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Fridge/Freezer Managment
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What does good managment take?
Better impulse control in the store
18%
 18%  [ 2 ]
Lists of what's in there and how long they've been there
27%
 27%  [ 3 ]
Ruthlessness about chucking things
9%
 9%  [ 1 ]
More creativity about combining what's on hand
45%
 45%  [ 5 ]
You forgot the most important thing
0%
 0%  [ 0 ]
Total Votes : 11

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Rainey



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 2498
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

PostPosted: Fri Jun 03, 2005 6:37 pm    Post subject: Fridge/Freezer Managment Reply with quote

Do you have nights like I do when the fridge/freezer is chock full but you can't find a thing to cook up?

There must be a way to manage things so they don't fill up with things that really shouldn't be taking up space or were outright mistakes or have outlasted their welcome. How do you guys handle it?
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Last edited by Rainey on Fri Jun 03, 2005 9:05 pm; edited 1 time in total
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David



Joined: 30 Sep 2004
Posts: 1855
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

PostPosted: Fri Jun 03, 2005 6:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yup yup, I'll find the shelves of the fridge are packed with jars containing 1 pickle or a tablespoon of jam and jars of spices I've used once several years ago and never touched again. And the freezer is full of left overs in plastic containers and the only thing there you want to eat will take forever to thaw or prepare.

sigh, so that is when one bites the bullet, pulls a garbage bag over and empties the fridge of detritus. (but you just know you are going to really need that particular type of olive in the near future--what for you aren't sure, but you will need it!)
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JustMe



Joined: 13 Apr 2005
Posts: 213
Location: Ontario, Canada

PostPosted: Fri Jun 03, 2005 8:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

When Costco first opened we would stock up on giant sizes of stuff....now I resist that impulse unless I know for sure it's something we eat alot of. (A 1kg block of cheddar cheese lasts maybe a week at my house.) But there are always half filled jars of something. I do the same, and get the garbage bag out & just pitch! It's more of a waste of money if you buy large and end up throwing half out.
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VictoriaLH



Joined: 17 May 2005
Posts: 87
Location: Madison WI

PostPosted: Fri Jun 03, 2005 9:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My problem is the local farmers market. Madison has one of the biggest for a city its size and its hard to resist all of the gorgeous fresh veggies, artisanal cheese and other delicacies there. So I cram my fridge with them and then try to use them up before they go off. Not always possible.
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Debbie



Joined: 21 Feb 2005
Posts: 861
Location: Paris

PostPosted: Sat Jun 04, 2005 2:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Even with a bar fridge you still have the same problem. In fact I think I am worse with this fridge than I was with a huge fridge freezer combo. At least in Sydney I would freeze things that I knew I wasn't going to use within 2 days. At least in the freezer I had the room to store until I could use.

My problem is that I am also one of these people who walks into a fruit and vegetable store and immediately turns into a pelican (ie: my eyes can hold more than my belly can). Everything looks so good and smells so good and I just know it will taste so good....... so I buy a bit of everything - or so it seems. Then it is a race for the 2 of us to eat everything before it goes off.

The fromagerie is a constant challenge for me, as is the boulangerie. I have now limited myself to these places only on the weekend and only when my husband is with me... although he is more hindrance than help in the boulangerie I must admit. The fridge just gets crammed with more food.

I definately cannot go shopping without having eaten a good meal beforehand. A hungry Debbie and food shopping is a recipe for disaster.

I have tried the method of writing a menu for the week and then buying for those meals only. It doesn't work for me as we eat whatever looks good in the butcher or vege shop that day. You wind up with some very weird combinations in your trolley and no real meal ingredients. It is all impulse buys. We don't really have too many convenience foods (pre prepared), so many nights are spent doing an inventory and making something different to what we ate the last few meals.

I do try and have a leftovers night once a week to use up all the odds and sods out of the fridge. The tiny bit of cheese, 3 mushrooms, an egg, bit of left over cooked veg, a few slices of ham/chicken etc (not enough for a meal but you can't bring yourself to throw it out - that would be wasteful). Normally I will make a frittata or omellette type dish, or if it is bits of veg and raw meat I will make a casserole type dish.

If I buy something and we don't eat it within the week that it was first opened, then I do try and cull the fridge and chuck it out by end of week 2. This doesn't always work for things like olives and pickles and jams, but I try to keep presenting them to my husband and if he rejects them a few times then he won't miss them and they go. Myself, I could eat till the cows come home, so I never use my own opinion on whether I will eat it or not.... if that happened I would keep (and eat) everything.

