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Sunday, May 10, 2015

Cleaning out the fridge!

I thought I would share with you two of my favorite posts for saving money on food this month, they are oldies but goodies related to cleaning out the fridge!  

If you know me you know I'm a big believer in cleaning out my fridge often.  I do this about every 3-5 days so that food never has the chance to go bad!  It allows me to put things out and use them up before they go bad.  Most food only lasts (leftovers that is) about 3-5 days safely in the fridge.  So if you can use it or freeze it in that time span you can avoid waste.  Because I clean out my fridge so often it makes it very easy to do.  It goes quickly.  Mind you -- most of this cleaning is simply moving things around, and often I move things to the freezer!  I can't say this enough - label, label, label!! That little tidbit of meat might look like a banana in a zip lock bag and wouldn't make a lovely smoothie addition later.  Caution* -- if you intend to freeze things like garlic and onion, strong odors like fish, you want to do those on the same shelves as say your meat, rather than next to the bags of cut up frozen pineapple!  ( I might know this from personal experience- it goes without saying catfish flavored pineapple is um... disappointing!)  Here is how I clean out my fridge!

celery wrapped in aluminum foil will last much longer
When cleaning out my fridge originally I noticed that I routinely threw out certain things.  Fresh celery and bags of  lettuce spent more time in my trashcan than on our tables.  Those bags of slimy pre-cut lettuce, were expensive by the time you figured out I threw out half of them.  I was forever buying a bag, using a little salad and tossing the remainder of the bag in the garbage a week later. Does this sound familiar? Now, when I have bags of pre-cut lettuce I repackage them into a sealing plastic bag with a clean dry paper towel inside the bag.  I find they last much longer this way once opened.  Here again, Grandma's policy of putting everything in the fridge out on the table at meal times works to your advantage.  You're more likely to eat it if it's served.
But the real solution to the slimy salad conundrum is simply to buy heads of  Romaine lettuce.  Iceberg lasts a long time, but nutritionally it's not the greatest, it's really the equivalent of water, which is fine, but not the powerhouse, that green leafy lettuces and spinach are. The darker green is better for more nutrients.  Heads of fresh Romaine lettuce will last a really long time in the fridge.  And if they start to look bad, you can chop of the tops or peel off the outer layers and usually find a decent salad in there somewhere.  Trust me, go Romaine-- you won't regret it!

And the celery, that slimy soggy mess in the back of the drawer.....well, for one thing I don't buy it as much as I used to.  Only when I know I want fresh for a chicken salad or something of that nature, but I've found a way of storing it that helps it last longer too.  I wrap mine in aluminum foil, it stays crisp and lasts much longer, giving me more opportunity to get my money's worth out of it!  And if you are lacking in ideas for using those things up-- here's another helpful post from the past.  What to do with celery, onions, fresh garlic

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