HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >
Do you create unique foods? Tell us about it

Protecting some foods from refrigerator odors? What odors? My ref doesn't have ODORS!

Sam Fujisaka Jul 19, 2009 05:12 PM

People have posted about the need to protect some foods from refrigerator odors. What're those? I don't have durian and unwashed socks in my refrigerator. What odors will my cheese left out on a small plate in the ref pick up? I sniff around in there, but have yet to detect any off or foul odors.

  1. pikiliz Jul 19, 2009 05:19 PM

    I have put half an onion in a ziploc and popped it in the veg bin and have smelled it the next day,not over whelming but still there it was

    6 Replies
    1. re: pikiliz
      Sam Fujisaka Jul 19, 2009 05:25 PM

      I wrap and tightly twist shut the occasional onion half in palstic wrap to minimize contact with air.

      1. re: Sam Fujisaka
        pikiliz Jul 19, 2009 05:36 PM

        I got kids they open everything

        1. re: Sam Fujisaka
          Veggo Jul 19, 2009 07:48 PM

          I do onion halves, limburger the same way, with Saran Wrap. Even my pet waste until pickup day is Saran wrapped in the freezer- things get a little odoriferous here in the Florida summer otherwise.

          1. re: Veggo
            EWSflash Aug 5, 2009 08:59 AM

            My dad always kept his limburger in a glass jar. wrapped in plastic and then put in the jar.

          2. re: Sam Fujisaka
            MMRuth Jul 20, 2009 05:29 PM

            I either wrap the occasional onion half in foil or put it in a ziploc bag. Have never encountered any odors as a result of that.

          3. re: pikiliz
            chowser Aug 5, 2009 08:42 AM

            On an impulse buy, I picked up a tupperware half onion/tomato holder and love it. You hang it on the shelf so you don't lose half an onion (which I did too often) and it's reusable.


          4. s
            small h Jul 19, 2009 06:46 PM

            My cohabitant complains that the smell of my awesome Hooligan cheese permeates the fridge and is gross. So I have to wrap it in wax paper AND stash it in a plastic pint container (what the hell do we call generic Tupperware?). To me, it is an aroma. To him, it is a stink. Chacun à son odeur.

            3 Replies
            1. re: small h
              Sam Fujisaka Jul 19, 2009 07:12 PM

              My last cohabitant would have just eaten the cheese. That's why I wrap cheeses the same way - so thay won't give themselves away.

              1. re: small h
                c oliver Jul 19, 2009 07:39 PM

                Perhaps buy your "cohabitant" a little dorm fridge and he/she can store his/her own freakin' food.

                I'm with Sam. I must have six to eight different cheeses in the fridge right now. No odor --- and I have a VERY sensitive nose - just ask my husband. Get a life, nosey-people.

                1. re: c oliver
                  small h Jul 20, 2009 02:06 PM

                  The complaints are annoying, but less annoying than coming home to find my cheese has disappeared into someone's gullet! Sam practices stealth; I rely on aversion.

              2. Passadumkeg Jul 19, 2009 07:40 PM

                Hey, I leave my kim chi in an open, uncovered bowl and everything else, including my limburger cheese smells just like kin chi. I love kin chi flavored butter for my scrambled eggs.

                1. Scargod Jul 19, 2009 08:12 PM

                  Sometimes ours smells like rotten food. I don't clean it out too often. I wrap EVERYTHING, except takeout/to go things are already packaged. I don't re-wrap them. I keep everything else in zip-locks. Still, I think something died in there! I don't like to throw things away.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Scargod
                    kattyeyes Jul 20, 2009 05:38 PM

                    You and Janey should compare notes. My mom is classic for the "what's that smell in the fridge" game because something forgotten has died/grown mold there. YUCK! I suppose you have one of those freezers so stuffed that things come flying out. Thank god it skips a generation--my mom and her sister both had the attack freezers, likely to spring flying frozen meat to hit you right in the toe. Owwwwww!

                  2. m
                    moh Jul 19, 2009 08:51 PM

                    My fridge has odors, no doubt. Not a bad thing! I consider it a badge of honour. But odors it has many.

                    Can't really be helped, I like stinky food. If the odors are not there, there is something really wrong with the food item.

                    We have been fermenting kimchi in the fridge, and after returning from our holiday in Italy (report coming soon I hope!), we found that it had overflowed. the smell was quite powerful when we opened the fridge, and it has permeated many a food item, including the butter (as Passa mentioned above). Oh well.

                    We also always have a large number of cheeses around, including many raw milk gems, and some of these can get fairly powerful. Again, it wouldn't be the same if it didn't exert its olfactory qualities.

                    I currently have a high quality KOrean shrimp paste in the fridge in preparation of a kimchi-making session coming soon. We are making my mother's famous stuffed cucumber kimchi, I can't wait! That will add yet another odor to the fridge. The shrimp paste itself is a relatively mild smell, but I have a feeling it would put off those who were not used to it.