I think the fridge becomes a repository for all the "extras", ie olives, sun dried tomatoes, cheeses, pickles, jams, etc etc and there is no room for the good old meat and veg. This becomes really evident when you use a bar fridge. You quickly re-evaluate your food requirements and do improve a bit. Note that I say a bit - not become perfect.

If anyone finds the Debbie proof way of managing their fridge, I am all ears.
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Dairy_Queen



Joined: 29 Jan 2005
Posts: 342
Location: Chicago and other places

PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2005 3:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Debbie: I don't know if this will help, but it sure works in my household.

When groceries are brought in, whether fresh, frozen or canned, I date them immediately. Frozen receives either a sticker or a direct dating on the package with the Month/Date/Year. I write directly on canned and packaged goods.

Nothing, and I mean absolutely NOTHING stays beyond 6 months, even if it's supposed to be good for a year. This keeps all frozen nuts, frozen dinners, jams, spices, etc, fresh and not cluttering up anything.

I use the same system at Sally's apartment and it has proven a 100% success. With three people living in one apartment, bad food and out-of-code food could and did become a horrible problem. Now, when it's that person's time to clean the kitchen (the common rooms rotate weekly for cleaning) they are responsible for checking the codes on the common foods, like milk, flour, spices and veggies. If they are past our written code, they get chucked!!! No more cilantro turned into green slime in the bottom of the crisper or cinnamon that has turned into flavourless brown powder.

Once you get used to dating things, it only adds a couple of minutes per grocery order. Obviously, if you're buying food for a specific event and you know that you're using it all, there's no reason to date things. But, if you bulk buy stuff that's on sale, it really helps keep a perspective. I also use it in the freezer for all my meals I freeze and along with an inventory sheet, it keeps everything edible.
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Dawna



Joined: 04 May 2005
Posts: 125
Location: Vancouver

PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2005 5:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

DQ, I'm impressed with your organizational skills!

I'm only cooking for two people, but this works well for me. One night per week is clean-out-the-fridge night. I go through and try to come up with a meal that will use up most of whatever's in there. Even if I don't get all of it, I have a pretty good notion of what else needs to be used up soon.

The thing that has probably helped the most is my Dinner Calendar. I just created a little blank calendar on my computer, and plan out the dinners on it. I first started to do this when I was attempting to control my spending and shop most efficiently for minimum wastefulness.

I don't plan the whole month at once, and of course things don't always stay on the day that I put them! So, for example, last weekend I juggled the Chicken Yassa from Friday night to Saturday, to accommodate a dinner invitation, etc. Then, I go back later and adjust the calendar to what really happened. I print them out and keep them in a file, so that I can look back and see what we've been eating. Sometimes, this makes me realize we're eating a lot of one thing, or haven't had something in a while, and it gives me ideas for planning the next week.
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Rainey



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 2498
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2005 6:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You know, making a routine of using leftovers once a week is something I could do. I'm sure they're less daunting after a week than they are after a couple. Wink

Could help me exercise that "creativity" thing too.
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Dairy_Queen



Joined: 29 Jan 2005
Posts: 342
Location: Chicago and other places

PostPosted: Thu Jun 09, 2005 11:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dawna wrote:
DQ, I'm impressed with your organizational skills!


The 'skills' come naturally to me, so sadly, I can't say that it's something that I've taught myself. But, it sure does benefit my life, that's for sure!

My clients also really like my frig/freezer skills; when I house-sit for them, it's a 'given' that when I stay there, I'm going to purge both the frig/freezer.

The "worst case scenario" that I ever ran into, was a single client who had 4 year old meat and frozen dinners in her freezer....and she was STILL EATING FROM THEM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! She always had upset stomaches and IBS; no wonder with ancient food! Yuck-o.

Cleaning the frig out weekly is a very good practice; that way, you don't end up with a C.S.I. Crime Lab in your home! Cool
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VictoriaLH



Joined: 17 May 2005
Posts: 87
Location: Madison WI

PostPosted: Thu Jun 09, 2005 4:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

But if I clean out the fridge, my homemade Botox supply will have to go! Laughing
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Dairy_Queen



Joined: 29 Jan 2005
Posts: 342
Location: Chicago and other places

PostPosted: Fri Jun 10, 2005 12:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

VictoriaLH wrote:
But if I clean out the fridge, my homemade Botox supply will have to go! Laughing


Well, that's different, VictoriaH! Just store your "stash" in a cunning little container, like a "No-Fat/No-Enjoyment" youghurt container and no one will be the wiser! Wink
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Tammy



