You Should Be Organizing Your Refrigerator Like a Chef – Here's How
Professional chefs have refrigerator organization down to a science. An organized refrigerator can mean the difference between streamlined dinner service and a frenzied disaster in restaurant kitchens. Even more importantly, an efficient food storage system helps reduce waste due to food spoilage. If you're ready to start creating an organized fridge any chef would admire, you'll want to stock up on some helpful refrigerator organizers.
When searching for refrigerator organizers, consider which areas of the fridge you're trying to put in order. From there, you'll want to choose sturdy items that are the right size to fit comfortably in your fridge. We considered a variety of bins and containers to store produce, eggs, and other foods and reviewed each product on durability, ease of use, ease of cleaning, and value overall. The OXO Good Grips Produce Saver is one of our favorites; read on for the rest.
To help you narrow down your choices, here are the best refrigerator organizers currently on the market.
Organize By Temperature
First things first: ingredients that need to be cooked should never be stored on top of anything that can be served raw. When thinking about how to organize your refrigerator, keep temperature and gravity in mind. Foods that are harmful when eaten raw (like chicken) should always be stored on the bottom. That way, if anything drips or spills, there's no concern of contaminating other fresh produce. Foods that are already thoroughly cooked or foods that can be enjoyed uncooked, like fruit, vegetables, and leftovers should be stored at the top, to lower the risk of contamination.
Repeat After Me: "First In, First Out"
If you find that you throw out food more often than you'd like, your storage practices might be to blame. Chefs are taught to memorize the mantra "first in, first out," when stocking refrigerator shelves because it helps cut down on food waste. When putting away multiple units of the same food, always put the older unit towards the front, that way you're more likely to use it first. If you bought a pint of berries on Tuesday and another on Saturday, place the new set at the back when putting them away. That way, the Saturday berries won't get touched until you've eaten the Tuesday berries.
To make sure you're using food efficiently, keep a permanent marker and some labels handy. Taking the time to label foods makes it easier to remember when you bought them, but also helps keep purchase dates top-of-mind.
Keep it Contained
The first thing that restaurants do when they receive a food delivery is transfer any loose goods into durable containers. Designate different containers for different items, and utilize heavy-duty containers to store everything from raw meat to loose citrus. That way, messes are easily contained and any germs won't spread. To cut down on time spent digging into the back of my fridge for one rogue lemon, I like to store all of my raw meat in one container and my fruit, veggies, and dairy in various others. That way, I can just grab my designated citrus bin and carry on.
It's also a good idea to transfer delicate items (like eggs) out of their cardboard containers and into more sturdy plastic egg dividers. In fact, cardboard is known to attract bugs, so it's best to steer clear of storing any cardboard or paper products in the refrigerator.
Though these organization tips might seem time-consuming, they'll become a habit before you know it. Keeping an organized food storage system is an easy way to cut down on waste at home, and will ensure that you keep your family safe from foodborne illnesses and toxins. To get started, we've rounded up our favorite food storage containers for the refrigerator.