What to Keep in the Door of Your Refrigerator

What to Keep in the Door of Your Refrigerator
Photo: Africa Studio, Shutterstock

Being alive is very complicated, and nothing is as easy as it seems. Think about dishwashers, for instance. Did you know they themselves have to be washed, even though they are constantly filling themselves with hot and soapy water? Seems redundant, but it’s true. (Who will wash the dishwasher? You will.) Refrigerators are likewise more involved than they initially appear. They’re not just big, uniformly cold boxes — oh, no, that would be too easy, and thermodynamics will not abide. Instead, they vary in temperature from spot to spot, with the door being the warmest region.

This actually makes sense, if you think about the door’s position: it’s on the outside of the fridge. Things in the door stay cold, but not as cold as they would in the back or bottom of the fridge. The door also undergoes the most significant temperature fluctuations each time you open the door. This means that your fridge door is best suited for holding things that aren’t incredibly perishable. Though there may be a little spot for eggs, you should ignore it (unless you are in Europe, in which case you can keep them on the counter as, unlike American eggs, they haven’t had the cuticle blasted off their shells).

Condiments, pickles, and syrups can all sit in the door without issue, as can canned or bottled beverages. Some people caution against keeping butter in the fridge door, but high-fat items are less prone to spoilage. I keep sticks of butter at room-temp without issue, so I think a few sticks will be fine in the fridge door, which is also where I keep my bacon grease. If you go through butter at an extremely slow rate, maybe move it to the top shelf of the refrigerator, but most butter — or vegan butter substitute — consumers will be fine keeping theirs in the door. But lower fat dairy products, like milk and yogurt? Keep them on the middle or bottom shelf, along with the eggs.

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