What’s In My Fridge?

If you read this post on our house hunting adventures, you know that the house we are renting is on the market and our lease ends in June.  We thought we had everything figured out.  We thought we wanted to buy a house.  We thought we had a good plan.  Plans are funny things, though, and it turns out our feet are feeling a bit chilly and we aren’t ready to commit to a house or neighborhood just yet.

Instead of buying, we’ll be renting again.  Finding  a decent rental house is tough in this market.  Turns out we aren’t the only ones feeling gun shy when it comes to buying a house.  We did find a good place, though, and are making the move in May.  Fun, fun!

So when I got an email from a reader asking me to do a post featuring what I keep in my refrigerator, I knew it would be a perfect opportunity to clean it out and take inventory of just what’s lurking in there before we move.

I have to warn you.  While I tend to keep my pantry neat and organized, my fridge is a different story. Somehow it ends up with leftovers forgotten in the back for weeks, random splatters that don’t get cleaned right away, and just plain disarray.

Please don’t judge me based on my before pictures.

BEFORE cleaning

What a mess, right?  I started with the items in the side doors.  I pulled everything out so I could clean the shelves and took a good look at all the random things that have no business being in my fridge.  As much as I am anti-wasting food, some things just had to go.  Here are the items that got the axe:

Let me tell you that most of these items were not purchased by me.  When my parents and in-laws come to visit, some less-than-choice food items end up in my house.  Eventually, they get tossed.  Here’s a look at what I threw away and why:

Crisco:  Duh.  I don’t use this crap.  Full of hydrogenated oils and the bad preservative TBHQ.

Hot Dog Relish:  After an ingredient scan, I spotted high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS).

Pinehouse Steak Sauce:  HFCS

TJ’s Free Range Chicken Broth:  Oops.  I didn’t use this fast enough.

Jack’s Grill Steak and Chop Sauce:  HFCS

Apple Bourbon BBQ Sauce:  HFCS

Worcestershire Sauce:  Shame on me.  This is one of the two items in this group that I actually bought.  I had no idea it had HFCS in it.  I’ll have to look for a more natural brand, not that I use it all that often anyway.

Cran-Apple Juice:  My father-in-law’s favorite way to start the day.  I’m working on converting him to a healthier option that isn’t full of sugar.  (Hi, Jack :-) )

Okay, now here’s a look at the condiments that got to stay.

Here’s the run down:

roasted red peppers

tahini (should always be refrigerated once opened)

4 different kinds of mustard

organic ketchup

pure maple syrup (should always be refrigerated once opened)

whole wheat flour

white wine (I buy small bottles for cooking)

rice vinegar

Meijer gold brand taco sauce

Organic Valley cultured butter

blackstrap molasses (keeps best when refrigerated after opening)

sun-dried tomatoes

minced garlic

horseradish sauce

blueberry preserves

organic raspberry preserves

homemade cranberry sauce

mellow white miso

vegetable base

capers

Trader Joe’s peanut satay sauce

organic reduced sodium tamari (I use this instead of soy sauce)

pickles

a bottle of balsamic vinegar dressing (I always keep one bottle of store bought dressing on hand)

quinoa

I have three drawers in my fridge.  Here’s what I keep in each one.

The top drawer:  This is where I keep the cheese and meat (if I happen to have meat).  As you can see, there’s no meat in there right now.  I’ve got:

Organic Valley grated Parmesan

Organic Valley sliced Provolone

Horizon shredded Mild Cheddar (I usually use Organic Valley and like it much better)

alouette crumbled goat cheese

a block of Parmesan

a block of Organic Valley raw mild cheddar

a block of Organic Valley raw sharp cheddar

My middle drawer is where I keep most of my produce, although it often overflows to the main shelves.  Here’s what I happen to have in there today:

baby lettuce

endive

spinach

arugula

cilantro

2 heads of cabbage

carrots

green pepper

2 zucchinis

1/2 tomato

1/2 onion

1/2 lime

1/2 lemon

asparagus

Sadly, the only way to fit all this produce is to use plastic bags.  I wish I had room to stack a bunch of glass containers, but it just wouldn’t work.

My bottom drawer is devoted to some grains, beans, legumes, and flours.  These are all items that are kept fresh longer by being kept in the refrigerator.

After I took everything out of this drawer, it was clear that it’d been waaaaay too long since I’d cleaned it.

Yikes!  Here are the items I have stuffed in the bottom drawer (many of which I forgot I had!):

garbanzo+fava bean flour

bulgur wheat

wheat germ

ground flaxseed meal

brown rice flour

spelt flour

zanthan gum

split peas

all purpose gluten-free flour

sweet white gorghum flour

long grain brown rice

pearled barley

brown jasmine rice

steel cut oats

oat flour

millet

coconut flour

dried chickpeas

Here is the refrigerator AFTER I went through everything and cleaned it:

AFTER cleaning

The other items on the main shelves and not previously mentioned:

a Britta water filter

a single Coor’s lite

So Delicious coconut milk

Almond Breeze unsweetened almond milk

Stonyfield plain organic yogurt

farm fresh eggs

an avocado

arrowroot powder

organic silken tofu

organic vegetable stock

Wild Harvest Organics raspberry applesauce

Wild Harvest Organics unsweetened applesauce

And lots o’ leftovers:

Today is eat-up-all-the-leftovers day!

