I clean my fridge every week. EVERY WEEK?? I must be insane. No. I just refuse to put "new food" in with "old food". I don't DEEP CLEAN it every week (I do that about 4 times a year, End of summer, Before Thanksgiving, After the Holidays, and Spring Break.) But, I do go through my produce drawers, and cheese drawer and make sure what I have is usable, get rid of any leftovers that are still left from the week, unless I am 100% certain they will get eaten in the next day or two. And, I wipe out the shelves. I'd show you a picture, but if you look above you will see that my fridge hasn't been "deep cleaned" since March. It's due. But I'm waiting until next week for that project.
Here is a very delicious salad I made with some veggies on the verge. They weren't bad, but I didn't have much of them, and they were sort of a random set of odds and ends. Here is what I started with:
There was some (cooked, leftover) sweet-corn, about 1/3 of a red onion, a half of a cucumber, some garden grape tomatoes, some hot peppers. The basil is fresh from my garden. And I knew I wanted a dressing. I had bought limes a couple of weeks ago for guacamole, and still had one left, so I decided (and my good friend Ann, suggested) a honey lime vinegrette. Viola.
Basically I just chopped everything up, put it in a bowl. Made a vinegrette. (about 2 T. Honey, Juice of the lime, and 1 T. canola oil). ps... I would have selected grapeseed oil or an EVOO but I am out. I need a big grocery buying trip. However I am trying REALLY HARD to get everything used up in my pantry and cupboards before I do that. SO... for this salad, a bit of canola worked.
You should know that I tasted the dressing before I dumped it on my salad. TASTING AS Y OU GO IS SO IMPORTANT. It needed "something" so I added some garlic, salt and pepper. Much better. Then I added PART OF IT to the salad and mixed. I didn't want my salad drowning. I did go ahead and add the rest. Also as I look at the picture I am reminded I didn't use all 4 ears of corn... just two. As I was cutting and mixing I realized I would have had WAY more corn than anything else, and I wanted a salad more equal in veggies. Finally, I remembered there were two leftover slices of bacon from the night before's BLT's in the fridge! JUST what this salad needed. So I added those.
Here is the finished salad! It was VERY GOOD! And out of food that in about 2 more days would have ended up in the trash!
I know I can hear this already... "BUT CAMELLE... YOU are a great cook and can do that kind of thing, not me!" No, you can. You just have to be willing to TRY. Remember, those veggies were likely headed for either a boring lettuce salad, or the trash. So NO HARM in cutting them up and trying something different.
Other ideas for that fridge cleaning day:
- Put the veggies that can go into a soup in the freezer (carrots, celery, zucchini, onions, garlic) I just usually chop them up and put them in ziplock bags (seperately) and freeze. Then when I need a bit of something for a soup, or even casserole,j Or I want to sneek some extra nutrients into something I have it. Free. And pre-chopped.
- If you are a smoothie drinker, go ahead and stick that kale or romaine lettuce in a bag in the freezer. It won't make a good salad after it's been frozen, but it works fine in a smoothie.
- Fruit: chop it up and add a splash of lemon juice (bottled is fine) and put in the freezer. Again, works great in smoothies, plus it makes your smoothie more "icy" without adding ice. Or you can bake with it.
- Another way to PREVENT all of this is to preprep your veggies and fruits RIGHT when you get home from the store. If you bought a watermelon... don't just stick it in the fridge. Cut it up into cubes and put it in a container. MUCH easier for snacking or serving. I precut up a couple of onions. I know when I cook during the week I will need "diced onion" I put it in most everything. So, just cut up 2-3 and then you've saved that step when you are trying to quickly put supper together. (Diced onion freezes REALLY WELL too btw... so if you are super motivated buy a whole bag at SAMS for like $3 and dice them all up and put in the freezer, just take out what you need as you need it!)
I hope this helps you get a grip on the fridge issue. No new food until you use up or get rid of the old food! Trust me, you will be happy you follow this tip!