How Do I Store Food in the Refrigerator & Freezer?



Unfortunately, there are many life lessons that every individual should be taught, but we just aren’t. Whether it be writing a check, or food storage, many go their whole lives without important everyday key pieces of information. In school, I learned many facts that I have never found useful and have long forgotten. Sure, understanding calculus was alright I guess, but what about some practical information that I would use daily, like food safety? Old wives tales and misconception seem to rule kitchen practices. For example, my parents still wash all their meat before cooking it. But did you know washing your meat actually increases the risk of cross-contamination? It also inhibits the Maillard reaction, a chemical process that develops complex flavors in browned food. Food safety and storage are key to prevent food born illness’s, to save money, and preserve fresh flavors. If you have a refrigerator with food in it, read the article.

fridge and freezer

  • The temperature of your fridge should hover at approximately 30 degrees F. If your fridge surpass’ 40 degrees F the temperature will promote bacterial growth.
  • Your freezer should read below zero.
  • The coldest areas of your fridge are near the freezer.
  • The warmest areas of the fridge are the refrigerator doors.
  • Label the food going in the freezer with the date. No food should be frozen in a household freezer for more than a year.


  • Clean your fridge every time there is a spill. Keep jars and lids clean. Check meat, fish, poultry and produce daily for spoilage.
  • You should “deep clean” your fridge often. A common recommendation is every 4 months. I disagree. I clean mine monthly. Food rots/decays, molds, leaves behind odors and bacteria… it doesn’t take 4 months to do it either. Every month, wipe down the surfaces of your refrigerator including the walls, drawers and gaskets with a dilution of 50/50 apple cider vinegar and water. Don’t forget, the shelves and drawers of your refrigerator are removable for a deeper clean.


  • Milk should be stored on the shelf closest to the freezer.
  • Cheese can be stored in the deli drawer. It should be wrapped in wax paper, never wrapped tightly or in contact with plastic. Cheese in direct contact with plastic can cause food safety issues and the promotion of bacteria growth, prevent cheese from off-gasing ammonia (a natural process), and lead to strange flavors because cheese absorbs the chemicals in plastic. If you find that your cheese dries out, place cheese wrapped in wax paper in a plastic zip-top bag, only seal half-way.

fruits & vegetables

Fruits and vegetables need humidity. Hopefully your refrigerator has a crisper drawer to aid in the longevity of your produce. Most vegetables need a higher percentage of moisture than fruit to remain fresh, “un-wilted,” or dried out. Keep them separated if possible.

A few common items and how they should be stored (not just thrown in crisper drawer).

  • Tomatoes should never be stored in the fridge. They should remain on the counter.
  • Mushrooms should be kept out of the crisper drawer to prevent slime.
  • Citrus should be stored in zip-top bags in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator.
  • Asparagus and celery should be thought of as flowers. They need to be stored upright with their base trimmed, in a couple inches of water with a loose zip-top bag covering the vegetables.
  • Blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries should be stored unwashed in original packaging to prevent mold growth.
  • Cranberries: If you are not planning on using your cranberries immediately, I recommend freezing them. They freeze beautifully for up to a year.

meat, fish, or poultry

Your fridge may have a meat locker, if so, store your raw meet, fish or poultry in the locker. If your fridge does not have a meat compartment, store your raw meat on the shelf closest to the freezer. All raw meat, fish, and poultry should remain sealed and placed on a rimmed tray, plate or Tupperware to catch any drippings.


Leftovers are usually stable foods and can be stored in warmer areas of the fridge.


Should be stored in refrigerator doors leaving other areas for more perishable foods.


I am not the authority on any topic asked in this forum. For questions that may have medical implications, please consult your doctor or midwife. The purpose of this section of the site is to provide support, help, or a sounding board for individuals. Whether a person is going through struggles, would like to know they’re not alone, or find out which bottle worked best for my children, I will do my best to answer. There are going to be many ways to reply to all questions posted. I am merely providing my perspective. This forum is not meant for debate.

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