Refrigerators are one of the most treasured inventions of the last century. The ability to store and keep your food fresh for days is unparalleled, even to this day. Such is the influence of these wonderful machines that we can’t imagine our life without them.
Refrigerators had also come a long way since their origin back in 1834. From “massive iron ice-boxes” to modern-day boxy freezers loaded with the latest technology, Refrigerators have indeed seen their share of evolution.
Although manufacturers try their best to provide an ideal setting for consumers, every household has different needs. So, whether it’s your next house party or that long vacation you’ve been planning, for every occasion, you need to tweak the temperature range of your refrigerator to get the best out of them.
While the “Ideal” refrigerator temperature can vary from person to person. It is necessary for you to learn the basic functioning of refrigerators and how they affect your food’s taste and quality.
Being the experts, we have pointed out the essential aspects behind finding your ideal refrigerator temperature and what are considerations that you need to take.
- 1 The Optimum temperature for a fridge?
- 2 How temperature affects my food?
- 3 The Best Place to Store in your Fridge
- 4 Other Factors
- 5 FAQs
- 6 Conclusion
The Optimum temperature for a fridge?
Within Indian Subtropical conditions, the recommended refrigerator temperature range is between 320F – 400F. The average Indian households typically have various pickles, chutneys, etc. This temperature setting avoids any kind of crystal formation or frozen particles in the food.
The automated settings of a typical refrigerator will be set between these temperatures. However, there are scenarios where, due to some technical glitches or irregularities, the average temperature of a fridge is modified. To avoid this, you should keep a check on the temperature settings provided by manufacturers.
Talking about the temperature settings, most modern-day refrigerators are equipped with a manual or digital setting that lets you change the temperature accordingly. These manuals also include different types of modes, which can be manufacturer-specific.
In case the temperature setting on your refrigerator is too intricate, you can also use an appliance refrigerator thermometer. To get started, place an appliance thermometer in the middle of the area you’d like to test. This can be the top shelf, the vegetable basket, or bottle trays. Close the refrigerator door and wait a couple of hours for an accurate read. If you notice any change in the preset temperature, adjust the controls accordingly.
To give you an overview, here are the refrigerator temperature recommendations that you should follow:
- Main Compartment (Veggies, Dairy Products, Breads): between 32°F to 40°F.
- Freezer Section: anywhere close to -0.4°F.
- Bottle Chiller/Quick freezer compartment: Between 20°F to 32oF.
How temperature affects my food?
Temperature is a significant factor in determining the quality and longevity of your food item. If your food is handled correctly and kept in a freezer at 0 °F, it will be safe. Freezing keeps food preserved by slowing down the movement of molecules, causing bacteria to enter a dormant stage.
Once dissolved, these bacteria can repeatedly become productive and increase exponentially, leading to some kind of foodborne illness. Bacteria on these foods will grow at the same rate as they would on fresh food.
A minimum temperature of 40 °F should be maintained in the refrigerator. Although some top refrigerators in the market have smart sensors that automatically adjust to the temperature requirements of a particular food item.
In contrast to freezer storage, fragile foods are easily spoiled in the refrigerator. Bacteria will make themselves known in a variety of ways. The food may develop an unusual odor, color, to manage the temperature within ideally or become sticky or slimy. Molds may also grow and become visible if they are not treated for an extended period.
Bacteria capable of causing foodborne illness either don’t grow or grow very slowly at refrigerator temperatures. Again, an appliance thermometer should always be used to verify that the temperature of the unit is correct.
Safe food-handling methods act as a good defense against any kind of foodborne illness because we know how diverse temperatures affect the increase of bacteria in our food. We can defend ourselves and our families from these illnesses by adequate handling, cooking, and storing foods at safe temperatures.
The Best Place to Store in your Fridge
The order in which you decide to place your food item is also significant as different parts of your refrigerator offer another type of cooling. According to research, the back and the top section of the fridge are considered the coolest, whereas the middle and door compartment is often the most balanced.
