If fairly fresh leftovers are beginning to taste or smell funny, it could be your refrigerator that is causing this unappetizing effect. The household refrigerator is a real workhorse, constantly running but many times getting no place. When the refrigerator is holding too many old foods, or has been neglected when it comes to cleanliness, it may be time to clear out everything and give the cold box a complete cleaning.
Most women don’t truly understand the dangers of improper food storage. However, it is a danger to your health and that of your family to store foods at temperatures above 40° and below 210°. That difference in temperature is considered “the danger zone.”
Food kept too long in the refrigerator may appear dried up or contain some sort of biology experiment, but the truth is, these foods contain bacteria, odor-causing bacteria that could actually make you sick. “When in doubt, throw it out,” is the best motto for ensuring you, nor your family, become victims of a food-borne illness.
Food that has harmful bacteria might not smell yet, so don’t just trust your nose to decipher whether or not the entrée is still good. Take out food left in Styrofoam containers should usually be eaten the same day or following day, after that it’s time to toss. But if the food looks or smells strange, don’t even risk tasting it — just throw it away. Mold, especially on soft cheeses can be very harmful and may be saturated throughout although not apparent to the naked eye.
With a few foods — such as hard cheeses, salami, and firm fruits — you can cut the mold away, but be sure to remove a large section around any mold you can see. In general, food with mold should be tossed.
Condiments will stay fresh for two months on the door of the refrigerator. That part of the fridge is designed for storing condiments, because their high acid content makes them more resistant to bacteria than other foods.
Spills should be wiped up as soon as they occur, this will keep the refrigerator cleaner between regular cleanings. As a rule, clean the refrigerator every 3 to 6 months, but keep the shelves, especially solid shelves, wiped down regularly.
~ Karen Ficarelli
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