Organising your fridge in prep for the festive period
Christmas is nearly upon us! There’s no shame in admitting it, we’re counting down the days until the 25th.
The festive period brings with it so many wonderful things - time with your friends and family, thoughtful gifts, evenings in by the fire, and (some may say most importantly) delicious food.
When it comes to decadent, mouth-watering treats, there isn’t a time of year that can compete with Christmas. And we’re not just talking sweets and chocolate here, we’re envisioning great feasts of turkey, veggies and puddings with all the trimmings.
It’s no surprise that we all find that, as we’re doing the Christmas food prep, our fridge is absolutely bursting. If your household is anything like mine, you’ll find that you’re struggling to physically fit anything else in your fridge a good week before Christmas Day.
So, before you head out to the shops, we would highly recommend starting out your Christmas food prep by having a think about how you organise your kitchen. At this stage, the wisest way to get your kitchen ready for the festivities would be to get your refrigerated food organised, know what goes where, and understand the best place to put the new food you’re buying - luckily for you, this blog post is designed to help you do just that.
We’re not being pedantic when we say that there is actually a specific place for each type of food that goes in your fridge. This is because fridges are designed to store foods at their optimum temperature, so different drawers, shelves and door spaces have been built accordingly, to suit that exact purpose.
When it comes to successfully organising your fridge, it’s all about paying mind to the temperatures of the different areas of your fridge. So, in this comprehensive guide to optimum fridge organisation, we’ll be covering all the different spaces in your fridge, and which bit of festive food should go where. To keep things simple, we’ve split the standard fridge up into five key areas. We’ll take you through each area, and then talk you through what goes there. It’s as easy as that - you’ll have your fridge ready for the holidays in no time.
The fruit and vegetable drawers
When you open the fridge door, the area of your fridge which is the first place to give up its cold air is the bottom of the fridge. This is why the fruit and veggie drawers are at the bottom - it stops this fresh produce getting too cold. They’re positioned in a way that means that they’re lifted slightly from the very base of the fridge, which stops any delicate leaves partially freezing.
These drawers are specifically designed to keep herbs, fruit and veg crisp, fresh and at their ideal temperature (which is great unless it’s sprouts you’re storing, we’d take any excuse to give those the chuck).
The idea behind these draws is that you use them to sort out your fresh produce, and keep fruit on one side and vegetables in the other - so your Christmas clementines go in the left drawer, and your red cabbage and parsnips go in the right. This practice isn’t just designed to keep you on top of your stock levels, it’s actually an important part of keeping your food fresher for longer. This is because some types of fruit (for example peaches, plums and pears) actually emit a type of gas that can cause any vegetables that they are near to go off quicker.
Plus, by keeping your freshest produce enclosed in a draw (rather than leaving them exposed on a shelf) you can prevent odours from ruining them.
It’s also important to note that some fruits and vegetables don’t need to be kept as cold as we think they do. Varieties like tomatoes, avocados, onions and potatoes (a Christmas dinner essential) would actually be better off just being stored in a cool area of your kitchen, rather than the fridge.
The top shelf
The top shelf is the area of your fridge that has the most consistent, stable temperature. As such, it’s the best place to store dairy products. In this area you should keep any dairy products that don’t require cooking before eating, but are best kept cool - so this includes food like yoghurts, milk, cheese and eggs.
This air in this area of the fridge is well-circulated, which keeps your food at a constant temperature. This ensures that you are being extra-cautious, and you are storing these slightly trickier food types in the safest possible way.
The middle shelf
This shelf is the coldest part of the fridge. So, make the most out of this cooler area by storing your fancy pre-cooked meats and deli products (that you’ve bought for the luxurious buffet table) here.
It also provides the perfect spot to keep your leftovers - after the big Christmas dinner, you can store the rest of your turkey and stuffing here, ready for the traditional Boxing Day sandwiches.
Another important reason why this is the best spot to store your pre-cooked meats is that food that has already been cooked should always be kept above any raw, uncooked produce. This is in order to prevent any little drops of liquid from the raw meat from dropping onto any cooked food that is positioned below it. It’s an important health and safety consideration, especially during the festive period, when you’re likely to have a lot of different raw and cooked foods being stored in your fridge at the same time.
This is also the perfect spot to store any drinks (particularly white wine) that needs to be chilled.
The bottom shelf
As mentioned above, this is the part of your fridge where it’s best to store raw fish and meat. This shelf should be the place where you keep any food products that are the most risky in terms of contamination. By storing them here, you can avoid the risk that they will spoil any of your other foods.
It’s also important that, before you pop your raw meat or fridge in the fridge, you cover it well and seal it (either with cling film or in a piece of tupperware). This way, you are minimising the risk of contamination even further.
The fridge door
Due to the fact that they’re the part that gets most exposed to the air in the room when the fridge door is opened, these shelves are normally the warmest part of the fridge. So, you should bear this in mind when you think about what food you want to store here.
We would recommend using this space to keep foods that have a natural preservative within them, as this means that they are a lot less likely to spoil. In terms of your Christmas goodies, this includes cranberry sauce, bread sauce, brandy butter, or chutney for the cheese board.
To take your fridge organisation to the next level, we’d also suggest investing in some handy fridge storage helpers. Consider buying some little add-ons for your fridge shelves like plastic boxes, trays, containers or even Lazy Susans that are designed specifically for fridges. These will help you to separate the bits and bobs in each shelf, and help you to find things a lot easier.
Finally, we wanted to share with you a few key pointers. These will ensure that, before you start filling your fridge, it’s in top condition and performing as it should do:
Your fridge temperature should be somewhere between 0ºC and 4ºC. Although different models will fluctuate in their temperatures, it should not stray beyond this range.
If it gets too warm inside, try not to open the door so often, as that quickly causes the fridge temperature to rise. Make sure that you don’t overfill your fridge - this disrupts the flow of the air within your fridge, and this airflow is one of the key ways that a fridge successfully keeps your food fresh and cool
Installing a FridgeCam is a fantastic helper when it comes to keeping the temperature of your fridge consistent. It will actually ping a message to your device if you’ve left the fridge door open by mistake, or if your fridge drastically changes in temperature.
Beyond this intelligent feature, the FridgeCam offers users no end of organisational possibilities. Smarter’s FridgeCam will fit inside any fridge, and provides an all-in-one tool which not only helps users to track their food’s expiry dates, but also give you a clearer sense of your fridge’s organisation. It’ll help you to see what’s gone where, and whether it would be best moving elsewhere, or works well as it is.
The FridgeCam promotes a far clearer organisational plan for your fridge. This prevents cramming and contamination, which will keep your food at the correct temperature and stop things going off, which will save you significant sums over time. Plus, this device also gives you a far clearer sense of what you’ve already got in stock - it's the perfect Christmas hack for that stressful food shop on December 23rd, where you can’t remember what you do and don’t need.
So, to help you organise your Christmas, plan ahead and order yourself a FridgeCam. A Smart Fridge is the perfect tool to have under your belt when you’re shopping for and cooking up your festive dinner. Have a look on our Smarter online store to get yours. After all, we’ve been looking forward to this food all year long, we want to make sure it lives up to our expectations!
Written by Josephine Walbank