                    We have a bunch of leftovers from Indian Take-out - wow you have to love the smell of all those curries and pickles.

                    We have been gorging on strawberries, all the local Quebec ones, and so our fridge is stuffed with berries. Also lends to odors in the fridge, although I think most people tolerate fruity berry smells pretty well.

                    Fortunately, most of the odors in our fridge are strong food odors, not rotting food odors. But I suspect there are those who would find the odors in our fridge off-putting. I have a very sensitive nose, but as long as it is a good food smell, I am very tolerant.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: moh
                      c oliver Jul 19, 2009 08:58 PM

                      Eloquent and elegant.

                      1. re: moh
                        Sam Fujisaka Jul 19, 2009 09:02 PM

                        moh, I'd love to be there at your ref. Those aren't odors, those are fragances.

                      2. alanbarnes Jul 19, 2009 09:18 PM

                        Mine neither. Most of the time. But recently I made a huge batch of meatballs and popped them in the freezer for a couple of hours to firm up before being vacuum-sealed.

                        Let's just say that the flavors of vanilla ice cream and garlic do not play well together.

                        7 Replies
                        1. re: alanbarnes
                          Sam Fujisaka Jul 19, 2009 09:22 PM

                          Odors transferred in the FREEZER??? You really could taste the garlic in the vanilla ice cream? I wanna try your meatballs.

                          1. re: Sam Fujisaka
                            alanbarnes Jul 19, 2009 09:26 PM

                            I was pretty impressed too. The kids - not so much. (With the ice cream. They like the meatballs.)

                          2. re: alanbarnes
                            c oliver Jul 19, 2009 09:35 PM

                            Sounds like you're headed to Gilroy for the garlic festival!

                            1. re: alanbarnes
                              moh Jul 19, 2009 09:37 PM

                              Alanbarnes, your meatballs sound great!

                              As for the combination of vanilla ice cream and garlic, well, that sounds rather like the description of durian. I'd be game to try it! And there are certainly people out there who would appreciate this combo, including the organizers of the Gilroy Garlic Festival. I believe they routinely serve garlic ice cream. But I could see that your kids might not be as enamoured of the mix.

                              1. re: alanbarnes
                                Scargod Jul 20, 2009 05:41 AM

                                Did you fashion them after the famous "Schweaty Meat Balls" ? I heard they were high in garlic. Also, a question: Did the meatballs take on any hint of vanilla?

                                1. re: alanbarnes
                                  kattyeyes Jul 20, 2009 05:00 PM

                                  Alan, next time you should make Chef's Chocolate Salty Balls instead of meatballs. They'd go better with the vanilla ice cream, I suspect. ;)

                                  1. re: kattyeyes
                                    alanbarnes Jul 20, 2009 05:29 PM

                                    Good with a side of love gravy.


                                2. ipsedixit Jul 19, 2009 10:19 PM

                                  Unless you are storing rotten or spoiled food items, you shouldn't have refrigerator odors.

                                  1. h
                                    hsk Jul 19, 2009 10:48 PM

                                    I think it refers to odours from some foods going into others and not necessarily enhancing them. My refrigerator doesn't have odours either, because everything is in jars or covered with plastic wrap (even when there's green fuzz growing inside, but that's a different issue).

                                    I'm sure if you made a habit of storing different things in the refrigerator uncovered you'd notice a LOT of odours, probably all pleasant but not necessarily ideal for everything.

                                    1. Gio Jul 20, 2009 05:20 PM

                                      On topic, I have to say there are no odours or odors or fragrances or even aromas in my fridge. No way, no how. Every thing is either wrapped in plastic wrap or in tightly sealed refrigerator storage containers. Never should the smells converge. Oh, and that goes for the freezer too.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: Gio
                                        Scargod Jul 20, 2009 07:35 PM

                                        Doesn't even smell of disinfectant? Plastic?

                                        1. re: Scargod
                                          Gio Jul 21, 2009 06:05 AM

                                          Nope.....Just nice and clean. In each crisper bin there is a disc which preserves produce longer than a week. This is a big help when I haven't used all the veggies within a few days. They're called "Extra life discs." Here's a link:

                                          I think it's essential not to cram stuff into the fridge. Air needs to circulate to keep the food fresh. That's why we usually shop twice a week, Wed. & Sat. That's my secret for an odor-free fridge. Oh... and the weekly cleaning inside & out.

                                      2. Passadumkeg Jul 21, 2009 05:35 AM

                                        I am sitting in Scargod's kitchen as I type and can attest that his fridge has the finest kind mixed aromas of Texas red chile, tomatillo green chile, left over BBQ'd tuna and chipotle lamb chops.

                                        13 Replies
                                        1. re: Passadumkeg
                                          Scargod Jul 21, 2009 06:57 AM

                                          I just bought a three-pack of what Gio was recommending above so I could be more PC. That and I can't eat my veggies fast enough.

