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How Long Should You Store Food Items in the Fridge?

It also makes perfect sense to invest in not just a refrigerator, but a food preservation system that will keep food as fresh as possible.
IMAGE SUB ZERO / FOCUS GLOBAL INC.
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In a kitchen, the refrigerator seems to be the automatic storage space for anything perishable or left over. As much as we think anything in the fridge is “safe,” as long as it is consumed before the expiration date, it’s not the case for all kinds of food. There are types of bacteria that grow and affect food without changing the way it smells, tastes, or looks, which can make it difficult to tell if the food is already spoiled. The United States Department of Agriculture and the University of Nebraska Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources have each released a breakdown of everyday grocery items and their recommended storage time in the refrigerator:

One Month

Margarine
Natural and processed cheese
Yogurt
Salad dressings and mayonnaise (Up to two months) 

Two Weeks

Butter
Sour cream
Cream
Citrus Fruit
Bread with no preservatives
Vacuum-packed meals (unopened) 

One Week

Milk
Soft cheese
Cured pork
Hotdogs (opened)
Hard-boiled eggs
Leafy vegetables, cauliflower, cucumber, peppers, tomatoes
Pineapples
Melons 

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Three to four days

Fresh steak, chops, and roast
Cooked ham
Cooked fish
Cooked casseroles
Cooked broths, patties, and nuggets
Cooked soups and stews
Cooked dishes with eggs
Canned juices (opened)

One to two days

Fruit pies
Fresh organs
Fresh ground meat
Raw sausages
Egg products
Fresh fish
Fresh Chicken or turkey
Pasta

While you may rely on the cheat sheet above, it’s also important to remember general precautions about refrigerator use.

Set your fridge to the ideal temperature to lessen bacteria and the possibility of molds.

First off, the ideal temperature should be set to 4 degrees Celsius, while the freezer must be set to -18 degrees Celsius. Food kept in temperatures above the ideal temperature for more than two hours may sometimes already be considered rotten and unsafe to consume. Find a refrigerator with features that allow you to control the appliance's temperature with a simple push of a button. 

Photo by SUB ZERO / FOCUS GLOBAL INC.
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Handle hot or cooked food with care.

Typically, it’s best to wait for food to cool down before storing it away in the refrigerator. This practice will also help prolong the dish’s freshness.

It also makes perfect sense to invest in not just a refrigerator, but a food preservation system that will keep food as fresh as possible. Some of the newer features of, say, a Sub-Zero unit would dub its offerings as smart appliances that also run on Wi-Fi. One of the food safety features of the 48” PRO Refrigerator, for instance, is that it automatically filters the air of mold, viruses, and bacteria every 20 minutes using a state-of-the-art purification system.

Segregate using compartments.

Cooked food, leftovers, and raw meat should each be placed in their own containers before going into the fridge. It is also wise to have a food preservation system that comes with various crisper drawers for fresh fruit and vegetables, meat drawers for meat and cheese, and a main compartment for bottled, canned, and contained food and drinks.

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Visit the Sub-Zero and Wolf Showroom at G/F Manila Tower, The Residences at Greenbelt, Esperanza Street, Makati, 836.0389; 12th Floor, Twenty-four Seven McKinley Building, 24th Street corner 7th Avenue, McKinley Parkway, Bonifacio Global City, 705.9999.

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