Keeping Your Fridge Working Hard

The truly hardest working appliance in the kitchen is the refrigerator. Even when you are not cooking, it is working to keep your items at just the right temperature. It is easy to forget all that it does until something goes wrong, which is the reason you have to treat it right to keep it working optimally.

Schedule regular cleanings.

Put it on your calendar: Once a month, plan to spend an hour cleaning. Take everything out, toss anything bad, and wipe down the shelves. The more often you do it, the quicker it’ll go.

Date everything.

No one has time to think about when they last used the cheese. Anytime you open a new container or add a leftover, take a second to label it.

Banish odors.

If everything is sealed up properly, your fridge shouldn’t smell — but sometimes you cook something so potent, the scent leaches out anyway. Add a box of baking soda to your fridge in order to keep smells at bay.

Get matching storage containers.

Having containers from the same set turns them into modular blocks that stack neatly on top of each other. Opt for clear versions so you can see exactly what you’ve got at all times.

Consider a zone system.

Most people naturally store produce with produce and meat with meat, but if you have frequently used combos,  group them together, so you can grab everything you need all at once. Consider storing smaller or oddly shaped items in bins to make them extra easy to find.

Really use your freezer.

If you’re not planning to use something within a few days, freeze it! You can freeze just about anything. If you don’t like reheated foods, think of a way to reconstitute them for the next round, like blending veggies into soup or turning salmon into burgers.

Freeze sauces flat in zip-top bags so they’re easy to stack. Divide larger portions into servings with parchment paper so you don’t have to reheat the whole thing for dinner.