I have always thought that the temperature in the fridge is the same no matter where you check. After doing some research, I realized however that certain food items should be in very specific areas. The check list below is a great tool to avoid spoilage and cross contamination.
Upper shelves (most consistent temperature) – This section of the fridge is best used for items that don’t need to be cooked like deli meats, cheese, herbs, leftovers and ready to eat foods. This is also a good spot for drinks.
Lower Shelves (coldest part of the fridge) – The lower shelf is a great place for raw food items that you plan on cooking in the next day or two as well as eggs & dairy.
Drawer units or Crispers (ideal for foods needing moist conditions) – The drawers are a bit more humid and so fruits and veggies do really well here. We recommend fruits and veggies be separated so that the ethylene (chemical that is produced by fruit to help ripen) doesn’t come in contact with the veggies. This can cause the vegetables to go limp and wilt. Berries can be stored in the crisper but tend to be a bit more fragile than other fruits so putting them up on the top shelf can help lengthen their shelf life.
Items that don’t need to be refrigerated – Most of us know that potatoes can be stored in a pantry or cupboard but did you know that tomatoes, squash and onions all do better outside of the fridge?
Optional fridge items – Nuts, nut butters (check labels), nut and whole wheat flours and natural oils.
Following this basic food storage layout and you will get the most bang for your buck with your food.