Is Your Refrigerator Costing You Thousands Every Year?

How the Right Refrigerator Can Reduce Wasteful Food Spoilage

Your refrigerator could be a friend or foe in the kitchen, depending on the quality of food preservation it provides. Choose the right one, and you’ll cut back on wasteful food spoilage and needless trips to the grocery store.

Here’s how to cool down on the unnecessary surplus of food costs.

Spoiled Food Spoils Your Budget  

American families throw away about 25 percent of the food and beverages they buy. That’s up to $2,275 each year, wasted, for the average family of four. On a macro scale, that’s 40 percent of food (or $165 billion) in the United States, uneaten.

Fresh fruits and vegetables account for the largest waste, followed closely by dairy, and proteins like meat, poultry and fish. The primary causes of food spoilage are poor refrigeration storage, low interior visibility to see all contents available to eat, partially used ingredients and misjudged food needs.

The Cold Facts: How to Keep Food Fresh, Longer

Refrigeration has been a part of our culture for 125 years or more, and became essential in American kitchens before the end of World War II. However, most Americans today still are unaware of what it takes to keep foods safe in the fridge, nor how to prolong storage life.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics found that most consumers do not understand the consequences of storing foods at the wrong temperature. And, only 4 in 10 are aware that eating food stored higher than 40°F will increase the likelihood of foodborne illness.

Food preservation is a science of the proper storage environment. The key to how long food will last is directly related to the cooling performance of your refrigerator. Storing food at 40°F or below will delay bacterial growth and freezing below 32°F places bacteria in a dormant state, inhibiting growth.

Digital controls on Marvel Professional built-in refrigerators offer precise temperature stability within one degree or less.

Let’s take a look at one of the most delicate items to store: fruit. Refrigeration is proven to control the ripening process. For example, fruits that ripen on the plant need to be preserved after picking to delay deterioration. These include strawberries, grapes, cherries, apples, blueberries, raspberries, tangerines, oranges, limes and blackberries.

Most fruits that continue to ripen after harvest can be stored at room temperature until they reach peak ripeness, then placed in the refrigerator to preserve it and prevent early spoilage. These kinds of fruits are avocados, pears, plum and tomatoes. Cut fruit always requires refrigeration, as it exposes more of the fruit to microbes and bacterial contamination, accelerating the ripening process.  

Buyer Beware: Not All Refrigerators Cool the Same

Stay clear of refrigerators with fluctuating temperature swings and stratified cooling within the compartment. This kind of erratic cooling environment can release moisture, which leads to mold and microbe growth and inevitably premature spoilage.

And, setting the control to 40°F doesn’t necessarily mean the compartment is 40°F throughout. In competitive product testing conducted by Marvel Refrigeration, certain models from other brands were unable to maintain a consistent compartment temperature like Marvel products can. In some cases, the top shelf area was 12°F warmer than the bottom shelf, an unstable storage environment that is not ideal for perishables.

Considered a premium refrigeration option, Marvel’s line of full-size and undercounter refrigerators rapidly cool down food to preservation temperature and maintain an even temperature and stable environment. This minimizes the moisture evaporation that can lead to mold growth and degraded food quality. Some models include a moisture-control evaporator to remove excess humidity and ion air purifier to eliminate airborne bacteria, mold spores and odors.

Ion air purifiers, like this filterless one from Marvel Professional, remove airborne bacteria, mold spores and odors that can cause food to decay in your fridge.

Look for Models with Specialty Storage Bins for Specific Foods

Some full size refrigerator brands like Marvel Refrigeration offer dedicated storage such as dairy compartments, deli drawers for meats and cheeses and humidity-adjustable drawers for vegetables and fruit.

More than just a convenient feature, these specialized compartments are engineered to provide the ideal environment for specific food items, ultimately prolonging shelf life.

MARVEL Professional 36" French Door Refrigerator with Bottom Freezer crisper controls | AMPROFD23

This Marvel model offers 12 temperature settings to customize the food storage environment to the ideal temperature for serving and maintaining freshness.

The Importance of Good Lighting

Poor interior visibility is also a big factor in food spoilage. Simply by being able to see all your food options, you can prioritize the stored food you eat by its expiration date and expected shelf life.

We’ve all probably experienced this personally on more than one occasion, when leftovers are hiding in a dark corner and forgotten about until a horrific rotting smell alerts you of their presence. Well-distributed refrigeration lighting helps you determine what’s there and also what needs to be eaten sooner than later.

Consider models with well-dispersed bright white LED lighting that fill the interior with light from corner to corner, leaving no area overlooked.

Buying a New Refrigerator? Look For These Qualities.

When it comes time to replace your full size refrigerator, be sure to look at these factors to know you’re choosing a model that will preserve your food longer and prevent wasteful food loss from early spoilage.

  • Dynamic Cooling Technology or forced air cooling with precise temperature control
  • Specific compartments for dedicated food storage (dairy, meats and cheese, produce)
  • Ion air purifier
  • Bright LED lighting
  • ENERGY STAR® rating a plus, the indicator of energy-efficient performance

There are also plenty of undercounter options to expand your food preservation capabilities in the kitchen, like refrigerator drawers, beverage centers, all refrigerators, freezers and other built-in appliances that tuck in flush with your lower kitchen cabinets.

