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What non-obvious things do you store in your fridge?

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I have a problem that is probably alien to many chowhounders.

My fridge is nearly empty.

I'm a single woman, living in a tiny (less than 300sqft) apartment. My fridge rarely contains more that a pitcher of water, a half gallon of milk, and a bunch of freshly-bought fruits and vegetables. I find that any more food tends to goes bad before I get a chance to eat it.

All that empty space irks me.

I'm seriously tempted to start storing my sweaters or cookbooks in there, maybe because I have such limited storage space in general. However, I'd prefer something less wacky (don't want to frighten any company). I thought about pantry items like rice, beans, flour, etc. but I'm worried the humidity will spoil them.

Any suggestions?

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  1. Mrs. B has a refrigerator in her dressing room, and keeps perfumes, and cosmetics there in the summer months.

    1 Reply
    1. re: bagelman01

      And nail polish? Mine is all in the fridge.

    2. I store perfume/cologne, I work in a hospital and we cannot wear perfume as some patients may be sensitive to it, so I only wear scents off duty, A bottle will last me a long time and refrigerating them keeps the scent from dissipating. I have kept a bottle in the fridge for over a year and it still smells good.

      1 Reply
      1. re: sherriberry

        bagelman and sherriberry, this is a great idea - thanks!

      2. Rice and flour in air tight containers or plastic bags will prevent bugs from getting to them or growing if they're already in there.
        Cash is always good.

        6 Replies
        1. re: monku

          :) I wish I had enough cash to fill the fridge, I might be able to get a bigger apartment.

          1. re: albaloo

            Be careful what you wish for. Ex -congressman Jefferson from Louisiana had $90,000 cash in his freezer, and now he is doing 13 years.

            1. re: Veggo

              You know, since we are from New Orleans, I keep looking in all my freezers, and still have not found "cold, hard cash." Bogus - just bogus!

              Golf on Thursday. First round in over two months. Been an odd year here, and then we climb aboard an airplane, and do not return until almost New Years Eve. Hoping to get about six days on O`ahu Northshore, and will ship the clubs over - just in case. Luckily, I have a copy of Golf Digest, with pictures of which end of the club to hold... !

              Take care,

              Hunt

              1. re: Bill Hunt

                I'm waiting impatiently for hurricane season to end before I return to the Caribbean. Cheers and aloha. I still have a couple Cohibas reserved for you.

                1. re: Veggo

                  Yeah, though not as bad, as had earlier been anticipated - yet, hurricane season does seem to be heating up. We're in NOLA in Oct (late for the "season"), and we are hoping that things will be fine.

                  We'd love for EVERY storm to bypass the US.

                  Good friends just moved to the Caribbean, and we've been thinking about them. Luckily, they are not THAT far off of South America, and most storms by-pass them. Let's hope that that continues.

                  Going to London in Oct too, and will stock up, for when you visit. I have some older Vintage Ports, that are just calling to be consumed. We'll get a few winos over.

                  Now - back to the thread: many friends keep their cigars in the fridge. I keep mine in the wine cellar, so that does not count. Still, a box of Cubans in the 'fridge might be apropos.

                  Hunt

                  1. re: Bill Hunt

                    I wish I knew whether food odors in the fridge infiltrate cigars, or not. The temp and humidity, while not ideal, could serve in a pinch. I have a couple humidors and frankly maintaining their humidity is a pain.

        2. my drum sticks...they are better served for me in gigs when they are chilled in the fridge overnight.

          1. No reason why you couldn't keep canned goods there. (The sweaters belong in the oven.)

            7 Replies
            1. re: Glencora

              When i moved in with my S.O., I discovered he stored ammunition in the oven. Luckily I just happened to peek inside before the first time I cranked it on.

              1. re: Firegoat

                !!!

                1. re: Firegoat

                  Beware of firearms in the oven. We have a friend who is a DC cop who stored his gun in the oven. His new girlfriend decided to surprise him with a homecooked meal and unknowingly preheated the oven. When he realized what was happening, he made the mistake of taking the gun out of the oven and stupidly putting the gun under running water which caused it to discharge. Turned into an embarrassing problem as the department launches an internal investigation when an officer's firearm is discharged. Naturally we found it hilarious and thankfully no one was injured.

