/> Clean Convenient Cuisine: The Perfect Fridge

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Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Perfect Fridge

Have you ever opened your refrigerator and felt like a homeless person lives at your home? Or a frat boy? Why is it that when you really need something to eat, you are left with nothing but condiments, sticky door trays and maybe a can of coke or a block of cheese? Moldy vegetables are often another concern (though, certain fridges make the produce bins at eye level now, so you are constantly reminded about them). There are several tricks to stocking your fridge the right way to keep an organized system.

Tips For The Perfect Fridge

1. The first obvious tip is only buy what you need for a few days or the entire week. Take a menu with you to the grocery store, so you are aptly prepared. If you know it's unrealistic for you to buy for the whole week, plan out 2-3 days or breakfasts, lunches and dinners. It doesn't have to be complicated. When you get home, cut up veggies or do your "prep" work. Sundays are great days for this, and then store your prepared snacks or meals in the proper bins or shelves.

2. Before you go to the store, clean out your fridge. Think of it as "spring cleaning," something you should do every few months to make sure you're not holding on to almost empty containers of salad dressings and ketchup bottles. Clear out the inside of any half-open jars, old condiments or moldy veggies. Get rid of leftovers if they have been in the fridge more than 48 hours. Think about how you will organize your fridge when you return.

3. Do not overcrowd fridge, as this prevents proper air circulation.

Contents Of The Perfect Fridge

At the store, try to concentrate on the following:
Nuts, seeds, peanut butter
Bottled water
Chicken, fish, turkey, tofu
Yogurt, cheese, milk
Oatmeal, brown rice, bread

Work around the perimeter of the store and only pop into the aisles when you need to pick up jars or boxed grains.

Organizing The Perfect Fridge

1. Store vegetables and fruits separately. Store veggies in GREEN BAGS, so you don't have to keep them in the crisper. They do best in a warmer part of the fridge (around 50 degrees). Often times, when we put foods in the crisper, they go bad, because we forget about them. Use a lower shelf and keep them visible, so you know when to use them. Look at your menu. Position the fruits and veggies you will be using that day at the forefront, and then rotate to the next batch for the next day. Lettuce and herbs often go bad when they come in contact with plastic, so wrap them in paper towels first before putting them back in plastic bags. Apples also emit a gas that can cause other produce to spoil, so keep them out of the crisper drawer or store them by themselves.

2. Keep similar foods together, so you know where they are.

3. Store yogurt, cheese, dips, butter and smaller items on the top shelf, so they are at eye level.

4. Store meat at the bottom of the fridge on a "meats-only" tray, as some products can drip in their natural packaging.

5. Position eggs in their original carton near the top of the fridge, as the temperature is cooler here than in the egg tray.

6. Store drinks, bottles, jars and condiments on shelves near the inside of the refrigerator door, but only those that you will use. Don't buy in bulk. Make sure all lids are tightly closed.

Clean your refrigerator. Use common sense when storing cooked meats and leftovers (use glass containers instead of plastic).

Happy shopping!

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