by Kate Heyhoe
Fresh meat and poultry can last up to three days longer if stored at 31 degrees F. (The spoilage rate slows down, but without solid freezing.) My fridge has a programmable bin with this setting, but you can lower a regular bin’s temperature by tossing in a freezer pack. By the way, fish markets tend to have loads of freezer packs; next time you shop at one, ask them for a pack or two for keeping the fish cool on your way home (and in your fridge). Wash the pack well with a little bleach in the water to remove any odors, and re-use it whenever you need to chill out, or chill in.
8 Green Ways to Use a Freezer Pack
Freezer packs thaw very slowly, especially if placed in an already cool environment. Keep some handy in your freezer, then use them:
- In a bowl instead of ice when shocking vegetables in “ice water”
- In the refrigerator meat bin (a lower temperature can extend freshness up to 3 days)
- To take up vacant fridge or freezer space (the motor won’t need to work so hard)
- To keep groceries chilled in an ice chest (less need to rush home, so you can do more errands while you’re out; plus perishables will last longer if kept consistently cold)
- For chilled drinks on patios and at barbecues (with fewer trips indoors, the house and fridge both stay cooler)
- To keep fish at its peak of freshness, even in the fridge (ever wonder why fish markets keep fish on ice?)
- Under your milk carton (dairy products prefer 34 degrees F., slightly cooler than most fridges, which should run between 35 and 38 degrees to prevent freezing more sensitive items).
Find more tips to shrink your cookprint in Kate Heyhoe’s book Cooking Green
- Raw and order: How to organize your refrigerator (blogs.consumerreports.org)
- Is an iced up freezer dangerous? (ask.metafilter.com)
- Reminder: Clear Your Freezer Clutter For Fall Leftovers (thekitchn.com)