To have a more in-depth look of what-goes-where, check out the table below:
Top and middle shelf
Items such as packaged foods, such as dairy products, instant-meals, and canned foods, cooked vegetables, and prepared meats, should all be covered or kept in sealed containers to prevent contamination. These foods are usually stored at the top -shelf of the refrigerator away from raw dairy foods and meat so that bacteria cannot move from the raw food to the cooked food.
The bottom half should be used to store anything unprepared, like uncooked meat, poultry products, and fish covered from top to stop them from touching or dripping onto other foods. One thing to note that raw meats should always be deposited at the bottom of your refrigerator to prevent any kind of cross-contamination. Ensure that each item is appropriately wrapped or in a container to not come in contact with other the remaining items.
Before storing fruit or vegetables, wash them thoroughly with water. For salads and herbs, try wrapping them in a damp paper towel before storing to prevent them from drying out and to keep them fresher for longer.
There are many other factors that can decide the freshness of your food items, which in turn helps you find your “Ideal” refrigerator temperatures. From food placement to checking eye on use-by dates, here are some noteworthy things:
- Any food that has passed its “expiration date” should not be consumed at any cost. Harmful bacteria do have a chance to grow and make the food dangerous to health during this period, which can cause you some severe illness in the long run.
- It is a scientific fact that air needs to circulate the food. Make sure that the refrigerator is never jam-packed with food items. Whilst filling that last piece of food into the fridge may seem an excellent idea at the time, but you are putting yourself under danger of blocking the cooling unit that will chill your food. Also, there is a high chance that the door of the fridge could not be properly closed, leaving the food that is stored in it messy and unhealthy to eat the following morning!
- Whenever you place something in the trays, the new veggies and leftovers should always be placed behind the old ones. This is a trick used by commercial kitchens to maximize the cooling of a refrigerator.
- If you are planning a house party, then it is ideal to amp up the temperature but never set it one the maximum setting available. As it can damage other food products lying in the middle and bottom shelf
- If your fridge temperatures are higher than usual, it can be the result of overloading. The blocking of cooling units or the thermostat is set too high can also be the alternative reasons. If your fridge does not have a built-in thermometer, we highly recommend that you invest in a fridge thermometer to monitor the temperature. Again, remember that the ideal temperature is- 0-5°c.
What to do when a Refrigerator water leak inside?
A – Water Leaking in refrigerators is a very usual problem. Mostly, the cause of this is a blocked drain due to ice or food debris in the freezer on top. You can use any sharp thing to clear the waste and stop the water leaking inside.
Why is Refrigerator not cooling but the freezer is fine?
A – There can be multiple reasons why your refrigerator is not cooling. But most commonly, it’s the defrost system that has been malfunctioning. If you notice the freezer is working fine, but the refrigerator is warm, the evaporator motor might have been damaged. This can be due to electricity fluctuation or physical damage.
Will Food Spoil at Refrigerator temperature at 50 degrees?
A – Yes, some products will undoubtedly get spoiled if stored in the Refrigerator temperature at 50 degrees. For instance, if dairy products are stored at this temperature, they will be discarded and smelly within 2 hours. Other products like vegetables and fruits might survive for a more extended period.
How to Fix Refrigerator Problems?
A – You can fix some basic refrigerator problems such as water leaking (mentioned above) and shelf replacements. But when it comes to repairing any significant problems like repairing and changing parts, you should depend on the experts instead.
The refrigerator has become a significant part of our lives, and we can’t deny that we are dependent on it. But understanding how we can get the best out of it seems even more crucial in this era. Where packaged food controls our life, it is normal to question what temperature refrigerator should be ideal for you?
We tried to answer this question thoroughly by diving deep into the mechanics of a fridge temperature and how it impacts your food. While some of the best refrigerators available in the market do this all by themselves, most of the fridges still lack the technology to ideally manage the temperature within. And to avoid any kind of quality-loss in your food, we mentioned all the necessary steps and precautions you need to take.