Farmers’ market season is starting this weekend and with it comes the eternal question – how do you keep all that fabulous food fresh? The key to keeping your food fresh longer is where you put it in your refrigerator. It’s as simple as that!
Refrigerators have “mini temperature zones,” that are suitable for different foods. Your refrigerator can do a better job keeping your food fresh if you follow a few guidelines. Here are some tips and tricks:
1. The temperature on the middle shelf is the most consistent. This part of the refrigerator is suitable for leftovers, eggs, drinks, and ready-to-eat foods like tortillas, hummus, and deli meats. You can keep herbs here too in a vase or jar with water. Loosely cover them with a plastic bag. Foods that don’t need cooking place near the top.
2. The refrigerator door is the warmest part and a proper place to store less perishable items. It’s home to salad dressings, ketchup, mustard, pickles, salsa, butter, cheese, etc.
3. Crisper drawers are designed (in most refrigerators) to maintain humidity. Store leafy greens, fruits, and veggies. This is also the place for soft and semi-soft cheeses such as brie, fresh goat cheese, Swiss, young cheddar, etc.
4. The bottom part of many refrigerators is the coldest. Keep your most perishable fare there: meats, poultry, seafood, and fresh dairy.
5. Don’t mix veggies and fruits in your crisper drawer. Many fruits give off a gas called ethylene, which helps them to ripen. Unfortunately, the ethylene can also expedite the ripening/aging process of other plants. It can cause the veggies to go yellow, limp and overripe. The folks at SubZero, the refrigerator manufacturer, shared their guide to food preservation. It provides information on which produce emits or absorbs this gas. So you can arrange them to maintain freshness longer.
6. Don’t crowd your shelves: unlike the freezer, cold air needs to flow here. If air can’t circulate, you’ll get inconsistent temperatures with pockets of heat and warmth.
7. Real foods don’t live forever, so know your food life expectancy and arrange your fridge accordingly. Place items with a shorter life span at the front. Keeping it in the front will prevent back-of-the-fridge unpleasant surprises. SubZero made this nifty chart guide for food life span.
8. And finally, here is what NOT to store in the fridge: tomatoes, potatoes, onions, and garlic.
Do you have any kitchen hacks to keeping your farmers’ market food fresh? Tell us in the comments!