Tip: Your fridge isn’t just a closet for food—it’s a high-tech device that helps you store all of your favorite snacks, condiments, and meal-fixins in optimal conditions. Not only do refrigerators have different compartments that serve different purposes, they also have different temperature zones. This means that if you’re storing things in the wrong place, you’re not taking advantage of the modern miracle of refrigeration. And that leads to loss of food, loss of money, and less desire to cook at home. (Who wants to face down a crisper drawer of wilted greens? Talk about a bummer!)
Food needs to be maintained at cold temperatures to prevent the growth of bacteria and other microbes that make food spoil—and can make people sick. Refrigerators should be kept at 40 F or lower, and freezers should be set to 0 F. But even when the refrigerator is sufficiently cold, the temperature will vary in different parts of the fridge depending on how close they are to the cooling element. Master the art of the refrigerator, and your food will last longer.