Leo Varadkar made headlines this week with his perfectly organized fridge that showcases the visually appealing atheistic of storing food in plastic containers.
It’s a style of food storage we’re familiar with from many health and fitness influencers.
But packing your groceries in labeled containers isn’t the be-all and end-all of refrigerator etiquette. According to experts, there are some other things we should consider when organizing our fridge before worrying about its appearance.
Nutritionist Eva Campbell, who also has a food blog and Instagram called thehealthytart, said she gets organized with her fridge, but she doesn’t have perfect labels for everything.
She says the most important thing is to have the right foods on the right shelves to maximize freshness.
“The drawers are where you would normally keep the fruit and veg because that protects them from the extreme cold, the more modern fridges usually have humidity control in those drawers to keep them fresher longer,” she explained.
“Then you store all the meat, poultry and fish on the bottom shelf, because that’s the coldest part of the fridge.
“The middle shelf is best for leftovers and dairy products like cheese and yogurt, because higher up it’s not as cold.
“Then at the top, that might come as a surprise to people, I would keep nuts, seeds and flour, especially gluten free flour, because they’re quite high in fat so they can go rancid. I would store them in airtight containers at the top of the fridge.”
Ms Campbell said for those busy preparing food it can be beneficial, but it’s preferable to cook during the day to maximize the nutrient benefits.
“In general, it’s better to cook every day because when some foods are exposed to air, they lose nutrients.
“But for really busy people, I recommend buying veggies and washing them right away, chopping them up and storing them in glass jars, and putting a damp kitchen towel in there to keep them fresher longer, thereby minimizing nutrient loss.
“And if it’s within easy reach and at eye level, there’s a much higher chance that you’ll eat the veg and have it when it’s there and ready to eat.”
If the food blogger had to recommend anything that can help organize your fridge and make it more organized at the same time, it would be glass containers, she said.
“I’m organized, but I don’t have these perfect labels everywhere!” she said.
“I think they’re so pretty to look at, but you spend so much money on all these containers and these labels, but I like to keep things in glass.
“You can see how much is in there, and it also minimizes exposure to plastic and BPA and things like that.”
Although an aesthetically pleasing fridge can be beautiful to look at, Food Space Ireland’s chef Conor Spacey explained how many of us may be storing our food incorrectly – which can result in a shorter shelf life.
“A lot of food waste can happen when food is stored incorrectly. In particular, you need to separate your fruit from your veg in your fridge,” he said.
“Some fruits release a gas called ethalin and this can affect other vegetables and fruits and cause them to spoil faster, so they need to be separated.”
Mr. Spacey believes more people should freeze the foods they know they won’t get to eat before they go bad.
“I think freezing food is awesome, freezers were invented to extend the life of food.
“Now freezers are full of processed foods and I understand that because we all have busy lifestyles.
“But we need to fall in love with our freezer again and understand that it’s the best way to extend the shelf life of our food and reduce waste.”
If you’re opting for a more sustainable kitchen, he recommends not buying large amounts of Tupperware for storage if you’re not shopping sustainably.
“People buy these plastic containers and store their groceries in them because they think they avoid plastic, but when we go to the supermarket we buy the groceries in plastic, which defeats the purpose.”
“If you buy groceries in a supermarket that are unfortunately wrapped in plastic, you might as well just keep them in plastic because you’re just avoiding the problem.”
“Start with simple steps that build your confidence, like: E.g. buying your spices in glass jars instead of plastic containers, buying bulk fruit or buying meat in foil trays that can be washed and recycled.”
Operation Transformation nutritionist Aoife Hearne shared that people need to be more aware of keeping their food safe in their fridges.
“Food safety is paramount when storing food, so things like raw meat should go to the bottom of the fridge.”
“I would put ready-to-eat foods like cheese and yogurt in the middle of the fridge.”
“Then you have things upstairs that are more of a risk, like E.g. cooked proteins that are reheated.”
“It’s very important that raw meat is at the bottom of the fridge so it doesn’t spill onto ready-to-eat food.”
She thinks Leo Varadkar’s Meal Prepped Fridge is a great way to make sure you’re eating healthy.
“People who want to eat well, I think meal prepping is where you can put your energy.”
“Preparing meals loses some of our nutrients, but it’s the easiest way for people to eat their veggies. I wouldn’t worry about some of the minor nutrient losses that can be lost when preparing meals.”
“Dishes with sauce or moisture in them, like casseroles, are better for meal prep because drier foods may not taste as good as freshly cooked when reheated, but are still safe as long as they are refrigerated and stored safely.”
https://www.independent.ie/news/stay-chilled-experts-share-tips-to-ensure-your-fridge-is-even-more-organised-than-leo-varadkars-41648094.html Stay cool: Experts share tips to keep your fridge even more organized than Leo Varadkar’s