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Aug 3, 2013 11:45 AM

Battling "condimentia"

I can't take credit for that term but if it were in the dictionary, a photo of my open refrigerator could accompany the definition. I have multiple jars of opened preserves, several types of mustard, bottled dressings (store brands on sale for less than the cost of making them), Asian pastes and sauces, and on and on. They take up at least half of the real estate in there, which is a problem given the current local produce bounty.

My mother had fridge claustrophobia - she'd shop three times a week so she could reach anything in her refrigerator without having to move something else. On the rare occasions when she had more than one jar of jam going, as soon as they were half-empty she'd combine two into one jar, maybe stirring, maybe just layering. I have combined my 6 jars of fruity dregs into one. And I've Frankensteined some French Blue Cheese Dressing (something Marzetti or Marie's used to make). Beyond that, I'm at a loss. Can any Hounds recommend some tasty, less-obvious dreg melanges?

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  1. Very messy, but space saving: sometimes I'll spoon that 1/2 jr of whatever into a ziploc bag, squeeze out the air, and just fridge it that way. All those jars take up primo real estate.

    4 Replies
    1. re: pine time

      This sounds like a promising idea! I need to find a way to keep all my ziplock bags from sliding around in the fridge, too - maybe clear boxes to stack them in?

      But, yes, I too, suffer from condimentia. It must be half my fridge. How can I possibly throw away my stash of relishes and preserves from Fortnum and Mason (although I only eat about two tablespoons a week)? And the good soy sauce comes in such a giant bottle. And I *need* that chili garlic paste for my oatmeal in the morning. And I really only use curry catsup when I cook Austrian food - once a month?
      Edited to say: where am I supposed to put all of my tsukemono? There really needs to be a special drawer.

      1. re: khh1138

        Yeah, I organize my ziplocked condiments by type in a small plastic container.

          1. re: pine time

            I do that in non-fridged items, esp. spices.

      2. I sympathize with you I just cleaned my fridge. My husband is a dab saver. Stuff I would have pitched he hangs on to. Then when I do a clean out he's not sure what some of those dabs are.

        1. I often mix dregs of chili sauces and relishes with mayonnaise, with or without mustard, as a spread for panini. The dregs of ponzu, hoisin, etc. often end up in melange stir fries or marinades. We've all squeezed the last bit of blue cheese dressing out of the bottle by adding vinaigrette and shaking. Sometimes condiment dregs fuse with vegetable drawer dregs (although vegetable drawer dregs are more rare now that I make vegetable broth with scraps). One of my better condiment/produce fusions was the last few green olives and half and orange with a few sad pork chops. Also I engage in using dairy dregs,like the last spoon of sour cream stirred into a tomato and meat Bolognese wannabe.

          1 Reply
          1. re: tim irvine

            if you have the dregs of hoisin sauce, you can mix them with the dregs from the jar of peanut butter, and you have the beginnings of a thai peanut sauce

          2. You would certainly like a religious-themed postcard I once saw in San Francisco. It had ten small photos of various items and was headlined The Ten Condiments.

            1. Condiments improve life. They are deserving of their own dedicated refrigerator. No milk, no produce drawers, no egg shelves, no butter box.
              Condiments. Lots of condiments.

              6 Replies
              1. re: Veggo

                We have one of those "dorm" fridges that I'm seriously considering moving condiments to. This is a real problem for us.

                1. re: c oliver

                  I have 2 small fridges, one in the outdoor kitchen and one in the outdoor tiki bar. Both are filled with condiments. I can't stop myself.

                  1. re: sedimental

                    We have a garage fridge.. that has the "seldom used but must have" stuff in it

                    1. re: girloftheworld

                      High heat in summer and frigid winter temps make an unheated garage not a sensible place for us to have a fridge.

                2. re: Veggo

                  A few weeks ago, after the condiments had finally taken over half the fridge, I took a few hours off work and went to HD and bought an 11 cubic ft fridge/freezer. I put it in the garage right next to the kitchen door, and put all the pickled things, sauces, jams, soup bases and nuts in there that don't get used daily.
                  The top is an actual freezer section, not one of those little doors within the fridge. The bags of rhubarb and cherries that we froze recently went in there, along with the freezer packs for the picnic cooler, the frozen pizzas and some breads.
                  Meanwhile, we have been cooking 'out of the freezer', using up what's in the kitchen freezer. Now we can actually dig around and find stuff in there, and the freezer drawer is easier to close! I feel so...decadent.