All foods eventually go bad -and sometimes they rot – and sometimes they stink.
Sometimes this can happen in your refrigerator.
You might be able to ignore the smell for a while, but if you cook and eat from that refrigerator, you might start to notice that you seem to get a lot of little stomach flus with an increasing frequency.
That’s not the stomach flu.
It very well may be food poisoning. Anything from a random mold in the cheese drawer all the way down to some air born fungus from some mushrooms a few days past their sell date can contaminate your fridge. Sealed jars won’t always protect you. Jars get moist. Bits of contaminant land. You open the jar and sometimes a drop or two of condensation lands in the food and that’s just enough to start a brand new biology experiment, right there in your fridge.
Sounds yummy, right?
So in order to prevent this, here’s a few tips.
• Leftovers are awesome, but if you can’t remember when they were put in the fridge, throw them out. Its usually a good idea to get a marker or wax pencil and mark the date you put a leftover in the fridge. Leftovers really should be in the fridge no longer than ONE WEEK.
• Each time you go shopping, before you put anything in, sort your fridge. Go through the drawers, especially that cheese drawer and check for anything that might be “on the edge.” Throw it out. Yeah, I know you could probably cook it tonight and be fine. NO. Throw it out.
• At least once a month, take a look at the expiration dates on those jars and bottles in the fridge door. All of them. Just a note: the expiration date is only valid on jars and bottles that you have not opened. Once the seal is broken, the clock is ticking. If its been in there for a couple months, throw it out.
• Freezing food does not make it stop going bad. It just slows down the process. Get yourself a good permanent marker and mark your food containers on the day you put them in the freezer if they don’t have a sold date on it. If you have not used an item in a year, or it has started to get freezer burn, throw it out.
• While you are at it, check the cupboards too. You may have opened something that says in small print “Refrigerate After Opening” and put it back in the cupboard. If you have done that, resist the temptation to put that in the fridge once you find it.
• Get yourself one of those glass bottles of lemon juice. Fill a spray bottle with some of it, some water, and some baking soda. Spray that on a kitchen paper towel and wipe the inside surfaces of your fridge. Ammonia sprays and bleach sprays really should only be used if you have defrosted the fridge, taken all the food out, wiped the surfaces, let them dry, and then wiped them again with a damp kitchen paper towel. You don’t want the taste or the chemistry from commercial kitchen cleaners in your food.
If you can’t remember the last time you sorted the fridge, back away from the computer and go take care of it. NOW.