Who knew that one of my least favorite chores has a national holiday? November 15th is National Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day. There are plenty of benefits that come along with the task. Some of the resulting meals of left overs and and end-of-life-veggies can be rewarding. It feels like a reboot for the month ahead. Join me on the cleansing journey of observing Nations Clean Out Your Fridge Day.
But first the facts...
Although keeping food stored in your refrigerator can extend their life, it doesn’t keep them forever. Know the limits of your left overs. Below is a list of common fridge dwellers and their safe storage limits (1). Better safe than sorry.
|Food type||Example||In fridge (40F or below)||In fridge (40F or below)|
|Salads||Including egg, chicken, tuna, and macaroni.||3-5 days||Does not freeze well.|
|Lunch meats||Deli meats and pre-packaged sliced||Opened 3-5 days|
Unopened 7 days
|1-2 months (opened or unopened)|
|Breakfast meats||Bacon and sausage||Bacon - 7 days|
Raw sausage -1-2 days
|1 month (either)|
|Ground meat||Hamburger, ground beef, turkey, veal, pork, lamb||1-2 days||3-4 months|
|Fresh Poultry||Chicken or turkey||1-2 days||Whole - 1 year
Pieces - 9 months
|Fresh steaks||Beef, pork, veal, lamb||3-5 days||6-12 months|
|Soup/stew||Veggie or with meal||3-4 days||2-3 months|
|Leftovers||Cooked meat or pizza||3-4 days||Cooked meat - 2-6 months
Pizza - 1-2 months
|Eggs||Raw - 3-5 weeks|
Hard boiled - 1 week
|Raw - does not freeze well
Hard - do not freeze
|Foods containing eggs||Casseroles, eggnog, quiche, pies||All examples - 3-4 days||Casseroles baked - 2-3 months
Eggnog homemade - don't freeze
Custard pie - don't freeze
Quiche baked - 1-2 months
Now let’s get down to business and lay out the rules of the cleaning game.
Remove all the food so you don’t miss any nooks or crannies.
- Yes, including drawers which you should soak with warm, soapy water.
Wipe down entire interior: shelves, doors, trays, walls, and drawers.
- Hot soap and water works wonders.
- NO BLEACH – bleach and food or surfaces food touch can be a mix that can result in illness.
- Natural products –
- Vinegar – can be good for stainless surfaces but not the best for fridge interior.
- Baking soda – great for removing stains and odors
Toss – Start with leftovers and opened foods. Then check anything with expiration dates.
- Put only the good foods back in the fridge. Maybe some good ideas will pop up when you see hidden foods.
- When putting things back remember to keep them separated. Cooked or raw, meal or veggie, and even eggs should be kept in separate areas of the fridge. Bacteria can spread quickly. Anything that could drip or leak should be on the bottom shelf (like raw meats or containers with liquids). I keep my meats in drawers, with fruit and veggie visible in clear tubs.
FINAL STEP – make a schedule and stick to it.
Go forth and conquer your fridge!
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This information is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional or any information contained on or in any product label or packaging. Do not use the information from this article for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing medication or other treatment. Always speak with your physician or other healthcare professional before taking any medication or nutritional, herbal or homeopathic supplement, or using any treatment for a health problem. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem, contact your health care provider promptly. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking professional advice because of something you have read in this article.
- Storage Times for the Refrigerator and Freezer | FoodSafety.gov. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.foodsafety.gov/keep/charts/storagetimes.html. Accessed November 10, 2018.