Refrigerate It Right: No More Frozen Produce in the Fridge

Finding a head of frozen lettuce or a pint of half frozen berries in the refrigerator is an unwelcome surprise. A frozen head of lettuce is not going to work in a salad. While frozen fruit may be used in smoothies or other concoctions, if you were counting of fresh fruit, you're out of luck.

Understanding how your refrigerator works and the micro-climates within the unit will help you properly place your produce for maximum shelf life.

Proper Temperature
Check to be sure that the temperature of the refrigerator is set properly. Check your manufacturer's recommendation, but most refrigerators should be set between 36 and 38 degrees. If your refrigerator cannot be set to a specific temperature, you may want to invest in a refrigerator thermometer since it's hard to say what a setting of  "2" or "C" means temperature-wise. Leave the thermometer in the refrigerator overnight and check it first thing in the morning since the temperature will fluctuate during the day as the unit is opened and closed.

Proper Placement
The frozen produce problem may be a result of where the produce was placed within the refrigerator. Fruits and vegetables are sensitive to cold air and are prone to freezing because of their high water content. Leafy vegetables are especially sensitive.

While some newer refrigerators have separate cooling mechanisms for the refrigerator and the freezer, most cool by funneling air from the freezer into an opening near the top rear of the refrigerator area. If you place fruits and vegetables near this outlet, you are blowing that cold air on your produce. Because cold air sinks, the area at the back of the fridge, and especially the back of the bottom shelf, can become very cold.

By placing produce in a crisper drawer, you will avoid the very cold air. Another option, if the crisper drawer is full, is to place your produce on a shelf but near the front of the fridge.