shelves have the best of both worlds.  Temperature is usually constant so this is where leftovers go.  Dairy  products like being on the middle shelves.  Dairy, cheese,  yogurt, milk should hang out here but not eggs.
 
The refrigerator door.
Don’t put anything perishable in the door.  This is the warmest spot in your fridge. You will usually find an egg storage bin or egg tray compartment for the door.  Don’t use it.  Place your eggs on the bottom shelf.  Condiments and drinks are fine in the door.
 
Store leftovers with protective covers. Train family members to put food in their right place in the refrigerator to maximize shelf life.  Consider using post-it-notes or a sharpie pen to designate foods that need to be eaten immediately to avoid spoilage.    Rotate food and resist the temptation of leaving the refrigerator door open to cool off or get inspiration for tonight’s dinner.  It makes the refrigerator work harder to bring internal temperatures up to correct levels.
 
Here is a guide for perfect hard-boiled eggs:
Great for egg salads, deviled eggs, potato salad and Easter eggs.  Eggs are easy to peel and the yolks aren’t dark brown.
 
Place  one layer of eggs in a sauce pan.  Cover with cold tap water making certain there is one inch of water above the top of the eggs.   Bring the water to a boil and then simmer for 13 minutes.  Drain off hot water.  Place cooked  eggs in ice water.  Leave in ice water until eggs are cool to the touch.  Store boiled eggs on the bottom shelf in your refrigerator.
 
Enjoy the summer,
Dr. Janeel Henderson