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You know it's time to clean the fridge when...

... what you thought was blue cheese turns out to have been feta.

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  1. Hopefully you found out quickly, rather than a late realization? I suppose it could be worse if what you thought was limburger was actually bleu.

    I've always wondered what the distinction was between 'perfectly aged' and rotten.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Cinnamon

      With some cheeses, it's an ammonia smell/taste. That's how I know when my blue cheese has gone past it.

    2. ...things start looking like science experiments. And you're out of tupperware.

      1. The final two digits in the "consume by" starts with an "8" or "9".

        2 Replies
        1. re: Sam Fujisaka

          I'm sorry to say that my answer is closest to the "out of tupperware" one above. I just did this today so we have now have sparkling fridge shelves and a cabinet full of tupperware!

          1. I have a friend whose daughter recently pulled out a can of tomato soup in their pantry and said "how about this for lunch, Mom?" So she looked at the can - it expired in 1999!!!! She decided (why I'm not sure) to be a good person and recycle the can - when she opened it, it was the most disgusting thing she'd every seen!!

            That's the worst story I have heard...

            1. ...you find a package of house-brand flour tortillas from a grocery store that closed six months ago (yeah, that was me, last week).

              1. you return from your weekly grocery run. Before loading up the fridge wiht new product I purge it of leftovers, expired items(eggs,milk, etc), and old produce.

                9 Replies
                1. re: swsidejim

                  Good idea, I do the same esp with produce.
                  What about condiments though?? I am guilty of not going through those often enough.

                  1. re: laurendlewis

                    I stay on top of whats in the fridge by going through the condiment shelves weekly as well. . I am the menu planner, and make the shopping list so I rarely have that bottle of expired olives, or something else that has expired.

                    I also am a stickler about leftovers, I dont eat anything 3 days after the item was cooked.

                    1. re: swsidejim

                      Nothing more than three days old? We cook on weekends for the entire week. We'd have to throw away a lot of food if we followed your policy.

                      1. re: mojoeater

                        I cook on Saturday, and Sundays, We dont eat Saturdays leftovers past Tuesday, and Sundays past Wednesday. Typically Thursday is a new meal from the freezer(shrimp,chicken breasts, steak, burgers, frozen pizza, etc.) & Friday is carry out night.

                        Not much gets thrown out, typically Mon-Weds are leftover nights, my wife typically brings some of the leftovers for her lunches, and I eat lunch meat(turkey, Roast beef, etc.) until Wednesday.

                        I try to run my kitchen at home like I ran the food storeroom at the hotel I worked at, and how some of the kitchens I worked in were run.

                        1. re: swsidejim

                          We eat leftovers all week long, even taking them to work for lunch. Right now my fridge is full of grilled chicken, hamburgers, lentil soup, and more. We'll eat it all by Sunday, when we'll cook some more. I can't get the SO to do takeout or go out to eat with any regularity.

                          1. re: mojoeater

                            Interesting, I know I am on the conservative side when it comes to leftovers, I don think there is a right or wrong way in regard to using them, as long as items are not wasted. I am pretty good at gauging portions, and meal planning so little is wasted thankfully.

                            1. re: mojoeater

                              It is rare that the jfoods have leftovers. After 25+ years of cooking and going to the grocer on the way home every night, the protion control has become an art. The time there is a leftover is when little jfood has a late class/meeting and she normally eats it when she gets home.

                          2. re: mojoeater

                            Jfoods have a two day rule for leftovers. Eat by the end of the second day from cooking, freeze, or the disposal and compactor come into play.

                      2. re: swsidejim

                        Jfood is with Jim on this one. The Mrs and little jfoods are always launching "Dad we're out of XX" Into the memory bank as they come and go. I go to the grocer almost nightly on the way home and pick up dinner and the stragler items. Then on the weekend the process is to scan the fridge before the trip.Upon I return it's load and unload. The kitchen pantry gets purged monthly and stuff taken to the basement to the big pantry (also known as the Costo closet) and when the monthy purge occurs, the lables are read in the Costco Closet and any discards or gotta eats are moved to the garbage or kitchen, respectively.

                      3. There is still a can of Metracal in the back of the fridge.

                        1. "Christmas in July" is a nice thought for tourist shops looking to sell knick-knacks and ornaments. It's not such a good thing in the fridge. (My Hub is STILL hanging onto a tub of lingonberries we had for Christmas, and resists when I tell him that last few tablespoons are not worth the tummy upset or worse.)

                          Otherwise, it's time to clean out when those few veg. dregs that you're intending to make stock out of are still there and languishing even further into vegetable torpor. Compost them and make room for new...and make a new refrigerator resolution. I must preach to my own choir - I have plenty of these almost-there vegies that have to be used yesterday. Thank goodness I have a stock on the burner now and can absolve myself!

                          Memo to self: wipe down the veg. drawer in the fridge with bleach-water to kill leftover bacteria that will hasten the incoming veggies' demise.

                          1. You start cultivating your own variety of mushrooms!

                            1. ... after opening the refrigerator to retrieve an item, someone is the living room asks, "Who F*rted?!"

                              1. All I know is that Cleaning the Fridge Day must all happen in one fell swoop. Sample:
                                Must toss old stuff, unload entire fridge, wipe down, let it sit. TAKE OUT THE GARBAGE IMMEDIATELY even if it half full of OLD FOOD. And, while you're on Stinky Cleaning Duty Day, clean out the litter, bathroom, and other yucky areas.

                                I have also invested in a box of cheap rubber gloves from Walgreens - makes cleaning SO much faster and so much less icky.

                                Not that I'm a slob....ha.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: stellamystar

                                  Don't you mean one foul swoop? Actually, this is my approach too. I even have a secret stash of those contractor-industrial strength-extra large hefty type bags so I can make one trip only.

                                2. ... when the veggie drawer has deflated to half its original height but seems much more liquidy

                                  ... when something's growing on the north side, and you wish it was moss

                                  ... when you start wondering if they were wrong about spontaneous generation

                                  ... when the jelly jars have welded to the shelves

                                  ... when the garlic and ginger look like shrunken-apple dolls

                                  ... when you must put anything you take out into a plastic bag before it leaves the fridge zone, and then won't put it in the trash unless it's taken out immediately

                                  ... when you decide to slip something into a plastic bag, tie it tightly, and put it in the freezer overnight before daring to throw it away

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. When you have to look from under the glass shelf to find what you are looking for because there are so many things on the shelf that you are afraid of things falling out of the fridge when you try to move the items around to find what you are looking for(this probably only makes sense to me).

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. ...when the frost in the freezer has built up to the extent that you can no longer get a single ice cube tray into it without scraping.

                                      1. when a liquid is now a solid or a solid is now a liquid.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: viperlush

                                          I'm not much of a milk drinker, but I always have it around in case I need it in recipes. One time, about a year or so ago, I bought a quart of milk. By the time I got around to cleaning out the fridge, it was a month past it's expiration date. I picked it up and realized the entire container was solid. Completely solid. Immediately took it outside into the trash. I'm just thankful that I had never cracked it open.

                                          1. re: viperlush

                                            Yes, good way to describe it.

                                            State changes, texture changes, color changes, smell changes.

                                            I still don't understand 'well-aged' vs. 'it's gone off' entirely, except that I usually have good radar for avoiding the latter. (Yes, I know, I can go google and wikipedia and howstuffworks it.)

                                          2. you think you dog has taken to hiding in the fridge and it turns out to be a veg/fruit? you can't identify. Wooof!