Hits and Tips from Chef Ingrid

Chef Ingrid from Staycold International answers a few questions and shares some helpful kitchen hints and tips with us regarding beverage coolers and freezers.

Does a cooler work better full or empty?

A cooler works best at about ¾ capasity. This allows the unit to operate at maximum efficiency. Air circulation is unhindered, free moving and any heat is being effectively removed from the produce/air in the fridge.

How should I organize my beverage cooler?

Organize your beverage cooler / freezer properly and don’t over-pack the beverage cooler, underbar and freezer. Your cooler, underbar and/ or freezer requires air circulation to keep content cold.

What temperature should I set my beverage cooler at?

The perfect serve temperature for beverages is below 5℃. This is the preferred temperature that beverage manufacturers want their product served at as well as being the temperature below which bacterial growth is slowed and product quality can be maintained. A temperature below 2℃ could cause freezing in the fridge, which might lead to product spoilage. This will also result is a harder-working fridge that wastes a lot of energy. The Staycold beverage cooler and underbar is factory set at a 2⁰C set point which means the average product temperature will be about 3.5℃.

Should I adjust the temperature?

No, you should always try and maintain a steady temperature. A beverage cooler that’s too cold wastes energy and one that is too warm can make the products you are trying to sell unattractive to customers. A common misconception is that by setting a fridge to a lower temperature, speeds up the cooling process….. this is not the case – most fridges can only extract heat at a set rate regardless of the temperature set point.

Always ensure that the door(s) is kept closed as much as possible, the longer a cooler door remains open, the more your products warm up and the harder the unit will have to work to get it back down to that perfect serve temperature.

How do I prevent freezer burn?

Freezer burn ruins food, which is a real waste. The best way to prevent it is to maintain the proper temperature in the freezer at below -18℃. Package your food properly before freezing to reduce risk of freezer burn and try to refrain from leaving the door standing open too long, this can affect the products external and core temperature. Also, be sure to regularly clean your freezer.

Can the Coronavirus/Bacteria Survive in Your Fridge or Freezer?

Freezing and refrigeration are unlikely to kill any potential Coronavirus/Bacteria on the surfaces of your groceries. Studies have shown that it survives in temperatures below 4° C and they suspect that the virus would survive being frozen. So, before you pack away your groceries, experts suggest you take some time to disinfect all your items. COVID-19 can survive on foods and surfaces for a few hours to a few days, but there are no reported instances of the virus being transmitted by food or food packaging. Cooking your food till it reaches a core temperature >60⁰C or more is also likely to kill the virus – food heated to above 83℃ is effectively regarded as being sanitised.

How can I keep my underbar /beverage cooler / freezer clean and well maintained, for a long-lasting and reliable freezer or fridge?

  • Periodically check your gaskets / seals to see whether you need to replace them.
  • Preserve space – don’t store goods in cardboard boxes, rather fill Ziplock or sealable freezer bags, lay them flat on the countertop and press out any excess air in them. This means they can lay flat in the freezer and be stacked on top of one another. Food storage containers such as those available from Carlisle are also recommended.
  • Clean it regularly, both inside and out – be careful not to use abrasive cleaning materials/substances. 

Keep acidic foods covered up in your underbar. The acids in foods such as citric fruits can cause corrosion over time, so it’s essential to keep these covered up. A well-sealed plastic food container will do the job. Similarly, clean up any spills straight away as a build-up of moisture can cause your unit to freeze up.