Many refrigerators have a fresh drawer and a crisper drawer. The difference between the two can be confusing, and the result is often spoiled or damaged food. Although any refrigerator is designed to store foods at chilly temperatures, the fresh drawer keeps foods at the lowest temperatures possible without freezing them. The crisper drawer helps keep high-moisture foods fresh.
Place your fresh meats, poultry and fish, as well as cold cuts, in the fresh drawer. This compartment is designed to be the coolest section of the refrigerator. The main purpose of the fresh drawer is to maintain a temperature of 40 degrees or lower.
Eat any raw meats and fish within a day or two of purchase if you put them in the fresh drawer. Otherwise, store them in the freezer, which maintains an average temperature of zero degrees and is the only section of the refrigerator colder than the fresh drawer.
Protect your fruits and vegetables that thrive in low temperatures and high humidity, by keeping them in the crisper drawer. Wrap them in perforated plastic wrap or put them in plastic containers with holes first. This will allow air to circulate and draw the proper amount of moisture out of your produce to prevent it from evaporating too quickly.
Some fruits and vegetables shouldn't be stored together. They may adversely contribute to spoilage of one another because of the ripening gases they can emit.
Some crisper drawers can be adjusted to maintain the optimum atmosphere for the produce being stored. Many vegetables and some fruits, such as berries, lose water vapor and can become dried out and wilted.
Marc Gottlieb has been writing since 1997, when he was hired as a guest columnist for "Films in Review" magazine. He now serves as a full-time writer and contributor to several online publications. Gottlieb attended the School of Visual Arts in New York City.