Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘refrigerator temperatures’

 I love walking into the grocery store into the produce section! The colors and textures of the fruits and vegetables are bright and beautiful. Seeing my fridge at home packed with a bright selection of fresh produce is fun too if I have a plan to use them all.

One-third of the world’s food is wasted. Approximately 40 to 50 percent of food waste happens at the consumer level. In the US, the average person wastes 238 pounds of food per year or about 21% of the food they buy. This costs consumers $1,800 per year. Fresh fruits and vegetables account for the largest of these losses. 

Reevaluating your fridge can help not only the environment but your wallet as well. Consider these tips to help optimize your fridge and fresh food storage:

Prep: I often find a member of my household staring at the open fridge then uttering the famous words “there’s nothing to eat.” Doing a few minutes of prep work after grocery shopping can save time later and ensure your fresh produce gets used. Cut carrots, broccoli, celery, and other vegetables. You will be grateful this is done when you are reaching for a snack. Having these prepped also makes them a quick option to add to meals. Finally, unused fruits and vegetables that are already prepped can be added to a freezer-safe container and frozen before they spoil.

Clean: Set aside time each week to clean and take an inventory of your fridge and freezer. This task can be done in 30 minutes. Take time to throw away expired food and leftovers while wiping spills and cleaning surfaces. As the food is returned to the fridge take stock of what needs to be used and plan. Use this cleaning to check the temperature of your fridge and freezer. Your refrigerator should be at or below 40°F. The freezer temperature should be set at 0°F. Checking these temperatures regularly can help ensure your food stays fresh longer.

Glass Jars: Consider using recycled glass or mason jars for food storage. These are great to keep food fresh and are easy to see what is inside. Glass jars are easy to clean and their airtight seal will keep foods fresh. To reuse jars, just wash, remove the label, and they are good to go!

Throw in a Towel: Sounds weird? Wrapping fresh broccoli or cauliflower in a slightly damp towel will keep them crisp. Storing spinach or lettuce in a glass container with a dry towel on top will help them stay crisp and fresh.

Don’t Over shop: Try not to over shop.  You may get excited about a good deal, but if you don’t have a plan to use a large amount of something on sale that good deal may become food waste. Try to keep in mind how much of an item that you will use and avoid buying more than you need. Cleaning and taking regular stock of what is in your fridge will help avoid overbuying.

You know your fridge and your habits more than anyone else. Consider your habits and the foods you enjoy while you figure out a system that works for you. If you are storing food safely there is no right way to stock and maintain your fridge.

View Looking Out From Inside Of Refrigerator As Woman Opens Door And Unpacks Shopping Bag Of Food

Writer: Alisha Barton, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Miami County, barton.345@osu.edu

Reviewer:  Dan Remley, Field Specialist, Food, Nutrition, and Wellness, Ohio State University Extension

Resources:

Are You Storing Food Safely? (2021) U.S. Food and Drug Administration. https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/are-you-storing-food-safely

Food Waste Is a Massive Problem-Here’s Why. (2021) FoodPrint.

Read Full Post »

When the lights go out do Not open your refrigerator or freezer. Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible.  Plan ahead; keep an appliance thermometer in the refrigerator and freezer which can help you determine the safe zones! Make sure to look in at the zones of being safe for the freezer which is 0 °F or below and the refrigerator is at 40 °F or below before the power goes off. Freeze containers of water ahead of time for ice to help keep food cold in the freezer, refrigerator, or coolers after the power is out. Place refrigerated items such a leftovers, milk and meats immediately into the freezer when the power goes out. Have coolers on hand to keep refrigerated food cold if the power will be out for more than 4 hours.

Steps to follow after to keep you SAFE!

  • The refrigerator will keep food safe for about 4 hours if it is unopened. A full freezer will hold the temperature for approximately 48 hours (24 hours if it is half full) and the door remains closed.
  • Discard refrigerated perishable food such as meat, poultry, fish, soft cheeses, milk, eggs, leftovers, and deli items after 4 hours without power.
  • Food may be safely refrozen if it still contains ice crystals or is at 40 °F or below  when checked with a food thermometer. Partial thawing and refreezing may affect the quality of some food, but the food will be safe to eat.
  • If the power has been out for several days, check the temperature of the freezer with an appliance thermometer. If the appliance thermometer reads 40 °F or below, the food is safe to refreeze. If a thermometer has not been kept in the      freezer, check each package of food to determine its safety. If the food still contains ice crystals, the food is safe.
  • If you want an easy way to track if your freezer has been off long enough for food to thaw, place a couple ice cubes in a  plastic bag in the freezer. If you open the freezer and the ice cubes are melted or frozen together, then foods need to be checked for safety.
  • Never taste a food to determine its safety!

Resources:

USDA Food Safety and Inspection Services http://www.fsis.usda.gov/fact_sheets/Preparing_for_Weather_Emergency/index.asp

USDA Food Safety.gov –http://www.foodsafety.gov/keep/charts/frozen_food.html

Ohioline: Attention Freezer Owners: In case of power outage Do Not Open! http://ohioline.osu.edu/home/freezer.html

Author: Marie Economos, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension Trumbull County.

Reviewed by: Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Ross & Vinton Counties.

Read Full Post »