Badly stored food can harbour a formidable range of disease-causing bacteria. Make sure you stay safe and that your fridge is well-stocked and clean with these 10 tips:
- 1 Invest in a good quality frost-free fridge so you don't have to worry about defrosting it.
- 2 Put a small bowl of vanilla essence on a shelf at the back. This gives it a nice smell. Ensure that it can't be spilt.3 Don't jam food in. Allow airflow between items. You should be able to see what's at the back. If you can't, it's time for a clean-out.
- 4 Wrap meat, chicken and fish in plastic wrap and place on a plate to avoid them dripping on other foods. Keep fruit and vegetables in the crisper drawers and wipe them out regularly as water will accumulate, making the vegetables rotten. Store salamis and cheese in airtight containers so that their smell doesn't taint other food.
- 5 Let hot food cool down before putting it in the fridge or freezer.
- 6 Write the name of the dish and the date prepared on the container before freezing meals you've prepared in advance.
- 7 Don't thaw food on a bench or sink, or under hot water. Thaw or marinate meat in the bottom of the fridge or, if you need it quickly, in the microwave.
- 8 Clean up fruit juice spills quickly, especially if it lands on the fridge seal as this makes it prone to splitting.
- 9 Close the fridge door after use. Opening it, even just briefly, will cause the temperature regulator to readjust as cold air escapes quickly, wasting electricity and costing you money. Encourage everyone to do the same - especially teenage boys.
- 10 Discard leftovers after two days. Don't rely on the 'sniff test' - while it's a good measure of edibility, it doesn't ensure safety.