Storing food in refrigerators is a tricky business. But, once we get the hang of it, we wonder how life was in the pre-fridge days. From condiments and flours to dairy and meat to fruits and vegetables to leftovers and marinades, everything goes into the wonder box called fridge. Refrigerated the right way, food items will last long, retaining their freshness.
* To begin with, set the fridge to the right temperature. The ideal setting would be 0 °C to 4 °C for the fridge and 0 °C for the freezer. To make matters simpler, all the new refrigerators show the ideal temperature the fridge and the freezer should be set in depending on the season.
* While refrigerating cooked food, especially leftovers, always store them in airtight containers. This not only keeps bacteria out, but also retains the food's moisture content. It is best to use the refrigerated leftovers within three to four days. If you are planning to use them much later, then it's best to freeze them. Frozen leftovers are safe for up to three to four months. Leftovers should be refrigerated within two hours of cooking.
* While storing fruits and vegetables, always place them in separate perforated plastic bags and put them in the tray at the bottom-most portion of the fridge. Since the temperature in the fridge arrests the ripening process, ripen fruits and veggies on the counter top before putting them in the fridge. While most fruits and veggies can be refrigerated, there are a few which are best kept outside, at room temperature - for instance, bananas, avocados, tomatoes, onions, garlic, potatoes.
* While storing herbs like coriander and mint, it is best to separate the stalks from their roots, and wrap them in a tissue or kitchen towel before putting them in plastic covers to go into the fridge.
* When it comes to storing raw meat, poultry and seafood, put them in tightly closed containers so that their raw juices do not contaminate the other food items.
* Milk should always be stored in the shelf that's coolest, like the 'chill' tray right below the freezer. The same holds good for most dairy products.
* To get rid of bad odour in the fridge, dab a small piece of cloth in vanilla essence and place it inside.