Who would have thought that you needed to respect this real estate rule for your fridge! Here are some pointers on where to store food in your refrigerator.Refrigerate or freeze perishable and prepared foods within two hours of making them. Never move large pots of food directly from the stove to fridge as it raises the fridge’s temperature.  Let the food cool for about half an hour (maximum an hour), transfer it to small containers, cover and refrigerate.  This will keep the fridge temperature in the safe cool zone.  To keep tabs on the temperature, keep a thermometer in the fridge – it should be kept at  4C (40 degrees F) or colder. Leave space around containers, and don’t over-pack the fridge with food, so air can circulate.

Ripen fruits such as peaches, plums, pears, melons, mangoes and bananas at room temperature.  Once they have ripened, refrigerate them.  Put citrus fruits, pineapples, berries, watermelon, grapes and cherries in the refrigerator immediately to maintain freshness and avoid spoilage.  Store apples in a crisper away from anything else as apples emit ethylene, a natural gas that can cause other fruits to ripen quickly. It’s OK to store bananas in the fridge; the skins will go brown, but the cold keeps the inside from ripening further. Keep leftover fruit salad in a covered container and use it up within two days.

Keep leafy greens, broccoli, celery and any vegetables with lots of surface area in a crisper as they tend to lose moisture quickly and the crisper helps keep water vapor in.  If the crisper’s full, store produce in an open plastic bag, or one with holes; airtight bags will hold moisture and encourage mould growth.  Store halved pieces of fruit such as peaches, melons or tomatoes face down on a plate in the fridge and use within two days.  Don’t store whole tomatoes in the fridge as the cold makes them soft and mealy.

Do not store potatoes in the fridge.  Store them in a dark dry spot to prevent them from turning green.

Keep eggs in the carton they came in, and near the bottom of the fridge – not on the door, which is a warmer spot.  Check the expiry dates on the carton.  Milk is sensitive to temperature changes so put it on a lower shelf, and never on the door.

Keep raw meat, poultry and seafood wrapped securely in plastic or airtight containers and place them on the bottom shelf, where it’s coldest and where meat juices can not drip onto other foods.  Processed meats and cold cuts can be kept up to one week.   If you’re not going to eat the meat within a few days, freeze it.  Bacteria cannot grow at freezing temperatures.

Store condiments and orange juice on the door as their natural preservatives prevent bacteria.

Thaw frozen food in the fridge in its original packaging on a plate.  If space is a problem, thaw it in a cool environment, for instance in a sink of cold water; be sure to change the water often to keep it cold.  Thawing at room temperature can increase risks for bacterial growth.

Never store food on top of the refrigerator, it’s too warm and can wreak havoc on almost any food.

Follow these pointers and be reassured that you are treating your foods with the outmost care and minimizing the loss of spoilage!