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I am buying a refrigerator. Aside from the usual non-culinary criteria (size, style, energy efficiency, cost), are there particular features/designs that will affect the taste of my refrigerated cooking ingredients (meat, seafood, produce, dairy, eggs, etc)?

For example:

  • Since various ingredients are optimally preserved in different conditions (temperature/humidity/light), are there fridges that make it easier, e.g. by having different compartments?
  • Is it important to have different compartments to prevent ingredients from interacting with each other?

Are any of these a major consideration for you when shopping for a fridge?

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I think compartments are important. I want a couple of compartments that allow adjustment of air flow so I can increase or reduce humidity for storage of fresh produce, cheeses, etc, and especially a separate one for meats so I can be sure that any leakage from meat packages is contained and doesn't contaminate other foods. –  Carey Gregory Jun 3 at 3:51
    
@CareyGregory : speaking of containment / contamination, there are some fridges with shelves that have a slight lip to them -- so if you have a small spill it might be contained. Other fridges I've had in the past will leak everything to the shelves below them. –  Joe Jun 3 at 22:58

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

There are a number of other threads here with some bearing on this question, including:

What is the ideal fridge temperature

Can food spoil at cold temperatures?

How important is isolating food in a fridge?

Does having spoiling food in your fridge cause other food to spoil faster?

What we can glean from all of these is that temperature control is critical, and can vary between different models. You want a refrigerator that can reliably maintain a consistent temperature without wide temperature spikes, and you probably want a relatively low differential between different parts of the box (so that, for instance, items in the bottom compartment don't freeze while items on the top shelf spoil). Different compartments can help in isolating foods from one another, but they would be especially valuable if their temperature and humidity could can be independently adjusted to allow for minute control.

Also, keeping your fridge clean is important, so that mold, bacteria, and so on can't collect and spoil your fresh new produce; thus you want a model that can be readily disassembled and scrubbed. Easily removable shelves, compartments, and so on would be beneficial, and they should be made from easy-to-clean plastics or glass with minimal texture. At the same time, these need to be sturdy and adjustable, so that you can thaw that 20-pound turkey without having to sacrifice too much other space or breaking a shelf.

Speaking as not just a chef, but as a home bartender, I also want adjustable space inside the door(s) so that I can store a variety of differently-sized bottles upright. But that's more for convenience and efficient storage than it is about taste or quality.

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Great insightful answer! Thank you. –  Franco Jun 5 at 4:17

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