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Refrigerator refresher course

Storage 101

Here is where to put your milk, veggies, meats, and more - so they won't spoil too soon.

Storage 101

The best place to store...

Meat, poultry: Put anywhere inside the fridge except the door, unless your deli bin has a temperature control. If so, set it on the coldest level and stash items there.

Fruit: Stick these in a drawer, separate from vegetables. Got a humidity-control vent? Keep it partly open — moisture speeds up spoiling.

Vegetables: These go in the crisper. If you have a humidity-control vent, close it. That way, damp air will be trapped inside and your veggies will absorb moisture, which helps them stay fresh longer.

Milk, eggs, yogurt: Put anyplace but the door — the temp there can get too warm (sour city).

Butter: Store in the door because it's warmer — your butter will spread more smoothly.

The best temperature to...

Prevent spoiling: Set the main section of the fridge to 37 degrees — and consider 40 and above a danger zone. The freezer should stay at zero or a little lower.

The best way to avoid...

Freezer burn: Your mission: Keep air away from food. Freezer bags will help, and they'll also prevent odors from circulating in your fridge. When using storage containers, fill them almost to the top — that will protect leftovers from burn while giving food enough room to expand.

Best cleaning tips Dust the condenser coils. These dust bunny destinations need cleaning every couple of months (more often if you have pets). Unplug the unit, snap off the grate, then use a coil-cleaning brush (at hardware stores) or your vacuum's crevice tool.

Use warm, soapy water. That and a sponge are all you need to clean inside. Household cleansing sprays can harm plastic parts.

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Reprinted with Permission of Hearst Communications, Inc. Originally Published: Refrigerator Refresher Course
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