I am quite fussy about the fridge. I must confess I so enjoy storing everything, little ‘left overs’ can create something marvellous out of nothing! But you need to store all those fresh fruits and vegies, meats, cheeses etc, properly in the first place. It is simply such a waste of money to purchase good food then pop it into where ever or what ever in the fridge and expect to use it or find it fresh when you need it.
The trick to keeping anything from fresh herbs, to fresh fruit and all sorts of vegetables, meats etc… is the storage.
The Points to follow:
1. Clean out the fridge and freezer to begin with. If you don’t recognise something, or it looks frosted, open or has an interesting smell… eek, THROW it out.
2. Wipe the shelves, seals and draws with hot lightly soapy water and thoroughly dry with a soft cloth. If you like a pleasant smell in the fridge add vanilla (that awful liquid called ‘Imitation Vanilla Essence’ is perfect for this job)! Also a small bowl of Bicarb Soda kept open in the fridge and replaced weekly helps to adsorb any odours.
3. On arrival home, separate all the produce. There are certain sections of the fridge suited to different foods. Many fridges have a dairy cabinet, meat cabinet, egg storage, fruit and veg crisper etc. If your fridge doesn’t simply make sections your self. Keeping similar foods all together. I have all the cheese in one large section, the complete dairy foods (sour cream, cream, yoghurt etc) all together… the bacon, chorizo, prosciutto also together.
4. Meats / Chicken & seafood: These must all be used quickly or frozen. If purchased from the butcher, remove from the bag.
5. For the freezer, separate and lay the food flat into freezer bags, seal, label and pop into the freezer: Generally speaking protein foods can be frozen for up to 3 months. If the meat / chicken is in a plastic tray it can removed to a bag as above or frozen in the tray… this is up to you.
5. My chicken/ seafood for the fridge must be patted dry and placed on paper towel, in a single layer on a plate and covered with plastic wrap or in a sealed container. Please use within 1-2 days maximum.
6. Storing ‘left overs’ after cooking: have a selection of plastic containers with good lids. Choose a container that suits
the amount of food and place it where you will see it in the fridge. When reheating, make sure to heat very well either in the microwave or in a pan.
7. Fruit and veg, herbs, root vegies: All fresh items do best being covered. I like to place each item in a sealed bag or a special fruit and veg bag (all found at the supermarket) or a sealed veggie container. Tupperware and Lock ‘N’ Lock both have these. Keeping fruit and veg covered ensures it stays fresh! Just make sure you keep varieties separate… baby spinach does not go with carrots or apples.
Take the time to store properly and you will not find limp, dead or horrid ’off’ foods lurking. Also nutritionally you’re getting the best from your foods too. It really is all with the effort to store properly.