Joined: 26 Feb 2005
Posts: 27
Location: Toronto, Canada

PostPosted: Fri Jun 10, 2005 3:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We shop once a week. I make out the menu and compile my shopping list from that. Although I should take a page out of Dawna's book and keep it online. My list is saved though because frankly we do tend to eat a lot of the same things from week to week (like milk, bread and deli meat). When we get home we immediately purge the fridge before the new stuff goes in. This of course is not a failproof method. Sometimes we're just too tired and simply toss the new stuff in. But when we're on the ball it's a great method. Occasionally we fall prey to the leftover containers that "we're definitely going to use this week." But if it ain't on my menu, it probably won't happen! Then of course there are those last minute invites out and that asparagus gets forgotten and when next week's shopping trip comes around you've wasted good veggies. Oh well, at least it's CLOSE to perfect!
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Sarape



Joined: 15 Dec 2004
Posts: 583
Location: Anniston Alabama USA

PostPosted: Fri Jun 10, 2005 10:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have fewer than 10 items in my refrigerator at any time. Usually just vinegar, mustard, cheese, dried fruit, cooked soup, cooked brown rice, some vegetables from the garden or the wild.

Most people would be aghast to see the inside of my refrigerator -- lot of empty space. Part of my general minimalism.
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Shanti



Joined: 08 Jun 2005
Posts: 32
Location: Duluth, MN

PostPosted: Sat Jun 11, 2005 11:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello!

I'm new to the forums - but I put my introduction over on the "other things" board so not to clutter up this and other threads!

For the past, oh, 7-8? years I've also meal planned - but I plan my leftovers right into the menu to help with the pesky "eat them up" problem. For example, if I make a chili I know that it will last hubby and I about 3 meals, so I just select three following days and that's what we eat. Or if I know hubby's going to be at home for lunch I can designate leftovers for his lunch rather than buying him lunchmeat. This has worked very well for us. Come the end of the week, the fridge is usually pretty bare.

Initially meal planning took a bit of getting used to, but now I couldn't do it any other way! I did try and do it on the computer, but ended up going back to a little 3x5 notebook. Menu on one side of the page, grocery list on the other.

I also make a strong effort to plan meals around what I have in the fridge to use things up. Generally works pretty well for me. Along with only shopping once a week and buying only what I need for the week (small kitchen, not a lot of storage space) we keep our waste to a minimum.

Dairy-Queen; I love the idea of dating the groceries right out of the bags! I could see how that would work great for freezer items and those jars of tahini sauce that I wonder how long I've had... Rolling Eyes

Sarape - my sister's fridge looks like your's! It is a bit disconcerting...
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Dairy_Queen



Joined: 29 Jan 2005
Posts: 342
Location: Chicago and other places

PostPosted: Sun Jun 12, 2005 1:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Shanti wrote:
Hello!

I'm new to the forums - but I put my introduction over on the "other things" board so not to clutter up this and other threads!


Welcome, Shanti! I'll have to pop over to the other forum to add more greetings.

Shanti wrote:
Dairy-Queen; I love the idea of dating the groceries right out of the bags! I could see how that would work great for freezer items and those jars of tahini sauce that I wonder how long I've had... Rolling Eyes

Sarape - my sister's fridge looks like your's! It is a bit disconcerting...


Shanti: Dating food has really changed my Kitchen Life and I would never do it any.other.way.!!! Just think of how many times you reach for that cranberry sauce, mandarin oranges or just plain soup, only to see that it expired a month or so ago...which means you've had it on your shelf for over a year!!! Shocked

I got into dating everything one Christmas season. I had moved from Chicago to Michigan and for over a year, I didn't make any food at my new place...just take out. Then, Christmas rolled around and I wanted to bake my "famous" Cookie Trays, and when I began to check my spices and things (flour, baking soda, etc), they were just yucky. Either stale or weak aromas, I chucked the entire kitchen's worth of herbs, spices and flavourings, and went to Jewel to buy all new ones. To keep an eye on them, I used a purple permanent marker and those stickers that 'tag' sales use, and just wrote the date I bought them on everything.

I've kept it up now on everything, so that at a glace I can tell when something is about to expire: from applesauce, to that designer jelly I devoured when I first bought it but now sits ignored on the condiment shelf.

Seriously, it takes me no more than 5-7 minutes (when I buy LOADS) of food and for the safetly and health features, I think it's 7 minutes well spent!
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