We’ve all been guilty of it at one time or another: finding a bowl of something that used to be baked beans, leftover casserole or a couple of now-furry vegetables in the back of the fridge that should have been disposed of a long time previously. Whilst refrigerators are fantastic at keeping food fresh in the short term, it is vital that we are aware of just how long various foods can be kept for. When it comes to a catering business, it is vital that everything that comes out of the commercial refrigeration units is safe for your customers to eat.
Knowing how long foods can be kept in the fridge is incredibly important, as certain foods can look, taste and smell perfectly fine despite being riddled with harmful bacteria because they have been kept for too long and should have long since been discarded. Unfortunately, trusting one’s nose and eyes is not always very helpful when it comes to checking up on the quality of food.
The US food safety guidelines on how long food can be kept in a refrigerator say that short storage times are best for most fresh ingredients, especially those which are meat-based. Conversely, it could be argued that knowing precisely how long food can be stored for will help us to waste less due to the fact that we would be more likely to plan what we are eating effectively, and only buy what we are likely to eat. Ensuring that your fridge is stacked efficiently can also help you to maximise the life of foods kept in there.
Got a small fridge? Here’s how to organize it right
It is a good idea to contact the manufacturer of your refrigerator if you are unsure of how long certain foods will last for when chilled. Getting in touch with the experts at a company such as Fridge Freezer Direct Ltd can help you to upgrade should it be necessary.
Salad and Vegetables
This differs greatly depending on the vegetable that you are storing in the fridge. Obviously, vegetables such as potatoes and onions should never be kept in a fridge, but the best you can hope for with items such as broccoli and cauliflower is between four and five days. Celery will keep for around two weeks, whilst peas will lose their peak condition after around two days.
Raw meat can become dangerous if it is kept in the refrigerator for too long. The harmful bacteria that can build up on meat products such as pork and chicken mean that it is vital that they are used before they become hazardous. Raw poultry and seafood should be used within a couple of days of being chilled, whilst red meats like pork and beef are safe for up to around five days. All cooked meat products should be eaten within four or five days of being refrigerated. If you have eggs in your refrigerator you can directly cook eggs in the microwave.
Milk should not be kept in the door of a fridge, as it is the warmest part. Milk should be used within around five days of being chilled, whilst cheese and butter can last a lot longer if they are wrapped properly.
Note: How long your food lasts in the fridge also depends on how and where int he fridge it’s stored. The image below describes where each food should be stored.