Our refrigerators are constantly at work keeping our food cold and safe to eat, but we rarely give them much love back. To keep your refrigerator functioning optimally, consider these seven tips, which can also help you save money on your electricity bill and avoid unexpected repair costs.
For some things, I’d recommend not just letting it cool, but actually expediting cooling. When I cook stocks, stews and other things that will retain a lot of heat, I’ll empty my ice maker into the sink, fill with water, and put the pot in it to cool faster (actually, I vacuum seal portions, then immerse the bags, but I’m probably unusual in that respect). I believe this is SOP for restaurants with stock, which can actually take long enough to cool that nasties can grow in it even if it goes from stove to fridge, with or without “room temperature” cooling in between…
The FDA recommends you don’t let food sit out any longer than two hours or so.
There’s nothing like cracking a cold beer on a hot summer day, but what if your six-pack isn’t chilled? You’ve got to find a way to get those brews frosty, lest you face the horror of a lukewarm libation. That’s why we’re trying a couple methods to cool your beer quickly.
Part of what is needed for the towel (though it may need more time too) is air circulation.
If the air cannot move around the towel, it won’t be able to chill the towel and contents of the can. The can keeps the towel warm enough to stay floppy. It is similar to the non-electric freezers that can get cold enough to freeze water in the middle of summer heat. Short summary, you take a sealed vessel to hold whatever needs to be chilled/frozen, surround it with a porous material that can hold moisture (soil works well), then place all that in a container that can allow the air move freely over most of the surface. Provided the moisture remains, all that heat will get sucked out by the water.
Why would adding salt to the ice bath accelerate cooling of the beer?
Freezing water is around 0° C, but freezing salt-water can go as low as -21° C. In early experiments, Gabriel Fahrenheit was able to get freezing salt water down to about -18 C, or what he called 0° F.
Side note: Fahrenheit soon realized that freezing salt water and blood made lousy reference points (cough Celsius cough) and ended up using freezing and boiling water.
Butter at room/ambient temperature really depends on what that temperature is. Today, my place was above 25 C/77 F – butter left on the counter would not be spreadable, it would be soup.
Ever now and then, I see butter bells in the local thrift stores. It’s an interesting idea to have spreadable butter, cooling the butter by submerging it upside down in water. But I’ve heard about mixed results – the butter falling into the water, and most are not translucent so you don’t know until you lift the lid. Also, butter bells are still susceptible to melting butter if the temperature gets high enough.
You could set some butter out ahead of time, or grate it.
Vegetables do inherently warrant some sense of urgency. They are fresh ingredients and only have so much time to live after harvest. However, there are many factors that affect a vegetable’s life, from the time you get it into your kitchen to the time you prepare it. You can extend its shelf life longer than you think. The right storage conditions play a big role, but there are other ways that you can preserve produce longer, and make the most out of your produce purchases.
If you haven’t been following Tomatogate—my name for the minor controversy I caused with two previous articles that challenged the commonly held belief that refrigeration is never an acceptable way to store tomatoes—then you may not know just how strongly people feel about the topic.
There is a fair chance that if you’re reading this post, your fridge—the most-used and largest appliance in your house—is screwing you. The refrigerator is as potent a symbol of American consumerist culture as you’re likely to find, which is to say, it only makes sense if you don’t really look at it very hard. It is, for many people, a waste of space, a waste of money, a drain on the environment, and an enabler of obesity.
…Produce like onions, potatoes, and garlic actively mold faster in the fridge than out of the fridge. Coffee’s flavor gets all screwed up. Bread’s texture gets all screwed up. Hell, even eggs don’t need to be refrigerated, provided you’re buying decent eggs, which, buy decent eggs. There, I just saved you a whole shelf.