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Jan 21, 2009 05:27 AM

is your refrigerator stuffed so full with condiments and fresh foods that you could not possibly put in another thing without being a rubik's cube champion?

well, that's pretty much the question.

i'm there, for real. some condiments are gonna have to be de-fridgerated in order to put in that new stash of eggs on which i got a good deal.

um, freezer, too.

we used to have a second fridge with freezer, but since it died, we have *tried* to use up the food in one.

but the biggest problem is really the metric ton of condiments.

am i alone?

i am blessed to have such bounty, i *do* know that.

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  1. Short answer for our fridge: No.

    It sounds like it's time for a clean-out in your home fridge. I'm not going to get into a discussion of sell by versus use by dates and whether or not things are good or bad, but if you can't even put more stuff in your fridge, it's time to re-organize and re-evaluate what needs to stay and what needs to go. In other words, take a look at the expiration dates of everything and toss what's too old.

    Also, be a neat freak about it. Really organize what goes where and line everything up nice and neatly. It's not just personal preference, organizing your fridge so that it looks nice usually means you have no wasted space. Conversely, tossing everything in there so that it's all haphazard makes things incredibly hard to find and wastes space.

    5 Replies
    1. re: HaagenDazs

      use by dates on black bean paste, and the like? nah. clean out & re-org, yes. but i'm thinking a lot of these condiments do not need refrigeration.

      oh, those condiments primarily take up space organized in metal mesh trays i bought at container store. six of them.

      1. re: alkapal

        Hey to each their own, like I said I'm not going to argue the case of use by/best by dates, but really think about what you're saving and why you're saving it. If you haven't used it in a year, it's time to toss it out.

        1. re: HaagenDazs

          hd, thanks for your advice.

          i guess i just really want to know if other hounds find themselves in the same boat, so to speak.

          you are not in the same boat. you are probably in a cigarette boat, skimming over sunny biscayne bay. i may be in a canoe, hiding by the mangroves in the caloosahatchee river. ;-).

          1. re: alkapal

            alkapal - our fridge tends to look a lot like yours. unfortunately! in our household there are two different minds. i want neat, organized, and spare. my spouse: not so much. i want to modify our cooking to conform to using up whatever condiments and ingredients (usually expensive) we have. my spouse: not so much. sometimes it drives me crazy. but usually we work out a compromise. it is the price I pay for living with a wonderful person who COOKS FOR ME two or three times each week. i mentally add up the lost money, when we throw such items out, but rarely express aloud, because i believe in avoiding world war iii. my grandmother, a survivor of the great depression, lived with our family - i cannot explain my belief in moderation any other way! but, i do compromise. We both compromise a lot.

        2. re: alkapal

          alkapal, I'm with you. I am looking at the same fridge, condiments that are from all over the world, or at least used by the people there of.
          And you are right, the shelf life for those things like black bean paste, fish sauce, are just not like the perishables we have in the American market. My top shelf in the fridge is designated for condiments not used daily, mainly because its the best place for them.
          I just have resolved that I am a cook that goes by emotion, and right now its samosas. I think I need some new condiments, don't I?

      2. I love condiments (mustards are my downfall), but I make sure that they either go in the door, OR on the 2nd shelf (tall bottles go in the back of the top shelf). I have a smaller fridge than most, considering I live alone, so I have to restrict the location so I *do* have enough room for regular food. :-)

        I have a chest freezer in the basement, so that takes the bulk of my frozen food. The fridge freezer is jammed, however, with small Gladware containers of a half cup of mango sauce, about 5-6 1/2 cup containers of plum ketchup (I make a batch in the summer and try to remember to use it in the winter), bits of this and that; I'll bring up a box of whatever from the basement freezer and try and fit it in the upstairs freezer; several containers of sorbet or gelato that I'm still not sure if I like or dislike so they stay upstairs for me to take a taste of to see if I *do* like it, etc.

        I'm *trying* to work through my upstairs freezer and use things (just found 4 bags of wild Maine blueberries - some store-bought, some that I ziplocked myself after purchase at a farm stand). Used one of the bags in a lemon-blueberry sour cream cake on Sunday; unfortunately, they remained too wet and the cake didn't set up properly (or my oven temp is off - need to check that).

        I have an inventory list of what's in the chest freezer downstairs that I cross off or change quantities when I take something from it; I seriously need to do that with the upstairs freezer. :-)

        1. There's always room for one more!

          Recent tragedy: At work, near the end of the year, there was notice of clearing out all food. So, anything I did want to keep in terms of main dishes, etc, I took, and I helped the process by throwing out the old leftovers of mine I wasn't going to risk eating. The next day I came in, the guy who did the deed took the order literally and really did throw out EVERYTHING. No checking dates, nothing. So, I lost all these condiments incl. soy sauce, hot sauce, salad dressing, etc - that I use regularly.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Dennis S

            I'm the person who gets this job and the real tragedy is that one person has to be responsible for other people's junk. Over the holidays, I decided to clean out the fridge at my office, gave everyone a week's warning, and then commenced to purge the fridge. There were tupperwares in there that had their own ecosystems. It was rough.

            On the flip side, the things that were labeled got date checks. Maybe try that?

            1. re: adrienne156

              I think with the warning that all the tupperware, etc, go without checking. But condiments? There weren't too many in general, either (I could see it if half the fridge was condiments).

          2. We aren't quite to the point of having to squeeze things in, but we do have enough hot sauce to last three lifetimes. I'm a sucker for that stuff, even though most of the time when cooking I just use cayenne for heat...

            1. I would say more of a tetris champion but for the most part, yes.
              My pantry too.


              1 Reply
              1. re: Davwud

                my thoughts exactly. tetris indeed.