‘Really easy’ guide to stocking up a bare fridge in just five steps

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In most kitchens, the fridge is the largest appliance and arguably the most important when it comes to keeping food fresh and safe. Though many people ponder over exactly what to buy when looking to fill up the empty shelves in their new property, Charlotte Chapman of Redrow explained that giving the organisation of your food some thought is also essential to make use of the space. She told Express.co.uk that while moving home “can be daunting”, starting with a blank canvas can make it easier to give everything a “designated space”.

How to organise a fridge

Knowing where to start is one of the most difficult things to do when organising an empty space, particularly when it comes to storing a mixture of raw meat, fish, vegetables, dairy, fruits and vegetables.

Charlotte said: “It’s important to make sure that your fridge is clean before you start to stock it up. Having a new or spotless fridge will make you more inclined to keep it organised and makes the organising process more fun.

“Once it’s clean, it’s time to choose how you want to organise it. You can choose from either tubs or shelves, and then labels for different food groups, meals or ingredients.”

As a recent owner of one of Redrow’s new-build properties, Charlotte shared her own tried and tested method for perfectly-stored ingredients.

Make space for different items

The self-proclaimed organisation expert noted that once you have set shelves or tubs for each meal, food group or single ingredients, it is “really easy to know what you need”, and means you can be “more cost-effective” when you shop.

She said: “Start with the basics first, like fruit and veg, but ensure these are where you can easily see them, as it helps you to remember them before they go bad.”

Use labelled containers

While labelled jars and containers have become a popular household trend, Charlotte noted that they are a “worthwhile investment” – particularly if you have a busy lifestyle.

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The Redrow homeowner revealed that in her house, the containers are separated by specific meals, and every ingredient for that meal has its own space to make cooking even easier.

She added: “I would say if you’re finding yourself throwing away unused food, forgetting where things are or simply struggling with time in cooking each night – labelled containers are the way to go!”

Organise with food safety in mind

Easy access to ingredients is one thing to consider when filling up your fridge, but it is also important to think about food safety.

Charlotte said: “Ideally, shelves should be organised from the lowest cooking temperature to the highest, going down so juices or other liquids from contaminating foods won’t reach that temperature. Store raw foods in sealed and covered containers on the bottom shelves always.”

It’s not just raw and cooked meat to separate either, in fact, the rule applies to several fruits and vegetables too.

The organisation expert added: “Unless you’re trying to ripen something like an avocado, you should never place fruits like apples or bananas next to any of your other food. For example, if you store your broccoli in the same place as fruit, you’re halving its shelf life and it may only last a couple of days.”

Stock up on essentials

When it comes to filling up the shelves with fresh produce, Charlotte recommended starting simple with items like vegetables and fresh pasta.

She added that placing these in tubs with labels rather than the original packaging allows you to see how much you have and avoid overbuying.

Use varying temperatures to your advantage

Different parts of your fridge will vary in temperature, and while it can be a nuisance, you can also use it to your advantage. Charlotte explained that placing certain items closer to the front, or towards the back of the appliance can prolong their shelf life.

She said: “Keep foods such as salads and herbs away from the back of the fridge in containers as the colder temperature they’re exposed to can freeze these delicate foods making them go off very quickly. Instead, put your fresh milk and dairy products here preferably on the middle shelf as this is the coolest part. If they’ve been opened, move them to the fridge door.

“Create a container for foods that need to be eaten first so they don’t get left and thrown to waste. Place these on the top shelf and try to organise this just before your food shop so you don’t overbuy or leave food behind.

“Another way of doing this is to rotate your food. As you buy new ingredients, place the older items at the front of the shelf so you’re more likely to consume them before going to waste. If you do this for your next three food shops, it’ll become a natural part of the process when stocking your fridge.”

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