Discover the Ideal Refrigerator Temperature to Keep Your Food Fresh
If your refrigerator temperature is not set correctly, consider yourself lucky you grabbed the ice cream instead of Sunday’s potato salad.
There’s nothing quite as frustrating as grabbing a pint of Blue Bell out of the freezer and having it be the consistency of pea soup; or diving into a yummy fruit on the bottom yogurt, and having it be warmer than your hand.
A critical role in keeping our food safe and fresh has to do with the temperature we keep our fridges, so it’s vital to understand the correct settings, so our meals taste great and don’t end up making us ill.
Here we’ll be discussing the ideal refrigerator temperature, the dangers of having the temp too high or too low, how to adjust and monitor the degrees, and tips for keeping food fresh. Let’s get started!
Refrigerator Temperature 101
Ever get into a fridge dial war with someone, where they are turning the dial down, and you are turning it up? They don’t like things that are too cold, but you love your Yoplaits coming out practically frozen. Guess what? You win. Because refrigerator temperature is very simple: colder is better.
Of course, different types of food require different temperatures. For example, meat should be kept at lower temperatures than fruits and vegetables.
The Ideal Refrigerator Temperature
Ideally, your fridge should be kept between 32°-39° Fahrenheit, which is the range most effective for preserving your food. Anything much colder will cause the food to freeze (ever pull out a bunch of frozen celery stalks?), and anything warmer will cause items to spoil faster than they normally would.
The Risks of Too High or Too Low Temperatures
You are taking risks whether the temperature of your fridge is too high or too low. If the temperature is too high (above 39° Fahrenheit), some foods have a greater chance of spoiling faster than usual. This can lead to foodborne illnesses, such as food poisoning.
On the other hand, if the temperature is below 32°, your food can freeze. This can lead to freezer burn, which can cause food to become dry and flavorless, or worse yet, give it an unpleasant flavor altogether.
Learn More: Do Fruit and Vegetable Drawers Work?
How to Monitor Refrigerator Temperature
The easiest way to monitor refrigerator temperature is to purchase a refrigerator thermometer. These are inexpensive and can be placed right inside the refrigerator.
Another option is to use a digital thermometer. These thermometers are slightly more expensive, but they are more accurate, easier to use, and equipped with alarms to alert you if the temperature gets too high or low.
How to Adjust the Temperature
Adjusting the fridge temperature varies depending on the type of refrigerator you have.
For example, if you have a mechanical refrigerator, you can adjust the temperature by turning the dial or knob on the inside back of the refrigerator. If you have a digital refrigerator, you can adjust the temperature by pressing the “+” or “-” buttons on the control panel.
Consult the User’s Manual for your fridge if you have difficulty locating where to make the adjustments.
Tips for Keeping Food Fresh
In addition to monitoring and adjusting the temperature, you can use a few other tips and tricks to keep your food fresh.
Make sure to store your food properly. Highly perishable foods, such as meats and dairy products, should be separated from fruits and vegetables and stored in airtight containers or bags. This measure will help keep your produce fresh longer and prevent cross-contamination.
Never place extremely hot food into your refrigerator, which will lower its overall temperature and possibly cause foodborne illnesses.
Common Foods That Don’t Need Refrigeration
Ever notice how restaurants keep ketchup, mustard, soy sauce and other condiments on tables and sidebars? That’s because most of these don’t need refrigeration. If you’re feeling wary, double-check the labels.
Several common foods, including potatoes, onions, garlic, and tomatoes, can be stored at room temperature. These foods can be stored in a cool, dry place, saving precious refrigerator space.
By following these tips and tricks, you can ensure that your food stays fresh and safe.
Colorado Springs Appliance Repair Pros
If your refrigerator is not maintaining the temperatures recommended in this post, then for safety's sake you should speak with a local expert in refrigerator service and repair. Call us to discuss your appliance maintenance and repair concerns, we offer free consultations on the phone.