                  Another friend stored magazines in the oven and nearly burned down her apartment building when another friend turned on the oven without knowing.

                  After typing this, I realize I have the most stupid friends possible! LOL!

                2. re: Glencora

                  "(The sweaters belong in the oven.)"
                  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                  as do shoes. i bet if you polled all the people who've ever lived in an NYC studio, the majority would tell you they've stored shoes & sweaters in their oven at some point.

                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                    Actually, if you store your sweaters and other woolens in the freezer, you'll kill any wool moth larvae without resorting to nasty mothballs.

                    1. re: Beckyleach

                      In one of her movies, Marilyn Monroe said she liked to store her underwear in the freezer.

                      1. re: Parigi

                        7 Year Itch

                3. If you'll freeze your credit card in a big block of ice, maybe soon you'll be able to afford to buy food.

                  1. Bags of rice -- if nothing else, it's good for sore muscles after a workout
                    Cereal -- keeps them nice and crunchy

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: ipsedixit

                      Reminds me of years ago I read somewhere that you could fill up an old sock or other object with uncooked rice then heat it up in the microwave and use for a heating pack....it works great and it holds heat for a long time. You can also re-use just about forever.

                    2. nail polish and batteries

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: baseballfan

                        Did you know the whole batteries in the fridge thing is a myth?

                        1. re: ipsedixit

                          Depends on the battery. Alkaline is a waste of time and these batteries need to be kept cool & dry. But, Nickel Metal Hydride or Nickel Cadmium which are rechargeable batteries, are a whole different story. They lose their power much more quickly, as much as a few percent per day at room temperature. Storing them in the freezer may allow them to retain up to ninety percent of their charge for weeks or even months.

                          But, let's get back to the food!

                      2. My guess would be that you probably don't eat at home much either. Either that, or you hate ketchup? My refigerator is crammed with things like ketchup, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco sauces, soy sauce, jars of kalamata olives, capers, pickled asparagus, artichoke hearts (BIG jar), and lots of other things that make core ingredients and/or garnishes for making food more enjoyable. I'm thinking of getting another refrigerator so I have room for food!

                        With the salmonella problem going on, I've had to make a permanent place for Egg Beaters in addition to pasteurized-in-the-shell eggs. Omelets and fried egg sandwiches are my "go to" don't wanna cook meals.

                        Oh, and brown sugar! Keep it anyplace but in the refrigerator, and it will cake and turn to rock.

                        Meanwhile, store these memories clearly in your mind. The day will come when you will remember them longingly. <sigh> Too much space in the refrigerator. Incredible!

                        19 Replies
                        1. re: Caroline1

                          I actually cook quite a bit, and I have a small collection of the things you mentioned! they only take up half the door though, so that still leaves plenty of space :)

                          I realize this is a rare situation! I used to have roommates that stuffed the fridge, and I'm grateful that I have too much space instead of too little

                          1. re: Caroline1

                            Half of those condiments you listed I keep in the pantry.

                            1. re: LiviaLunch

                              yes, but the OP is looking for things that they can keep in the fridge. a full refrigerator uses less electricity than an empty one as all the things in there help keep an even temperature. the OP also had a shortage of storage space in general, so it might be nice to open up space in the pantry for things that are better not stored in the fridge.

                              1. re: LiviaLunch

                                Are you sure you should? Read the labels. For me, if I don't refrigerate soy sauce, for example (the label says to refrigerate but few people do), I notice a marked change in flavor after a few days. It looses a special ...hmmmm.... what's the world I'm looking for? UMAMI! Yeah! That's the ticket! It looses its umami when I store it unrefrigerated. As do a lot of condiments.

                                1. re: Caroline1

                                  "That's the ticket! It looses its umami when I store it unrefrigerated."
                                  _________________________________________________________

                                  Not true.

                                  Also, I prefer cooking with room temp soy sauce, as opposed to cold soy sauce.

                                  1. re: ipsedixit

                                    You obviously do not have my taste buds. Poor baby! '-)

                                    1. re: Caroline1

                                      If I could only be so blessed ...

                                2. re: LiviaLunch

                                  I keep a ton of stuff in the fridge that could go in the "pantry." My fridge is pretty darn large.

