Don’t forget to clean the kitchen this spring. A clean kitchen means healthy eating and also means that the food is safe to eat.
I took an hour over the weekend to go through my refrigerator and throw away all the unidentified frozen objects in my refrigerator. “When in doubt, throw it out!” It’s the best rule to avoid foodborne illnesses.
10 Tips for Your Refrigerator
- Schedule your kitchen makeover on the day of the week before you go shopping, make sure you have the least amount of food at home. Take everything out of your refrigerator and throw away any moldy or expired foods.
- Combine any half-used but still-good condiments, dressings, and spreads them into one container each; organize items by likeness; and find one spot for them where you’ll always be able to find them.
- Condiments and the most stable foods should be kept in the shelves on the door since it’s typically the warmest area of the refrigerator; the coldest areas (drawers) should hold meats, cheeses, vegetables, and anything else that will go bad quickly.
- Wipe the shelves and drawers with warm water and mild soap. Rinse with warm water and dry with a dishcloth.
- Place an open box of baking soda in the middle of the refrigerator to absorb odors.
- The vegetable drawer, or “crisper,” keep in humidity to help reduce wilting, so keep greens and fresh veggies in this drawer. They should last about seven days.
- In the deli/meat drawer, store your fresh meats and cheeses. Unopened products will keep until the use-by date but once opened, meats will only last up to five days. Hard cheese will last up to three weeks.
- Organize your refrigerator so that the healthiest foods are appealing and within reach. Place less-healthy choices in the back of the refrigerator to avoid standing and eating those treats while you search for dinner ingredients.
- Remove all items from your freezer and take inventory. If you see visible freezer burn or can’t recognize the food, throw it out.
- Anything you choose to salvage, wrap in two layers of plastic or store in special freezer bags to avoid air exposure, which causes freezer burn.