What’s in Your Refrigerator?

The refrigerators of people who are trying to live on less, leave behind smaller carbon

Proper food storage prevents spoilage and throwing out good food! Food huggers fit over almost any size jar, can or even cut vegetables to lock in freshness.

Proper food storage prevents spoilage and throwing out good food! Food huggers fit over almost any size jar, can or even cut vegetables to lock in freshness.

footprints and do more for themselves look very different from the refrigerators of people who are less concerned with those ideals. You don’t see many packaged foods, name brands or fancy labels in frugal refrigerators. What you do see are Mason jars filled with home processed or bulk purchased food, home-made goodies and leftover bit and dabs that will be turned into good meals for hungry families.

I cleaned out my refrigerator this week. I had a few things that had seen better days. Those brown apple cores will go to feed our chickens or pigs. The wilted greens go to the worm farm or the compost pile. Jars of water from cooking vegetables will go into stock. Bread crusts will turn into stuffing or pudding. Hard cheese will grace a casserole. Nothing much goes to waste around here.

Sometimes inspiration strikes. As I cleaned out my refrigerator I found a bowl of mashed leftoverspotatoes, a hard chuck of cheddar and 1/2 of an onion. I also found a half cup of milk from dinner and we are overrun with eggs this time of the year. I fried up the onion with some bacon and mixed that with the cheese, milk, potatoes and some flour. Fried in the bacon fat, they made some delicious potato/bacon pancakes. Served with some sour cream, they made a fabulous meal from what many would toss out as garbage.

If you hope to waste less food, learning how to store it is crucial. I have gotten rid of nearly all my plastic containers and switched to

Our 21-oz working glasses come in a pack of 4 with 6 BPA-free plastic lids. Glasses made in the USA, lids made in France.

Our 21-oz working glasses come in a pack of 4 with 6 BPA-free plastic lids. Glasses made in the USA, lids made in France.

glass. It cleans better and doesn’t stain of hold flavors or odors. Glass comes in everything from 4 ounce jam jars to gallon jugs. It can take the cold of a chest freezer or the heat of the pressure canner. It’s made from renewable resources right here in the USA and you never have to guess what’s inside. What’s not to love?

If you plan to keep food, it should be cool before being put in a cold refrigerator. You need to exclude as much air as possible so pick the smallest jar possible. Label the lid with the date and decide on its use so you don’t let food sit beyond its prime.

Food is a gift from the soil, sun and rain and the result of the labor of many hands. To waste it is just not necessary. Take a peek tonight. What’s in your refrigerator?

Kathy Harrison

About Kathy Harrison

Kathy Harrison is the author of Just in Case, Another Place at the Table, and One Small Boat. She is a national spokesperson for both foster parenting and family preparedness and has appeared on The Today Show, The Oprah Winfrey Show, and National Public Radio. She lives with her family in western Massachusetts.