                                3. re: Caroline1

                                  I keep all my nut butters in the fridge, after a bad food poisoning event long ago. Also, cheese-making ingredients (like rennet), sourdough starter, and kefir grains awaiting kefir-making sessions.

                                  You should keep many oils (like sesame and walnut) in your fridge, too, to prevent rancidity.

                                  1. re: Beckyleach

                                    I never keep sesame oil in the fridge...I have a bottle I've had for a couple of years in my pantry (I don't use it often) and it's still good

                                    1. re: Cherylptw

                                      Are you sure? I have one that I accidently left in the pantry, and one that is in the fridge.. and the one in the fridge smell and tastes MUCH better. Nut/seed oils do spoil.

                                      1. re: hungryabbey

                                        Interesting comment, hungryabbey. We just spent a week with a friend of ours. I keep sesame oil in the fridge, she doesn't. Different brands so that could be the difference. But there was a BIG difference.

                                      2. re: Cherylptw

                                        Always keep sesame oil in the fridge.
                                        From past experience it's turned rancid within a year when it's not refrigerated.

                                      3. re: Beckyleach

                                        yes, any oil that won't go hard in the fridge should be stored there, as well as spices, condiments, nuts, seeds, grains, beans, and, of course, drinking glasses

                                        1. re: guilty

                                          Do people still store beer mugs in the freezer? (For the Heineken)

                                          1. re: GraydonCarter

                                            ...I store dishes for my ice cream in the freezer so my ice cream doesn't melt when I eat it.

                                            1. re: monku

                                              sure do! bowls, glasses, smoothie mugs, beer & wine glasses, shot glasses, shakers, and the inserts for the electric ice cream maker, several gel forms that came with platters.

                                      4. re: Caroline1

                                        Second the brown sugar.

                                        1. re: Caroline1

                                          Thanks for the brown sugar tip! Why didn't I ever think of that?

                                        2. film, candles, aloe gel, condiments, ice wine, Dr. Scholl foot gels, medicine, vitamins, neck roll for sore muscles, nuts in one section, food in the other...and the wine cooler has double-duty too..stores far more than wine/beer/mixers.........holding fresh flowers, fresh cut fruit, bread in warm months, pizza dough that is proofing.

                                          8 Replies
                                          1. re: HillJ

                                            What is "film"? :)

                                            1. re: monku

                                              camera film, dear monku :)

                                              1. re: HillJ

                                                I know. I got 35 mm Kodachrome film in my fridge I'm saving for something.

                                                1. re: monku

                                                  and, I realize in the world of digital and photoshop, film is a dinosaur....but I'm going kicking a screaming. I love film, developing and actual photography techniques.

                                                  1. re: monku

                                                    Use the Kodachrome soon. Very few places can even process it any more. December 10 is the last day, then no more. Take some great food shots before it's too late.

                                                    http://boingboing.net/2010/07/23/last...

                                                    And just to stay on topic....

                                                    Living in a year round humid climate I keep lots of pantry goods in the fridge. Rice, beans, flour, sugar (except brown), nuts, as well as canned goods that I am likely to want to use cold (mainly fruit.) In addition i have more condiments in there than I am likely to use before the end of the next decade. Bread does better in the freezer (nuts, and rice do ok in the freeer too.)

                                                    1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                      Thanks for the reminder. 6 rolls of Kodachrome 25 must not go to waste.

                                                  2. re: HillJ

                                                    Second the film... takes up a lot of room actually.

                                                    1. re: hungryabbey

                                                      But, it works just fine years after the expiration date.

                                              2. Cookies, cereal, unopened cans of tuna, and facial cream.

                                                1. I have a few jugs of water in my fridge and freezer to take up space and act as a thermal buffer. I'm told this saves energy. Certainly, I am less worried about power outages, and I always have a big chunk of ice to throw in a cooler.

                                                  I have also done some dieting, recently, and that has really made a big difference in the amount of items in my fridge.

                                                  3 Replies
                                                  1. re: johnseberg

                                                    Great point! One of my problems is that the vast emptiness of the fridge feels wasteful, so sometimes I buy too much food just to fill it... which ends up either on my waistline or in the bin!

