{Food and Gardening} Refrigerator Saran-ity

Saran-dipitous Moment:  That moment or faculty of making a fortunate discovery by chance.

The moment for me was when I peered into my 78 year old aunts’ refrigerator and saw no plastic wrap.  Anywhere.  It was then I  realized my complicity in swathing Mother Earth in sweeping wraps of name brand plastic.  Since my aunt is a great role model, I just followed her example.

Leftovers:

A cereal bowl with a well fitting saucer placed on top, holds in moisture and odors.  Bowls can then be stacked for more space.  Bowls can add a little bit of a treasure hunt aspect to finding that leftover chili, but it is microwave ready when you do locate it.  Canning jars, especially the wide mouth style, can hold a variety of foods.   Ball offers reusable lids for small and wide mouth jars that makes food storage in jars simple.  Non-standard jars are great for leftovers; think Adams peanut butter jars.   Even a small saucepan with a tight fitting lid can be used for leftover storage.

 

Produce:

Fresh produce can be washed (or not) and wrapped in clean dishtowels.  Not only are they more rugged than paper towels, they are useful for wiping up if one of your bowls is dislodged.  Wrapped in a dishtowel, produce can be stored in the crisper drawer or on the lower shelves and the towel protects the produce from any temperature fluctuations.  It is also quite easy to find the produce that needs to be used first!

Beverages:

Milk and cream can be poured from their plastic jugs into glass pitchers.  Not only is it easy to see when you need to purchase more half and half for your morning coffee, but  it looks ever so nice on the breakfast table.  Juices can be in pitchers as well, or 2 quart size canning jars.  Little ones may need a helping hand using a glass pitcher.

Condiments:

Depending on your family preferences, condiments can be stored in their purchased container.  If you prefer dressings and sauces made from scratch, dressing bottles and canning jars are again easily found and used.  It is a really good idea to label the reusable lid if it is designated for a particular product.  Then the child who prefers grape jelly does not have an attack of the vapors in finding elderberry jelly on her pbj.

Saran-dipitous moments can be a marvelous catalyst for change.  Have you found an area of life that could be tweaked just a little to make a big difference?  I know I view my refrigerator with a lot more saran-ity, now that  I am wrap free!

Comments

  1. Kathy you are pretty awesome! Great Ideas!

  2. Awesome article Kathy! Thanks for all the great tips. I will be sure to try them!

  3. I must preface this note by saying that my parents are eco-conscious already, but sometimes we chose convenience over our Mother Earth. While making utensil holders for the Martha S. Goody Bags, I got to thinking about all the little plastic baggies my Mom uses to take her snacks to work. So… I made her a bunch of little snack bags & bought her a roll of wax paper to wrap her sandwich in to keep the stickies off the fabric. She has been sending me pics of her snacks and bags with little notes that she’s thinking of me. I’m so proud of her. Oh, and we don’t use plastic wrap, and have recently moved our cheese to an old glass refrigerator container. I ove using glass in the fridge!

  4. wonderful! every fridge should look like this.
    ours does :)

  5. kanelstrand says:

    Great advice, Kathy! I do follow all of the steps (are you sure your aunt isn’t European?) but I know a lot of people who simply don’t care. It hurts me to see how many boxes of milk and plastic containers for yogurt I am throwing out each day though and I am looking for ways to deal with this, f.ex. by making my own yogurt.

    Thank you for a wonderful reminder and a brilliant way to simplify our everyday! Can’t wait for your next post!

  6. Kim Prisock says:

    I LOVE this Kathy! I’ve never been a huge saran wrap fan, but my husband on the other hand… oy! But, now I will point to your blog the next time he gives me grief over saving the empty pasta sauce and peanut butter jars.

    So here’s one that I need help with- any suggestions for herbs? i.e. the big cluster of cilantro that sits in those silly produce bags and turns into a slimy green monster at the bottom of the produce drawer. I can never seem to use it all before it goes bad (which in some cases doesn’t seem to take long)! On a whim, I took this last bunch, did a quick wrap with a paper towel, then put it into a quart sized open mason jar so the bunch was more or less standing up. I thought about putting some water at the bottom of the jar but wasn’t sure if that would make the situation better or worse. So, like the engineer that I am, I’ve made this the trial run and will continue to experiment until I find a better solution!

    • Don’t wash your herbs before you store them, Kim. Only wash as much as you need at one time. And if you wrap them in a towel, it will absorb excess moisture and that should help. Another fun thing to try; place your herbs in a decorative vase(or Mason jar) half full of water like a boquet and leave them on your counter or windowsill. It keeps them fresh and some herbs even grow more leaves.

  7. Excellent ideas, and I’m a fan of mason jars as well :) Just wondering about freezing stuff though… Can I freeze, say, a couple of pints of blueberries in a glass container, like mason jars, or is it better to freeze stuff in plastic still?

    • Jaime, my mother in law always froze her produce in glass jars and she used any kind she had. Leave about 1 1/2″ of head space, to allow for expansion/contraction during the freeze and thaw process. I have only frozen jams in jars and it has worked quite well.

  8. Great tips Kathy! I am always losing my lids and covering with anything I have handy – plates, foil, eek! I love Linda’s mason jar idea, too since I have so many of them and I love Morgen’s bags for veggies.

    • Thanks Cat. Ball makes reusable lids for their canning jars. They are available wherever you purchase your canning supplies. I found that the rings would sometimes get a little rusty with use, abuse and dishwashing, so the plastic reusable lids are better for long term. Mason jars are the greatest, aren’t they?

  9. This is a fantastic post! Thanks so much. My customers often ask me questions about storage and glad to see that many of the questions have been covered here – now I can refer them – Yay!.
    I discovered something about storing veggies which is cool. As you said, wrapping your vegetables in cloth is an option. For things like lettuce, carrots, beets etc. you can dampen the cloth to help keep them crisp. I grow my own carrots and have kept them in a dampened bag for a couple of months. Of course you have to change the bag every week or so and make sure that it does’nt dry out.
    Thanks again – this is great!

  10. Great topic and not one lots of folks even consider. I love vintage pyrex and mason jars so that’s what fills my fridge!

  11. Great Post, Love It! I found out years ago that plastic wrap is something that I can live without. :) Paula

  12. Great post, lovely photos! I have been using mason jars since forever to store almost everything. We have switched over almost completely to glass storage. I was never a fan of saran.