What's in your fridge?

A blog post about what's in my fridge may seem a bit...strange. Stick with me! The idea for this hit me as I was leafing through a back issue of the Paleo Magazine and they have a feature where they ask a contributor what they have in their refrigerator. It occurred to me that some people may be curious as to what generally lives in mine as I continually bleat on about healthy eating and maybe you would like to see what that looks like for us. There are a couple things I will first share about how my fridge looks:

1. I still cook for a living and like things to be very CLEAN in there. No scary rotting veggies lurking at the back of drawers, things fairly organized, maybe not as much as for work where it's all labelled and dated for obvious reasons. Also, I am a big one for not having more than one of the same thing open and partially used. That little trick drives me absolutely insane because not only does it lead to food waste (which is something I abhor) but also, it leads to needless clutter. 

2. Due to the above-mentioned abhorrence for food waste, I am pretty good about buying only what we need and using it all up before going out to get more. This means that on the days that I hit the market, and then meal prep for the week, the refrigerator looks like a place of plenty and towards the end of the week, more like the pathetic space of a college student exempt of gross take out boxes etc. By emptying out the fridge on a weekly basis, it also becomes a simple task to spray a shelf with my trusty vinegar and water and give it a fast wipe, meaning that I never ever have to do a major spring clean of the fridge as it stays clean all the time.

 End of week example from January 2016 when we lived in a furnished rental...Not much left.

End of week example from January 2016 when we lived in a furnished rental...Not much left.

When I was growing up, my family used to grocery shop weekly. Then they decided to experiment and try to shop bi-weekly, freezing more items and obviously buying more food during that session at the store (this likely only worked because I am an only child), however, what my folks discovered was that not only were they able to go close to 2 full weeks on one major grocery shop, but due to the fact that EVERYTHING got cooked and eaten, we had far less food waste and our grocery bills went down over time because they were not actually buying twice the amount of food. Interesting idea.

That right there is why when I get food from either the farmer's market or the grocery store, it doesn't seem like a hell of a lot. I process it and cook it - or at least cook the stuff that won't keep and get my meal prep done for the week quite quickly. Extra meats go in the freezer and I also usually have an emergency bag of organic frozen spinach and cauliflower at all times...just in case.

 Typical mid-week example.

Typical mid-week example.

My freezer in our current apartment is barely worth talking about. It has an ice making unit that doesn't work because it isn't hooked up to water, I have ice cube trays...so that takes up about 1/4 of the tiny space. I have freezer packs for the cooler and a freezer compression arm cuff...more space. I have a pack of frozen riced cauliflower, a 1/2 empty can of maple syrup (Canadian, what can I say), some beef marrow bones to make broth, some homemade pesto, some frozen filets of vermillion snapper given to us by a friend that they caught themselves...and an emergency pack of local Georgia shrimp in a creole sauce perfect size for one person just in case I run out of food.

My fridge is always changing because we buy local from the farmer's market and it all depends on what is in season.

Top Shelf: Pastured eggs from the market, some homemade vinegar Carolina-style bbq sauce, a can of plain La Croix sparkling water, a bottle of cider, a couple of avocados that I am trying not to let go soft before I eat them, a pack of Le Siete grain free cassava flour tortillas, some olives and fermented miso.

Second shelf: Sungold cherry tomatoes washed and ready to eat as snacks (candy, really), some Japanese eggplants and okra, also washed just waiting for me to cook, a paper bag of wild mushrooms, food that I have meal prepped: chicken liver paté, roast chicken thighs, spicy Italian sausage also cooked in the oven, and a couple of seared pork chops. All meat and eggs are from local farms, pasture and humanely raised, as are most of the vegetables.

Third Shelf: Some sugar free bacon (Maverick's ranch), chia seeds, a bowl with some ground pork in a package defrosting- also local from Savannah River Farms.

Upper drawer: a bag of sunflower sprouts, some romaine lettuce, ginger, green onions, a cucumber.

Bottom drawers: carrots, onions, garlic, sweet potato greens, celery, cabbage, green pepper and a  rather large yellow zucchini squash.

And then we have the door of the fridge.  I feel like this is where a lot of junk can collect. Since I like using a lot of herbs and spices and not a lot of sauces, ours is typically quite sparse.

 Current fridge door.

Current fridge door.

Starting at the top: Kerrygold unsalted butter. I swear we should buy stock with these guys. Then there is both red and green Thai curry paste, a preserved truffle, some deli style mustard with no sugar and dijon again, no sugar. A jar of acidophilus pills, coconut aminos, flax seed oil, fish oil, hemp hearts, Chalula, Pick-a-pepper sauce, Frank's hot sauce to make wings, some SFH fish oil, and a Wildbrine fermented beet slaw.

Next shelf: coconut water, some almond milk without carrageenan, coconut milk, cornichons, capers, tomato paste and pureed tomatoes, all with no crap.I have the cornichons and capers because I loooovve tartar (yes to raw meat).

Bottom shelf: some of my homemade Kombucha. 

Missing: home made mayo.

I keep citrus, unripe avocados and larger tomatoes in a bowl on the counter and these days some basil in water by the window because it's in season. That's about it.

When I look at this, I guess it's not a very exciting selection, they certainly don't seem like particularly sexy ingredients..but who can afford sexy and fancy all the time? These are the simple and honest makings of a week's worth of food for me. I meal prep because I lack the time and inclination during the week to cook every single night. I also like to be able to knock together a protein and a salad for lunch and use leftovers cooked up for breakfast. That way I have the time to sit down and eat in a relaxed state, I know I am eating good food and feeding my body in a way that works for me and my health. There is nothing in my fridge that I can make a poor choice with, and if I lived with people who ate crap then I think I would be taking a shelf for myself or at least moving their things to a level that I couldn't see so that it wouldn't be a constant temptation. Keeping track of your food, meaning expiration dates on old sauces, cleaning stuff out you no longer eat, etc is a great way to have turnover and ensure you are not creating needless clutter that looks overwhelming and frustrating. And you really do want to get rid of any rotting, dripping THINGS from in that space. It really should be a clean space in that fridge, people, not just once a year when you empty the entire thing to clean it out...

Just for a little further inspiration on keeping it tidy and clean, here's a final photo of what it looks like when everything is labeled. Matching containers also help. I prefer glass due to it being inert, and safe to freeze and heat food in...this photo is from a boat I worked on, I use only glass containers at home.

 Keeping things organized and labeled is really helpful when you have a lot of things on the go...

Keeping things organized and labeled is really helpful when you have a lot of things on the go...