Maintain Temperature
Resources > Tips > Maintain Temperature

Are you a Smart Kitchen™ Chef?

Try it FREE or take a TOUR to explore Smart Kitchen!
+ -

 

With Commercial Refrigeration, there are usually calibrated thermometers inset into the refrigerator doors for quick visual checks of the internal temperature, assuming that the thermometer is working properly.

Integral thermometers are rarer in home models and to make sure our foods are being stored at a safe temperature, we should compensate. One quick fix is to mount your own thermometer, easily visible in your refrigerator. Another would be to periodically check the refrigerator temperatures.

This cool check, if you will, makes a cool, educational chore for older children. If the temperatures are off and in The Food Danger Zone, you could lose all your expensive refrigerated food and perhaps worse, sicken your own family.

Don’t exceed your refrigerator’s cooling capacity. Putting lots of heat into it can raise its temperature for hours. For instance a gallon of hot stock placed in a refrigerator may take up to 10 hours to go below 40° F (4° C) and while cooling will raise the refrigerator’s temperature considerably, possibly putting all of your food into The Food Danger Zone.

Similarly, don’t leave the refrigerator door open for longer than necessary. Put the food in. Take the Food out. Close the door. All the time the door is open all of your perishable food is losing cold and gaining heat.

Many newer refrigerators, especially those with electronics, have an integrated thermometer. Don’t rely on the thermometer alone to determine if your unit is holding foods safely. The thermometer is more likely to go out than the heavier refrigeration equipment. Double checking the temperature with your hand, or better yet, your own thermometer, may save you an expensive service call.

Storage
The average U.S. family refrigerator has between 18 and 22 cubic feet (.50 and .63 cubic meters) of refrigerated storage space. Organization is the best way to maximize the space for optimal cooling, maximum storage and avoiding cross contamination.

Within the fridge some foods have optimal temperatures where they keep fresher longer. We won’t cover Mapping Your Refrigerator until the Advanced Level, but if you have mapped your refrigerator you can try to hold your foods in the spots with the Appropriate Refrigerated Temperatures for Various Foods, as long as you don’t increase your risks of cross contamination by doing so. In general the following tips should be applied to your refrigerator organization.