Invest in a top-performing refrigerator, and you’ll find it pays out in dividends over the years by reducing grocery bills and energy costs. After all, our parents were right: Food is meant to be eaten, not wasted. Especially when it hits our pocketbooks.

Recommended Products to Extend Food Shelf Life:

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5 Convenient Back to School Tips for Healthy Breakfast, Lunch and Snacks

Getting ready for back to school?

Stay ahead of the hectic school year with these helpful tips to save you time and keep your children on their A game with lunches to go, a healthy snack station, hydrating drinks, breakfast nutrition and energy for after school sports.  Read all five tips below!

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See our back to school refrigeration solutions:

Why Chilled Cookie Dough is Better

chocolatecookie-still-articleLargeThe Science Behind Why Chilled Cookie Dough Bakes (and Tastes) Better

INCLUDES CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE RECIPE!

Experience tells us here at Marvel Premium Refrigeration that chilling your cookie dough yields far better results than the alternative.  However, we investigated further to see what the research says, and food labs all across America support this very hypothesis.

J. Kenji López-Alt of the James Beard Award-nominated column The Food Lab, conducted a cookie experiment to test actual results of baking room temperature dough versus chilled dough.  He agrees chilled dough outperforms:

“I like the flexibility that being able to cook cookie dough straight from the fridge lends you, so my recipe is designed to make cookies from dough that starts at 40°F. I found that baking in a 325°F oven until the edges are nice and toasty brown will leave you with a cookie that’s still plenty soft and chewy in the center.”

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PJ Hamel of King Arthur Flour noted in her cookie experiment that chilled dough controls spreading, concentrates flavor and changes texture.  Why?

Chilling cookie dough for 30 minutes make a big difference. As the cookies bake, the fat in the chilled cookie dough takes longer to melt than room-temperature fat. And the longer the fat remains solid, the less cookies spread.

In addition, the sugar in the dough gradually absorbs liquid. If you bake the dough immediately, before sugar has a chance to absorb much liquid, that liquid remains “free” in the dough, and promotes spread.

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Kathleen Purvis’ research for The Telegraph found additional reasons, concluding that refrigerated dough improves cookie flavor. She recommends refrigerating for more than a day to allow time for the flavors to develop.

The difference starts with the liquid in the egg, which hydrates the starch in flour. Giving the flour more time to absorb that liquid makes the dough firmer, but it also lets enzymes in the flour and the egg yolk break down carbohydrates into the simple sugars fructose and glucose. Separately, they taste sweeter and they caramelize faster when baked.

In her baking experiment, blogger Nicky Corbishley made 80 cookies of various deviations from her control batch recipe and determined the batch chilled overnight was by far her favorite.

When you refrigerate your cookie dough, it goes a lot firmer, enabling you to mould the cookie dough into a ball in your hands.  If you don’t refrigerate, you’re dealing with a sloppy batch of cookie dough.

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After all this talk about the finer points of cookies, you’re probably ready to make a batch of your own!  We shared this popular chocolate cookie recipe from the New York Times for you to try.

(P.S. Don’t forget to refrigerate the dough overnight for best results!)

 

Because you can never have too much chilled cookie dough, consider these high-capacity refrigeration options.

6 Ways to Store Perishables

MARVEL Professional 36" French Door Refrigerator with Bottom Freezer Open | AMPROFD23

Marvel Refrigeration Guide: How to Store Perishables for Peak Freshness

1. ROTATION: Before you make your shopping trip, bring foods hiding in the back of the fridge to the front.  Now, you’ll avoid wasting forgotten food and won’t buy duplicates of an item you already have in stock. 

2. SHELVES: Adjust shelves to accommodate for the height of food to best allow cold air to circulate. Marvel refrigerator shelves are designed to provide unmatched storage capacity and flexibility.

3. PRODUCE: Avoid washing produce before refrigeration, because the dampness can incite mold and rot.  Store produce more apt to dry out in plastic bags with perforation or an open seal.  This maintains a moist environment while still allowing air to circulate.

4. MEAT: Store meat and seafood on the bottom shelf to prevent drips from contaminating other food.  Retain all fresh meat products in their original store packaging. Every time you re-wrap, it exposes the food to harmful bacteria.  Plus, it prevents raw juices from contaminating other food.  Avoid slicing food until you are ready to consumer it, unless you intend to freeze the remainder.  Chopped items spoil faster than whole.

5. DAIRY: Leave dairy in the original container.  Store leftover dairy products like cottage cheese, yogurt, sour cream, milk or cream in a pitcher or bowl, tightly covered with loose plastic.  Keep hard cheeses in their original store wrapping until use, then wrap in wax paper, foil or loose plastic.

6. LEFTOVERS: Refrigerate within 2 hours of cooking.  There’s no need to wait for food to cool before storing–Marvel refrigerators can handle it.  Storing leftovers in airtight, leak-proof, clear containers helps remind you of what needs to be consumed.