When it comes to your refrigerator, the freezer has a pretty important role. Aside from keeping your ice cream cold, the freezer is where you store leftovers and your favorite fruits and vegetables so they’re always in season.
How you store your favorite items also makes a big difference when it comes to freshness and flavor. So we asked our Food Preservation Scientist Carolina Biotti for some simple tips to help you make the most of your freezer space.
Start by creating a plan for organization.
Keep the food that has been in the freezer the longest up front to build a first-in first-out mentality. This allows you to use your items faster so they are less likely to go to waste.
When storing new items in the freezer, it is best to place them near the back with some open space around them. This enables air to circulate freely around the item, cooling it faster and more evenly.
To freeze meat, it is important to make sure it is adequately sealed. Air tight and vacuum sealed packaging will help minimize freezer burn, which can leave your food tasting less flavorful.
When it comes to freezing vegetables, it is best to blanch green vegetables before your freeze them. Blanching will help the vegetables to keep their color, flavor and nutrients when frozen.
Even fruits and vegetables have a shelf life. Fruits (except citrus) can be stored for 8 to 12 months. Citrus fruits and their juices can be stored for 4 to 6 months. Vegetables can also be stored for 8 to 12 months.
Another quick tip is to clearly label each package with the date. This will help you identify which items need to be used and by when.
The refrigerator is one of the most used appliances in the kitchen making it one of the hardest to keep organized. So we asked our home science expert Julia Burke to provide a few tips to help you get the most out of your refrigerator.
Put your condiments or your less frequently used items towards the outside, and build layers as you move in. This will allow you to still see your items in the back but free up more space for more frequently used items.
Sort by Size
Try moving some shelves around to create small, medium and tall spaces. This will allow you to store items like casserole dishes without wasting space above the item. Arranging by size also helps guide the rest of the family and visitors on where to store items.
You are more likely to eat and use the items in your refrigerator that are within your line of sight. So put items that are perishable and those you’d like to use first, front and center. That way perishable items get used faster, reducing waste and freeing up space.
Convection cooking can be intimidating for even the most seasoned cook. Our Institute of Home Science expert Anna Carl gives us the basics so you can get the most out of your oven.
Convection cooking differs from a traditional oven because of the addition of a fan. Traditional ovens use a heating element to heat the entire cavity. Convection cooking adds a fan to evenly circulate air throughout the oven cavity. This often leads to more even heating throughout the cavity.
Because the fan evenly distributes heat throughout the oven, convection cooking is ideal for multi-rack cooking. The fan allows air to circulate around the racks so that all racks experience a similar temperature. In a traditional oven, the rack closest to the heat source would have the highest temperature, with the rack furthest away having the lowest.
Many ovens have both conventional and convection modes. Convection is best used when you would like a golden brown and crispy coating. It is great for roasts, pies, and toasting. Convection also shines in baking. The even heating of convection makes it possible to utilize 3 racks in your oven cavity, evenly baking cookies and pastries.
Set your timer 10 to 15 minutes earlier. Because of the more even heating, some foods can cook faster.
Reduce your oven temperature by 25 degrees. Most recipes are written with traditional baking in mind.
Allow at least 2 inches above, below and around your items. This will allow adequate space for air to circulate allowing more even cooking.