Nutrition 101

National Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day!

Do you need an excuse to clean out your refrigerator? Look no further. November 15 is National Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day. The refrigerator is the backbone of the kitchen, and this essential appliance deserves attention on a regular basis. With the upcoming holidays, do not miss this opportunity to prepare your refrigerator for the seasonal celebrations. A clean refrigerator prevents the breeding of germs that can cause food poisoning. Bacteria have an opportunity to grow when fresh produce is forgotten, if a spill is not attended to, or if an item ends up overlooked in the back of a shelf. And, a clean refrigerator brings a sense of satisfaction each time you open the door!

Keep your refrigerator at its best in 4 easy steps.

Step 1: Empty your refrigerator and place all items on the counter or table while you clean.

  • If you do not have enough space to empty out the entire refrigerator at once, do it shelf by shelf, starting at the top and working your way down.
  • Take out shelving, drawers, and any other removable parts.
  • Since refrigerator doors tend to hold a lot of items, it is fine to clean the door separately from the shelves.
  • Don’t leave unrefrigerated food out for more than 2 hours.

Step 2: Wash all removable parts.

  • Wash shelving, drawers, and any other removable parts by hand with hot, soapy water. Let cold shelves and drawers come to room temperature first because the cold glass could crack from the hot water.
  • Make sure the removable parts are completely dry before putting them back in the refrigerator.

Step 3: Clean and sanitize inside the refrigerator.

  • Wipe the inside of the empty refrigerator with hot, soapy water; then wipe with clean water to rinse off soap.
  • Dry with a clean towel.
  • Don’t forget to wipe inside the doors and any drawers that cannot be removed.
  • To sanitize, use a solution of 1 tablespoon of liquid bleach in 1 gallon of water. Using a clean rag, give it a quick wipe and allow the refrigerator to air dry.

Step 4: Put food away.

  • Check all foods prior to replacing food back in the refrigerator.
  • Throw away all expired food, anything that looks suspicious and toss anything you will not be using.
  • If necessary, wipe off the tops and/or sides of containers with a clean cloth to remove any food debris.
  • Keep the temperature at 40°F or below to prevent any harmful microorganisms from growing.
  • Avoiding overcrowding in your refrigerator to allow proper space for air circulation and maintain the required temperature.
  • It is a good idea to check out specific maintenance needs of your refrigerator by going online or looking at your user’s manual.

Now that your refrigerator is clean and organized, grab some of the jams, jellies, dips, and cheeses to make a beautiful charcuterie board. Visit Spotlight on Taste and learn how to put together a charcuterie board in 3 easy steps.