                                                    I'll definitely have to consider the thermal capacity of whatever I put in there.

                                                    1. re: albaloo

                                                      Mine is mostly packed with water bottles. They fill up a shelf i don't use that much, and I always have cold icy water on hand for hiking or workouts or just because I'm trying to avoid drinking diet coke.

                                                      1. re: Firegoat

                                                        My fridge has a whole shelf of Diet Coke at all times. I am a hopeless addict.

                                                  2. Beer. For male guests. It keeps for a remarkably long time.

                                                    Heinekin is a good choice, but it wouldn't last very long in my fridge.

                                                    6 Replies
                                                    1. re: GraydonCarter

                                                      What do the female guests get to drink?

                                                      1. re: Firegoat

                                                        Vodka of course! (but that goes in the freezer : )

                                                      2. re: GraydonCarter

                                                        My size 0 and 2 grown daughters are beer lovers. Will they need to cross dress if they come to visit you?!?

                                                        1. re: c oliver

                                                          One should never dress when cross. But knowing one might be denied beer based on gender could possibly make one cross.

                                                          1. re: c oliver

                                                            I just drank the last beer at my house, but if your daughters come to visit, I'll get them anything they want.

                                                            I have a mini-fridge upstairs that holds just drinks: Water, iced tea, beer, bourbon, diet coke.

                                                            I also keep stuff upstairs that I don't want the kids to eat, like I had a dozen eggs for myself.

                                                          2. re: GraydonCarter

                                                            White wine. Cheese. You live without those?

                                                          3. Freezer; Ice sheets, all the flours,flaxseeds, nuts, and polenta (cornmeal)
                                                            Fridge; makeup and sometimes sunscreen, shortening, most condiments i.e., soy sauce, chile paste, etc.

                                                            3 Replies
                                                            1. re: chef chicklet

                                                              How many refrigerators or freezers do you have!!! '-)

                                                              1. re: chef chicklet

                                                                Ice sheets? I can think of many applications.

                                                                I wish I had room in my freezer for a cookie sheet. It is nice to be able to freeze prepared foods individually on parchment paper, rather than in a solid block.

                                                                1. re: GraydonCarter

                                                                  I recently bought a small (4' tall) upright freezer. One of the benefits is being able to freeze things like you describe.

                                                              2. When we lived in the hot and humid South, I put my underwear in frig. Felt great putting it on. When we smoked, cigarettes were always in the freezer. We keep corn meal in the freezer. Since we live in CA and it is rare to have a hard frost, we have kept flower bulbs in the frig, and then planted them in the spring. I have put sprinkled clothes in the frig when I haven't had time to iron them.

                                                                5 Replies
                                                                1. re: Janet

                                                                  Raccoons and squirrels store well in the freezer. It makes them much easier to tan at your leisure and will kill all the mites and fleas too.

                                                                  1. re: Jumbo_Jack

                                                                    I have a dead bird in my freezer. A Bohemian Waxwing that flew into the window above my desk and died. It's so beautiful. I saved it to show to my mom and haven't been able to bury it, though I should eventually. My son thinks it's gross.

                                                                    1. re: Glencora

                                                                      I've stored pheasant skins in the freezer after hunting season before plucking them for craft projects. Works pretty well. My best friend keeps water bottles frozen in the freezer to put inher pet rabbit's cage during the heat of the summer for them

                                                                      1. re: Glencora

                                                                        I've heard if you are afraid of killing a mouse, take the whole sticky sheet in a baggie and freeze it. Then you can throw away the humanely frozen mouse. Not sure exactly how humane feezing to death is, but at least there's no blood.

                                                                        1. re: GraydonCarter

                                                                          I'm glad you didn't include me in the beer invite. :D

                                                                  2. In my fridge:

                                                                    spare cash
                                                                    peanut butter
                                                                    bottles of vinegar

                                                                    in my freezer:
                                                                    several gallons of water in its frozen state
                                                                    a bottle of vodka
                                                                    garbage waiting to go to the compost bin
                                                                    empty plastic bags to be reused for lots of things

                                                                    1. And I just thought of the one obvious thing in my fridge that may seem weird to my friends.... lots of animal medications.... horse/dog etc. And various innoculations for cheeses in the freezer. It just seems so normal to me I didn't think of it.

