In refrigeration, humidity produces condensation, which represents an ideal environment for the reproduction of bacteria and spores. Therefore, regulating humidity is essential to ensure the optimum conservation of food.
Condensation occurs when air or hot food cools, and in a refrigerator, any condensation can accelerate the deterioration of foods, which may lead to changes in texture, appearance and taste. For this reason, overcoming issues with humidity becomes a priority when it comes to keeping food in a refrigerator.
All foods, including those we consider dry like flour, have a certain percentage of moisture, which is higher in fruits and vegetables, (some varieties can reach up to 90 percent water content.)
To preserve food for as long as possible, its water content must be ascertained in advance for ideal refrigeration conditions.
Moisture causes condensation, which forms on surfaces with different temperatures, and it is this condensation that allows the reproduction of pathogens in food, which is why regulating humidity in the refrigerator is a matter of food safety.
Humidity in a refrigerator can take the form of condensation, but also of ice or frost, and occurs when hot foods are put into the cold indoor environment or when doors do not seal properly or are left open.
In containers, condensation occurs when they are not well sealed and food is exposed to sudden changes in temperature.
In addition, moisture not only affects food, it can also cause mold or corrosion on the interior surfaces of the refrigerator, affecting its operation and shortening its shelf life.
How can I avoid moisture in my refrigerator?
In order to avoid moisture in a refrigerated environment, you can follow these tips:
- Take care that the doors are well closed and avoid keeping them open for long periods or opening them very frequently.
- Do not overstock the inside of the refrigerator. Overstocking will impede circulation of air that maintains a uniform temperature throughout the interior.
- Use tightly closed containers and allow them to cool to room temperature before storage.
- Regulate the interior temperature according to the climate so that it stays around 41⁰F.
- Periodically clean refrigerator, including condenser coils.
- Perform routine maintenance on refrigeration equipment, including replacement of the door gaskets so that hot air does not get inside.
Refrigeration of food is a sensitive issue since the consumption of food contaminated by bacteria or spores can cause serious health problems.