I’m a food expert – you’ve been stacking your fridge all wrong & how your hoover is the key to keeping stuff fresh

WITH vegetable shortages at supermarkets and the soaring cost of living, it’s more important than ever to maximise the shelf life of our food.

What about storing potatoes in the fridge to keep them fresh?

GettyIs your fridge in tip-top condition?[/caption]

Once thought to release cancer-causing chemicals, new research has shown it is perfectly safe.

But is your fridge in tip-top condition?

Food waste expert Kate Hall, who founded website The Full Freezer, tells Kirsten Jones how to keep a flawless fridge.


YOUR fridge should be kept between 1-6C.

Any colder and your food will freeze.

Your fridge should be kept between 1-6C

Any warmer and it will spoil fast.

Kate says: “Loads of our fridges are set too high, at about 8C. Don’t rely on the in-built sensor — that’s only telling you about one part of your fridge. Instead, use an external display with wireless sensors for an accurate reading.”

Try the digital fridge thermometer, £9.99, from Amazon.


BY vacuuming dusty filters, found on fridge walls, and the coils at the back, centre right, you could make your fridge about 25 per cent more efficient.

Don’t forget to clean handles daily, doors and seals weekly and do a deep clean every three months with hot water and washing-up liquid,” instructs Kate.

“Avoid bleach and non-safe chemical cleaners and tackle stubborn stains with a toothbrush.”


AVOID chaos and organise your food items by shelf.

“Pre-cooked meats, deli items and leftovers sit on the warmer top shelf,” advises Kate.

Avoid chaos and organise your food items by shelf

“Dairy lives in the middle, including milk. The door is too warm and spoils milk faster. And meat at the bottom.

“Store jams, soft cheese and juice in the door and pop fruit and vegetables in the bottom drawers to shield from odours.”


SQUASHED or hard-to-find food or big gaps between shelves are a red flag for fridge efficiency, so get it sorted to save some cash.

“Your fridge should never be more than 75 per cent full, to let cool air flow,” says Kate.

AlamyYour fridge should never be more than 75 per cent full, to let cool air flow[/caption]

“Instead of stacking items on top of each other, tidy safe food groups into glass containers.

“Freeze anything you don’t need and if you’re feeling fancy, buy a lazy Susan for your spreads and sauces so they’re never out of reach.”

Try the Youcopia Crazy Susan, £7.99, The Range.


HOW many times have you found furry jam in the fridge?

There’s a solution.

“Use a marker pen to write down when you opened it and stick as a label on your food item,” Kate explains.

“Then, as the use-by date draws near, you can portion up and freeze without wasting it.”


REDUCE food waste with an “eat me first” shelf to remind you to use older food first.

But Kate warns: “Whatever you do, don’t put raw meat on the same shelf as other food groups like pesto and butter. The risk of cross-contamination is too high.”


IF mould is making a meal out of your fruit and veg, swot up on humidity and give them space.

Kate explains: “Divide items depending on the humidity they need. Leafy greens and herbs need more to stay fresh and crisp while apples and avocados need low humidity to last longer.

“Some emit more ethylene gas than others as they ripen and cause other items to go mouldy faster. Use food saver bags to separate your items so they last longer.”


DECLUTTER your shelf space by removing safe packaging like cardboard.

But leave eggs alone — they’ll make a stink outside the box.

“Any food that comes in cardboard or bulky packaging can be stripped back, providing it’s not for preservation purposes,” Kate says.


NO one likes a stinky fridge, but a simple bicarb trick will oust any odour.

“First, use glass pots to contain smelly ingredients like onions or fish,” advises Kate.

“Then keep an open box of bicarbonate of soda on the bottom shelf. It’s a natural odour-eater and will keep your fridge smelling fresh.”


STICKING hot or warm food straight in the fridge will hike the temperature and risk bacteria forming on it and on other items.

Kate warns: “The pot will cool quickly, but the food inside will still be at a ‘danger zone’ temperature and it won’t take long for bacteria to grow.

“Split food into smaller portions to make it cool quicker.”