Keeping your food fresh, and lasting!
Here are a few basic guidelines to use when trying to get the best out of your refrigerator. Remember to buy the best quality food possible - food quality will not improve during freezing and always use food within recommended storage times (best before or use by date).
Meat, Poultry, Fish and Seafood
Store meat, poultry, fish and seafood separately. Store in covered water-tight containers or cover plates with plastic wrap, waxed paper or foil.
Do not place raw meat, directly above or on top of foods that will not be cooked before being consumed. Transfer of bacteria from the meat can occur, resulting in cross contamination. Thaw food in your refrigerator rather than on the bench.
Cover open cans of pet food with plastic wrap or foil to stop odour transfer. Alternatively, store pet food in covered containers.
Minced/diced or small cuts of meat should only be stored for 1-2 days in the refrigerator, after that they need to be stored in the freezer.
Larger pieces of meat like roasts can be kept for up to 2 - 4 days in the refrigerator, depending on how fresh the meat was on purchase.
Vacuum packed meat can be stored for longer periods in the refrigerator and freezer, check the manufactures recommendations for storage recommendations and times.
Deli meats should be removed from their original wrapping, wrapped in waxed paper or foil or placed in covered containers. Deli meats should be used before the use by/best before date.
Fresh whole birds/poultry pieces should be covered with plastic wrap, waxed paper or foil to ensure that juices do not leak.
Poultry should be stuffed just before cooking. If stuffing remains in the poultry bacteria may grow and cooking temperatures may not be sufficient to eliminate bacteria.
Raw poultry can be stored for up to 2 days and cooked poultry can be stored for up to 3 days in the refrigerator.
Fish and Seafood
Whole fish and fillets should be used on the day of purchase. They should be refrigerated until required on a plate and covered with plastic wrap, waxed paper or foil.
If storing overnight or longer, take care to select particularly fresh fish. The eyes should be bright and clear.
Whole fish should be rinsed in cold water to remove loose scales and dirt, then patted dry with paper towels. Whole, fresh fillets should be placed in a plastic bag and stored in a covered container with a layer of ice on its base. Place the bagged fish on this. Cover with a second layer of ice. Before using, rinse whole fish again in cold water.
Shellfish and other seafood should also be covered and chilled. Use within 2 days.
Precooked, Cooked foods and Leftovers
Divide hot food into smaller quantities for faster cooling. Hot food should not be left out at room temperature for more than 2 hours.
Ideally, place precooked, cooked foods and leftovers in the refrigerator within 30 minutes. Refrigerate and cover leftovers if you plan to use them within two days, otherwise throw them out. Any food left in cans should be transferred to plates/containers/jars and covered. Food should not be stored in opened cans.
Reheat leftovers, especially those containing meat, poultry or seafood until 'piping hot'. Stir/mix/turn during reheating to ensure thorough reheating. This is particularly important when using a microwave oven as heating can be uneven.
Fruit and Vegetables
Nearly all Fisher & Paykel ActiveSmart™ refrigerators have fruit and vegetable bins fitted with a unique humidity control system. This seals the fruit and vegetable bins creating a high humidity environment. Condensation, from the respiring produce, is captured and retained by the humidity control lid. This prevents the moisture from dripping back down onto the fruit and vegetables which would cause them to rot. The humidity control system has a fruit and vegetable setting, which adjusts the humidity accordingly. Fruit and vegetables should be removed from their plastic bags before being placed in the fruit and vegetable bins. Some fruit and vegetables are ethylene producers, such as apples and pears, where as others are ethylene sensitive, such as lettuce and broccoli. These items should be separated, as a general rule, separating fruit and vegetables into different bins will help reduce the effects of ethylene. Fruit and vegetables will last up to one week, if stored correctly in the fruit and vegetable bins.
Temperature sensitive fruit and vegetables should not be stored in the refrigerator for long periods. For example: tomatoes, bananas, citrus fruit, melon, mango, courgette, eggplant, peppers/capsicum, cucumber, pumpkin, green beans and pineapple. Temperatures that are too cold can actually cause damage to the flavour, texture and freshness. Undesirable changes like rotting, browning, flesh softening and accelerated decay can also occur at low temperatures.
Dairy Food and Eggs
Cheese can be stored in the covered door compartment for approximately 1 week. If storing for longer than this, place in the main fresh food compartment
Once cheese is opened, place in a sealed plastic bag/container, or in plastic wrap or foil to prevent cheeses drying out and picking up any taints. Depending on the type of cheese, it may be necessary to renew the wrapping every 2-3 days to reduce the chance of mould growth.
Other dairy products including yoghurt and cream cheese should be stored in the main fresh food compartment. Store butter in the covered compartment or in a sealed container, as butter can be easily tainted by strong smelling foods.
Power failure - food safety
Do not refreeze frozen foods that have thawed completely. Follow the recommendations below if you discover food in your freezer has thawed:
1.) Ice crystals still visible - food may be refrozen but should be stored for a shorter period than recommended.
2.) Thawed but refrigerator cold - refreezing generally not recommended. Fruits and some cooked food can be refrozen but use as soon as possible. Meat, fish, poultry - use immediately or cook and refreeze. Vegetables - discard as they usually go limp and soggy.
3.) Thawed and warmer than 41°F (5°C) - discard all foods.
Do not refreeze frozen foods that have thawed completely. The food may be dangerous to eat.