Spring is the perfect time to purge. There is something about birds chirping and flowers blooming that makes me want to open the windows and burn sage while dusting my baseboards. Tidy drawers and bathroom spaces make us say ‘ahhhhh”, yet we often forget one of the most important places to de-clutter, the refrigerator. Cleaning out the junk drawer is just as necessary but those of us with health conscious goals will feel much more at ease and set up for success if we spend a little time cleaning out the fridge. Food is our life source so let’s create a healthy and positive environment for it.
Throw away expired items.
This may seem like an obvious one but hey it happens to all of us and no one wants to accidentally use something that could potentially look like a petri dish under the lid. Check your produce and diary items first as they are the ones that typically expire the fastest. If you are on the fence about using something that expired a few days ago or can’t find an expiration date (here is a consumer report on condiments) I got you. Don’t forget to check the freezer too because no one likes freezer burnt ice cream.
Throw out the table sugar and any sodas you may have in the back of your fridge. Refined sugar is a sneaky one and can also be in many condiments such as ketchup and barbecue sauce. Concentrated and not from concentrate juices are also something you should toss. Juice that’s not from concentrate doesn’t always mean it is better than concentrated. Fresh raw juice is always the best option. Becoming conscious of how refined sugars can sneak their way into your cupboards and refrigerator will start to shift your perspective on buying every day items.
Processed meats contain nitrates, a cancer causing preserving agent. As much as the next white girl I love a good charcuterie. Save the salami and cheese for a special occasion. I am not discouraging you from buying processed meats but if you consume sausage, lunch meats, and bacon I would encourage you to throw out the processed junk and go for an organic and nitrate free brand instead. Throughly reading the label is extremely important. I recently found out that one my favorite brands Applegate is actually owned by Hormel the largest and oldest producer in the meat industry. Would you like some spam with that bacon?
What if I told you that storing your goods in glass would not only keep your fridge more organized it also keeps food from going bad faster? I don’t know about you but being a single person I often find myself wasting produce if I don’t meal prep it within a few days. Because let’s face it, trying to consume a bunch of produce can be difficult as can the option of making daily trips to the store. After organizing I found it much easier to go for healthy snack options especially having veggies cut and ready to go in containers.
Mason jars (use to store leftovers, meal prep, pre-cut vegetables.)
Store carrots in a glass container with water and seal to keep them fresh, you can also do this with celery and asparagus.
Play nice (fruits and vegetables don’t so keep them separate) fruit emits ethylene gas which can speed up spoilage.
Don’t store meat and produce in the same space.
Cool as a cucumber (actually they hate to be cold) Storing them below 50 degrees will cause them to spoil faster.
Store tomatoes stem side down and keep them out of the fridge.
Keep your leafy greens in a crisper or large air tight glass container.
Leftover onions should be stored separately and kept in glass.
Wipe me down.
First things first. Start by taking out all the contents including shelves and drawers. You’ll need some serious clean up supplies so have the gloves and a scrub brush ready. Soak the shelves with warm water, soap, and a little vinegar to cut through any messy spills that may have encrusted on the bottom. I also like to spray the inside of the fridge with a warm water and vinegar solution. If you don’t have vinegar handy you can use a disinfectant to clean the inside of the fridge. Dry off the shelves and place them back in the refrigerator. Make sure to check the bottoms of condiments and jam jars before you put them back in. Give them a good wipe down to make sure there is no sticky residue left on the bottoms.