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An effective fridge is the easiest way to preserve the nutrients in food for longer, whilst maximising flavour and minimising food waste to ensure you get the most for your money. But whatever you put into your fridge carries lurking microbes that, if left in the wrong environment, can cause bad fridge smells and bacteria.
So what temperature is the right temperature? The Food Standards Agency advises household fridges to be set at 5 degrees Celsius or below. This is because harmful bacteria grow best in what is known as the ‘danger zone’ between 8 degrees and 63 degrees.
Fridge design has come a long way. New technologies are ever advancing to make food storage, along with its preservation, easier. Hotpoint’s ActiveOxygen technology in select models is an example of this, shown to reduce 99% of bacteria and viruses in tests*, preserving the freshness of food, while keeping bad odours at bay.
There are a host of nifty hacks widely used across professional kitchens to turn to for inspiration, like how to organise your fridge to make storage more efficient, as well as safer. For example, popping ready-to-eat foods on the top and middle shelves above anything that needs to be cooked will stop them being dripped on and contaminated by items like meat and fish.
Try and buy strong-smelling foods like smoked fish and stinky cheeses as close to when you need them as possible to avoid them leaving lingering aromas. Keeping them away from eggs and puddings will stop delicious treats like a creamy cookies and cream fridge cake from absorbing the flavours.
Covering fruit and veggies in the fridge drawer and then washing them before eating will also help remove any nasties, leaving them prime for chopping up and adding to a speedy fridge-raid soup to be hungrily devoured or kept as leftovers for another day.
There’s huge convenience in freezing cooled, pre-cooked meals in portions that can be whipped out and defrosted for dinner. Pop your portions in lidded containers with a sticky label saying what it is for hassle-free dinners.
Freezing food is also a great way to preserve fresh ingredients and dairy products in their prime. Everyday essentials like milk, stocks, bread and even eggs can all be safely frozen.
Freezing fruits are a thrifty way to make a healthy chilled treat like a super berry smoothie, ideal for hot days. Discover all our top tips for freezing foods including what not to freeze and a host of freezable recipes.
The ultraviolet in natural light interacts with the hops in beer and can impact its flavour. Temperature also plays a role. Storing your beer for its recommended shelf life in a cool, dark place between 10 and 12 degrees Celsius will help it to stay fresh and keep all the flavour and aromas you bought it for. The best beer fridges will be adapted to help you achieve this easily.
Just like beer, wines are impacted by high temperatures and temperature fluctuations. White wine fares best being stored between 10 and 13 degrees Celsius, while red wines will benefit from storage in temperatures between 12 and 16 degrees. Adapt your wine fridge accordingly.
Fridge-freezers may be one of the most expensive appliances you buy for your kitchen, so we recommend shopping around to find the best prices. Look out for price-match promises from retailers that will match a competing price if you find it cheaper elsewhere. Free delivery, next-day delivery, installation services and removal of your old appliance are also things to look out for. Discover our guide to the best fridge-freezers featuring top picks from appliance experts to help you find the best for your home and budget.
*Virucidal field tests done by Notovir srl following the Guidance on the BPR, Vol. II Parts B+C, v. 3.0 Apr 2018 and including also Human Coronavirus OC43 for 24hours at 4°C. Results referred to Murine Norovirus and Human Coronavirus OC43 and may vary based on shelf positioning and presence/absence of packaging. Tests on bacteria done by an independent laboratory on Petri plates in the 24 hours, according to ISO 22196, bacteria tested E.Coli and St. Aureus.