Here you have it folks,
This article is about a subject no one would consider fun reading material. If you are an active cook, it will all make sense to you.
REFRIGERATION MANAGEMENT Whether you are operating a restaurant kitchen serving 150 dinners or just cooking for your family or yourself, managing your refrigerator and its contents is an ongoing task which is easily neglected.
Its contents are perishable and will eventually go bad and rot. Preparing and consuming outdated and perished foods is unappealing and even toxic to your body.
Unfortunately, large amounts of the food and materials we purchase, some shipped thousands of Kilometers, will be going to the garbage or the compost. Of course, this can be avoided if regular checks in your fridge occur.
By managing your fridge you will always have fresh material to cook with, throw less in the garbage and save some money for treats like ice cream.
In an industrial kitchen it is someone’s job to keep the fridge in order. In your home it is your job. As a new food supply is delivered or brought home from the market, it needs to be put away in it’s right place. F.i.f.o. (first in first out) a golden rule for perishables must be followed. What this means is that you need to rotate your stock by putting the fresh behind the old and use the older material before the new.
If you have it, take an additional 5 minutes and inspect some of the containers and jars hidden behind the Pickles and Aunt Mary’s chutney. Most likely you will find a jar or container with a long forgotten and mysterious content. Ask yourself, am I going to use this in the near future? If the answer is yes, make it visible and incorporate it in your food preparation. If it is still there after one week, get rid of it.
We always have a large variety of vegetables in our crisper. Some of the time stuff gets buried and starts to wilt. Take the whole drawers right out of the fridge, empty and clean it before fresh material goes in the bottom and older produce goes on top. Should you have a lot of bits and pieces of vegetables in your drawer, plan for a stir fry or a vegetable soup for dinner. Another option is to clean and freeze the vegetables for the next time you cook a puree of vegetable soup.
Visibility and accessibility are 2 key factors on gaining best usage of your fridge. To store, tall containers should be behind the short. Try to use square and see through containers for maximum space usage and visibility. If needed, use removable stickers to label items with date.
As for meat, fish, poultry and other fast perishables they must always be kept separate from vegetables, lettuce and fruits to avoid cross contamination through leakage. A large see-through container with a lid is best.
Of course nothing should be uncovered to avoid drying out and passing odors from one item to the next.
The ideal temperature of a refrigerator is between 2 and 4 degree Celsius (35 to 40 f.). Since warm air rises to the top, the lower part of the fridge will be the coolest and is therefore the ideal spot for storing meats, fish and other highly perishable items. If your fridge does not have a built in thermometer you can purchase one and tape it to the back, keeping it visible to read and adjust the temperature if needed.
And finally, keep your refrigerator always well stocked with a good choice of Ingredients to allow you variety and creativity in the kitchen.