                                                                      1. I too store my makeup there. Seriously. Especially eye makeup and eye drops. A cooled cream around the eye area is great for toning down puffiness.

                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                        1. re: Parigi

                                                                          I loved cold Noxema from the fridge in the summer when I used to sunbathe. Now I put face masks in the fridge.

                                                                          1. re: free sample addict aka Tracy L

                                                                            Oh, golly. THAT just brought back a wave of nostalgia.

                                                                            I'm going to get some for next summer! (do they still make it? I know the beautiful blue glass jar disappeared years ago....)

                                                                        2. Anything whole grain...whole wheat flour, brown rice...they can go rancid if not stored in the fridge.

                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                          1. re: prunefeet

                                                                            Yes, in fact any type of grain. Any type of nut, too, for similar reasons.

                                                                          2. Commercial bread and hot dog rolls. We don't eat a lot of bread and kept in the fridge in plastic bags, it doesn't get all moldy as quickly. In fact, we had a package of hamburger rolls go over a year without going bad and was nearly as edible as when it was fresh from the store.

                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                            1. re: al b. darned

                                                                              oh I definitely frig or freeze bread here after a day or two. I also read that freezing panty hose would make it more run resistant.... but that may be a myth. Then I changed jobs and quit wearing hose everyday and never found out

                                                                              1. re: al b. darned

                                                                                Yeah, I'd wondered about that burger bun phenom. Then I checked the ingredients and thought, oh well, I guess I'm not surprised after all :)

                                                                              2. I have 2 small 2oz bottles of auto touch-up paint in the fridge. The autobody guy told me to keep them there because high dollar auto paint won't keep long with temp. variations as if you kept it in the garage or a shed. So that's where I keep it !

                                                                                1. I also keep super glue in the fridge. Dad always said it lasted longer if kept in there.

                                                                                  1. Well, back when I was still using silver capture, especially for my large format work, I kept plenty of film in my garage fridge. With my changeover to full digital, I no longer do that.

                                                                                    Hunt

                                                                                    1. Google "frozen dead guy" for a chuckle. I went to the festival in Nederland and had a pretty good time.

                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                      1. re: Veggo

                                                                                        Maybe that was where the two Yemenis were headed?

                                                                                        "Frozen dead guy" eh? I can see why one would need that Pepto Bismol.

                                                                                        Hunt

                                                                                      2. crazy glue, magic markers (wrapped tight), film negatives - yes, i still use an old 35mm pentax from time to time.

                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: epabella

                                                                                          I have years old crazy glue and markers that get no special care and are still fine. In case you run low on fridge space.

                                                                                          1. re: c oliver

                                                                                            still my bumper crop of lemon grass hogging up the veg crisper but i do need some crazy glue. i use up alot of markers to label blank dvds - they never make it back to the fridge.

                                                                                        2. In the freezer, antique oriental rugs, to prevent and kill moth larvae and eggs.

                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                          1. re: OCEllen

                                                                                            I want to see the size of your freezer!! :)

                                                                                          2. Maple syrup. I always thought it was ok in the pantry, then read the label, reinforced by my skeptical online search.

                                                                                            6 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: rcallner

                                                                                              My mother stored her fur coat in the freezer during the summer months, Scared the daylights out of my daughter when she went looking for the ice cream.

                                                                                              1. re: Yemaya

                                                                                                LOL!!! I can picture the look on her face!

                                                                                                1. re: al b. darned

                                                                                                  she still talks about it, 20 years later

                                                                                                  1. re: Yemaya

                                                                                                    Cuban Tree Frogs, from ,guess where...., the exotic species that is eating all the native frogs, geckos, etc. It is the easiest way to dispatch them, just grab them with a plastic sandwich bag ,as a glove, and seal and toss in the freezer.

                                                                                                    1. re: ospreycove

                                                                                                      Oh, if we're going to dive into the non-human consumtion realm, I can add aquarium and "critter" food to the list.

                                                                                              2. re: rcallner

                                                                                                Yes. After my mold incident a few months ago, I started storing it in the fridge as well.

                                                                                              3. rent space to the neighbors