                                          1. re: Scargod
                                            Gio Jul 21, 2009 07:08 AM

                                            Another crutch you can use is an open box of Arm & Hammer baking soda on a shelf in the back. It absorbs odors....I've used it for years.

                                            1. re: Gio
                                              Scargod Jul 23, 2009 07:12 AM

                                              I've done that before. I would have to put a case in there.... not enough room.
                                              My fridge REEKS of garlic right now.
                                              Soda doesn't last for years. ;<')

                                              1. re: Scargod
                                                c oliver Jul 23, 2009 08:26 AM

                                                Why does your fridge reek of garlic, S-man?

                                                1. re: c oliver
                                                  Scargod Jul 23, 2009 03:22 PM

                                                  Huge package of skinned garlic cloves with a big hole in the plastic on one end. Now in zip-lock.

                                                  1. re: Scargod
                                                    c oliver Jul 23, 2009 03:25 PM

                                                    Aha! That's pretty boring :) I was anticipating something really good. I've never bought those. I'm quite adept with the side of my knife when I'm not threatening Bob with the pointy end :)

                                                    1. re: c oliver
                                                      Scargod Jul 23, 2009 03:43 PM

                                                      I am not lazy; I was anticipating using a lot of garlic. There are plenty of things in the fridge, stinking it up! Cheeses, meats, herbs...
                                                      I don't get fridges that don't smell. Not much is happenin' out of them. Too much cleaning and not enough cookin'.

                                                      1. re: Scargod
                                                        c oliver Jul 23, 2009 03:53 PM

                                                        Cupcake, I would NEVER accuse YOU of laziness!!!

                                                        1. re: Scargod
                                                          Passadumkeg Jul 23, 2009 05:33 PM

                                                          Scar I kind of like the eau d' boef lingua in your fridge. damn, I wish I brought some home. And those Texas ribs. Also there *a lot* of Koren left overs that are garlic laced. Don't forget to eat the steak tatar and the raw squid before they crawl out!

                                                2. re: Gio
                                                  KTinNYC Jul 23, 2009 10:44 AM

                                                  Sorry but the backing soda absorbing odors is a myth.


                                                  1. re: KTinNYC
                                                    Gio Jul 23, 2009 10:49 AM

                                                    LOL... Sorry, but it works for me. Or maybe my fridge is just ultra clean....

                                                    1. re: Gio
                                                      Sam Fujisaka Jul 23, 2009 01:18 PM

                                                      see, Joe, there aint no odors in our refs.

                                                      1. re: Sam Fujisaka
                                                        Gio Jul 23, 2009 01:44 PM

                                                        Yep. Doin' my happy dance ovah heah.

                                            2. KaimukiMan Jul 21, 2009 06:19 AM


                                              try leaving an uncovered glass of water in your refrigerator for about 24 or 30 hours, then taste it. im guessing it will have picked up some flavors.

                                              4 Replies
                                              1. re: KaimukiMan
                                                Sam Fujisaka Jul 21, 2009 06:22 AM

                                                Glass is now in the ref: meet me here in 24 hours!

                                                1. re: Sam Fujisaka
                                                  KaimukiMan Jul 23, 2009 02:18 PM

                                                  had a cold yesterday.... what did you find?

                                                  1. re: KaimukiMan
                                                    Sam Fujisaka Jul 23, 2009 03:58 PM

                                                    It tasted better. The slight chlorine smell had dissipated. No new smells were detected. I did find the stinkiest thing in the ref: my homemade daikon pickles. Stinky and good.

                                                    1. re: Sam Fujisaka
                                                      KaimukiMan Jul 23, 2009 06:00 PM

                                                      then you do indeed have an immaculate icebox. and the daikon sounds great.

                                              2. shaogo Jul 21, 2009 07:10 AM

                                                We keep the refrigerator clean, but with the amount of exotic stuff we have in there, odors happen.

                                                I find that if I buy too much butter, and it has a chance to sit for a couple of weeks, it picks up odors (even though the wax paper around the sticks is intact). No specific odor, just a "stale" kinda funk going on. I've taken to wrapping the sticks that're not in use in a sturdy zip-lock freezer bag (but in the fridge).

                                                1. e
                                                  emmaleeb Jul 21, 2009 07:22 AM

                                                  I don't think it's necessarily a matter of bad odours, but just of general food smells that are transferred to other foods.

                                                  Like, have you ever put a glass of milk back in the fridge uncovered? I bet you it will taste like whatever is in your fridge in a few hours. Onions, leftovers, whatever.

                                                  Same thing with milkshakes or ice cream in the freezer. I don't know what it is about dairy, but it seems to pick up on alot of the other foods' aromas, even if they are subtle or basically undectable by scent.

                                                  Show Hidden Posts