7 steps to keeping your fridge cold so your food lasts longer
I love my stainless steel fridge and freezer in my culinary studio. Beautiful, high performance and with a flat door design, I consider them to be a food writer’s equivalent of an E type Jag. I receive a lot of questions about how long recipes will last in the fridge such as cheesecakes once made.
If you can possibly hold back from eating the whole cheesecake or any other chilled products, then how long it will last will much depend on the temperature of your fridge.
The ideal temperature for a fridge is between 3 degrees C (37 degrees F) and 5 degrees C (40 degrees F) to stop harmful bacteria from growing. Too cold and your lettuce will be frozen and too warm, your food will spoil.
1 . If the fridge is in frequent use, and you open and close the doors a lot, then the temperature will vary and this will also affect the shelf life of your chilled food. Avoid opening and closing the door unnecessarily. To make your almond milk last longer, store items like nut milks at the bottom of the fridge, the coolest part - not in the door which is frequently being exposed to room temperature.
2 . Check the temperature by buying a simple fridge thermometer and testing to see that the thermostat is working efficiently. If you adjust the thermostat, it can take up to 24 hours to adjust the temperature in the fridge.
3 . You can measure the temperature by putting a thermometer in a glass of water. Leave it in the water overnight and check the measurement first thing in the morning when you haven’t opened the door for the previous 8 hours.
4 . Ensure the door seal of the fridge works properly by holding a thin piece of tissue to the closed fridge door to see if air is coming out. If you can see the tissue fluttering it is time to replace the seal which will only cost a few pounds – and be much cheaper in the long run than running an ineffective fridge.
5 . Ensure that your fridge isn’t over stuffed so that air can circulate around the food. If you have a lot of space, you can add some bottled water which will help to keep the fridge at a constant temperature inside – plus there’s the added benefit of an endless supply of chilled water.
6 . Let cooked food cool properly before putting it in the fridge or it will raise the temperature inside and make your fridge work harder.
7 . Finally, get it clean. Yes it’s time to vacuum the back of the fridge. Dust accumulates which forces the fridge to work harder and make it less effective.