Happy National Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day! Today (what’s left of it anyway) is dedicated to the chore most of us dread to undertake. I realize that in most time zones the day is almost over, but if you are anything like me then cleaning the frig is more of a week long process than a day long one, so why not turn the event into a multi-day “celebration.” What’s more, the day was created to fall near Thanksgiving to inspire all of us to clean out our refrigerators to make room for the turkey and all of the fixings.
So why is it important to clean out our refrigerators? The answer may be obvious—safety and health come to mind. It’s true–food is only as healthy as the nutrients it contains (Vitamins B, C, and potassium are most susceptible) so it is important to store foods properly and to keep the refrigerator clean to minimize exposure to bacteria. Improperly stored foods can become rancid or oxidize, making them more dangerous; others lose flavor and texture.
Before you grab your gloves (I clean with gloves, just in case stored items have spawned over time) take a look at these refrigerator facts:
* The ideal refrigerator temperature is between 34 and 40 degrees.
* Ideally you should clean your refrigerator once a month—or immediately—when spills occur.
* Despite what you may have heard in the past, food experts say that fresh poultry, homemade dips, ground meat, and gravy should be stored in your refrigerator for no more than two days.
* Do NOT store food in the refrigerator wrapped in paper bags. Instead, cover foods with foil, or in airtight containers or plastic bags.
* Foods, which can be stored in your refrigerator for about a month, include: raw eggs and cheese.
If you tend to store a lot of leftovers in your refrigerator it is a good idea to label the containers with the contents and date—so you aren’t left guessing what that green and orange blob is hiding behind the milk container.