I am one of those people that will throw out a carton of sour cream the minute it’s “use by” stamp has expired. I trust those dates one hundred and ten percent! But that’s not the only way to determine when food is in jeopardy. I noticed a few weeks ago that our milk didn’t seem as cold as it normally did and upon smelling it, I decided not to use it. I put it back in the fridge for Aaron to use…we don’t agree on the same freshness standards. I figured he would think it was absolutely fine, and indeed he did!
We had recently stopped putting things in the crisper drawer because foods were freezing, and had turned the temperature dial down thinking our fridge was too cold. Now it wasn’t keeping things cold enough. And in addition, things in the freezer were starting to thaw. Sidenote-we are currently using an old unit that was bought used for 100 bucks. Buying used is a great way to go, but that’s another topic for another post!
Anyways, to make a long story short, I decided to invest in a thermometer and found that none of the areas in the freezer are quite up to par. And about half of the shelves in the fridge are right around 40°, the maximum for safe temperature. Both temperature dials are turned to their coldest. We have transferred our freezer food to a different freezer and have moved all the food in the fridge into safe zones. Since it probably isn’t worth having someone come diagnose and fix the appliance, I guess we’ll just wait for it to die. Hopefully it passes soon!
Keeping your fridge and freezer in the safe temperature zone is important!
To keep food lasting as long as possible and to ensure bacteria can’t rapidly grow, maintain a temperature of 40ºF or below in the fridge and between 0 and -10ºF in the freezer. Purchase an inexpensive thermometer at your local grocery store and keep tabs on the temperatures. If foods are held at 40ºF or higher for 2 hours or more (perhaps in the case of a power outage), they should be thrown out! For more tips on refrigeration and food safety, check out this fact sheet from the USDA.