Engineers solve problems. They create solutions, tools and technologies to make our lives easier and healthier and safer. Refrigerators can now keep food fresh for weeks, stove tops use magnets to heat food without any flames and freeze-dried foods can keep for years.

Engineers and scientists will be at the forefront of problems like mass food production, world hunger, and clean water solutions around the world.

Fridge Storage Tips – In the Fridge

Keep Cold Foods Cold: How cold? Ice cold! Cold food should be kept at 38°F to preserve freshness and to stunt any growing bacteria.

Keep Hot Foods Hot: Hot food needs to be kept above 140°F to be delicious and stop bacteria from growing.

Airtight: Use reusable, sealable containers to pack your leftovers airtight in the fridge. Leftovers can last about three days in the fridge after cooking if stored properly.

Double Wrap and Label: When you freeze fresh or cooked foods, remember to double wrap them tightly with plastic wrap or pack them in heavy zip-lock freezer bags to preserve the freshness. Next, use masking tape and a permanent marker to label and date the food so you can identify it and know how long it has been in the freezer.

Raw Meat and Seafood: Keep raw meat and seafood in the crisper at the bottom of the fridge. The bottom of your fridge is the coldest spot and animal proteins should be kept very cold to stay fresh and keep bacterial growth to a minimum. The drawer space will also protect from cross-contamination.

Fruits and Veggies: Keep fresh fruits and vegetables in a separate crisper drawer, next to or above the meat drawer.

Up Above: Cooked foods, all drinks, and condiments should be kept above raw meats and seafood.

Fridge Maintenance: Make sure there are no food items blocking the cooling fan inside of your fridge, and wipe down your fridge once a month with a mix of hot soapy water.

Cool Down: food completely before placing it in the fridge or freezer. Hot or warm foods will increase the temperature in your fridge and will warm surrounding foods. Your fridge will also use more of energy to maintain the cold temperature.

In the Pantry

Fresh and Clean: Keep your pantry and dry storage areas clean. Keep an eye out for old, expired and open foods. Also make sure there are no pests (mice, rates, bugs) or pest waste around.

Sealed and Labeled: Make sure that dry foods are kept in airtight containers that are labeled and dated.

Spices and Herbs: Check your spices for freshness. Bottled herbs and spices lose flavor and freshness one year after opening. Most people keep bottled herbs and spices forever. If you have not used the herb or spice within one year, toss it and buy a new one.

Cleaning Supplies: Keep cleaning supplies separate from your food and in a safe place away from small children and pets.

In the Lunchbox

Chill Out: When packing a lunch, use a frozen juice box or bottled water as an ice pack to keep lunches fresh. Your food will stay cool and fresh, and you will have an ice-cold drink at lunchtime.

Say NO to Soggy Sandwiches: When making a sandwich, pack moist items like lunchmeat, tuna and chicken salad, lettuce, tomato, mayo, and mustard separately from the dry bread. All you have to do is assemble the sandwich at your lunch table for a fresh experience. 

Bring the Heat: Incorporate soups, chili and casseroles into your weekly menu. If you do not have access to a microwave, invest in a small thermos to keep your hot foods hot.

The Cookie Crumbles: Pack chips, pretzels, cookies, crisps and delicate items in small reusable containers. Place hard food items at the bottom of the bag and soft items at the top. It’s like Tetris, but with food.

To-Go All the Way: When you do eat out or get delivery, save and reuse the extra condiments that come with your meal. Foods served in individual portions and in packet form, like ketchup, mustard, mayo, BBQ sauce, jelly, syrup, butter, and dressing are always being chucked into the wastebasket. Pop these in your lunch bag along with extra napkins, straws and utensils. This saves money, time and waste. It’s not called a ketchup pack-it for nothing.