How To Organize The Refrigerator And Stop Wasting Food

More Organizing Ideas For The Kitchen

Magnetic Fridge OrganizerQuite how to organize the refrigerator has always escaped me, other than to keep different ‘types’ of food on different shelves – and actually that wasn’t the real problem.

Shoving more in and pushing older bits to the back was my worst habit and to be honest, I’d slip back into it in a heartbeat, but we’ve now got a very visual reminder in the form of a magnetic fridge organizer.

The solution is pretty obvious and oh so simple really – except I hadn’t seen it! With staff away sick I had to cover a cooking lesson just before Christmas.

On the big refrigerator door is a magnetic fridge organizer with all the relevant dates of what is stored on each shelf, which class will use it and when it has to be used by. Brilliant.

With a diabetic in the family, some differentiation of meals has to happen, Al would love a sweet sticky caramel pudding but he isn’t going to get one, not unless I’ve made it myself with sweeteners, which inevitably means a lot of fiddling around – don’t get me wrong here, I love doing it for him.

But having spent that extra time it makes sense if you cook enough for several portions, pop one in the fridge for later in the week, and freeze the rest. Trouble was I never saw the one in the fridge again until about a month later.

Using fridge bins helps organize refrigerator shelves and keep things tidy but won’t track what in there, whereas a system like this will. The only downside it humans, especially the little ones – we have had to make a real effort to make sure things are properly updated, but largely it works.

You can organize the fridge like this with paper stuck on it, or use one of the many purpose made alternatives, but whichever you go with, if like us you are tossing out food that got lost, do yourself a favor and do one of them!

And The Freezer?

organizing the freezer with a whiteboardFreezing isn’t, or rather wasn’t my preferred way to keep food. No matter how carefully prepared, packed and sealed, there was always that ‘been in the freezer’ taste and smell which pervaded the food.

However, since getting a vacuum food sealer there’s no doubt about it, we’ve made better use of the freezer.

Food saver vacuum sealers come in a huge range of sizes and shapes, from a pistol gun type to the more usual rectangular shape box.

You do have to buy special bags for these, depending on the model you have some of the bags are reusable so you can wash them and refill.

But keep your eyes open for reduced prices – there is always an offer on Amazon for one or other of the packets of bags, so buy in bulk whilst cheap is a good way to go.

They aren’t just useful for cooked food and will protect and preserve raw meat just as well. Chuck steak and other casserole cuts, whole chickens or a turkey – more or less anything else you want to freeze down will benefit from being vacuum sealed.

The main enemy of preserving anything in a refrigerator or freezer is air, because without it bacteria can’t get to work. Take the air out and your cooked cold cuts will keep for up to four weeks just being refrigerated, frozen food seems to last almost indefinitely and though there must be some deterioration, it isn’t reflected in the taste one bit.

One big money saver has been buying, cooking and then slicing a family sized ham. The resulting meal or sandwich sized packs last way long enough in the refrigerator to have been used up some time before they would have gone off – since now I know where I put them.

Getting organized in the kitchen can be such a struggle, there’s always more to put away than places it can go. But now finally the fridge and freezer are in good order with a system I can keep up, food isn’t vanishing anymore only to re-emerge weeks later, having grown a green furry coat!

Posted by
February 26, 2014