Are you still with me?  Here’s a quick run down of what I keep in the freezer:

green peas

shelled edamame

green beans

sweet corn

chopped spinach

frozen leftovers

whole flax seeds

white whole wheat flour

whole wheat pastry flour

a random collection of frozen leftovers

I mainly keep the flax seeds and flour in the freezer because the fridge is already stuffed with flours and such.  I didn’t do an after shot of the freezer, but it wasn’t super dramatic anyway.  You get the idea.

I hope more than just the one reader who requested this post will find it interesting.  If nothing else, I have a thorough list of food items that I need to remember to use!

Questions:  What is your food-storing profile:  Do you often forget about certain items in your fridge or freezer?  Or is yours super neat and organized?

Maryea is a stay-at-home mom on a mission to feed her family wholesome, real foods and stay a sane, happy mama at the same time! Click here to get free email updates with her posts:

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About Maryea

I am a wife and a mama who has a passion for healthy living. Happy Healthy Mama is a place for me to share recipes for delicious, wholesome food and my desire to live everyday with great health and happiness.
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24 Responses to What’s In My Fridge?

  1. Kelly says:

    Thank you for posting this! Iam always interested in what is behind people’s fridge doors. Now maybe I can get inspired to clean out my fridge!

  2. I need to whip out my camera and do an inventory like you did! I haven’t in a whiiiile and i’m sure there are forgetten goods hiding! =) I recently found a product we use with HFCS and I was super bummed about it! esp b/c the husband wont let me toss it! haha whoops?

    I’m renting too! and moving! haha we’re going through similar stuff though I’m begging to rent again and the husband wants to buy. I’m scared to start the house hunt! and excited =)

    xoxo

    • Maryea says:

      Good luck with your housing adventures. It is fun to look for a new place, whether it’s buying or renting. So have fun with it! :-)

  3. I need to make more space for my legumes and random flours in my fridge. I love the idea of grocery shopping only once a week, but for all five of us…it just never fits! I love looking into other people’s fridges! We have a lot of the same products. I did a HFCS raid in January and shocked myself what’s slipped in. :)

    We were going to buy last fall and got cold feet as well. Turns out to have been a HUGE blessing. Good luck with the move! Hope you found some LIGHT. :)

  4. Kelli H says:

    I love seeing what is in people’s fridge, so great post!

    I wouldn’t say mine is super organized but my boyfriend and I have a very large refrigerator so no matter what it always looks so empty! I love it though because I always have extra room for stuff. I am definitely not good at keeping it clean though. I sometimes spot pieces of produce that have fallen off in the produce drawer and I always seem to ignore them…shame on me!

    Good job on cleaning your fridge!

  5. So funny that you posted this because I just cleaned out my fridge yesterday :) Ugh – i wish mine was super organized. But I tend to bake a lot and so many of the goodies get stored in plastic containers. I also buy loads of produce and yogurts which take up space. And my husband always asks me why we need 15 kinds of milk :) Most days, we have to take out the Brita pitcher so the milks can fit. Oops. So, my husband would LOVE our fridge to look like yours. :)

  6. Good luck with the move prep and what seems to be a little life uncertainty (or maybe I’m just reading between the lines too much). We went through a tumultuous couple of years that involved way too many major life changes at once and lived in a couple of rental homes during that period, as we weren’t sure what we wanted to do next, nor did we know where we were supposed to be.

    My fridge is usually pretty full, but I tend to rotate things through pretty quickly. My mom has many wonderful qualities, but keeping an organized fridge and pantry is not one of them. I take the opposite approach and keep mine really organized. Some bizarre form of rebellion I suppose. :)

    • Maryea says:

      Thanks, Michelle. You’re not reading between the lines too much; there’s definitely some uncertainty. We’ll figure it out though. I have the love and support of my family and friends, so I can’t really complain. :-)

  7. Lee says:

    Nothing in my house is neat and organized, fridge included. I am going to make a list of all the veggies that I have so I end up eating them. I have a problem with my produce going to waste.

  8. Love the look into your fridge :D I go through phases of keeping my fridge super organized(for a couple days at least, haha) but a lot of the time I let it go till it’s too messy and I have to go through it and clean it every once in a while. I didn’t know blackstrap molasses had to be kept in the fridge! I’m going to move mine :D Thanks for the tip.
    Hope everything about your move goes smoothly. We bought our first house almost 3 years ago and it was terrifying! I don’t blame you at all for being nervous about it. I’m glad you’ve found a decent place to rent, that is so hard no matter where you live I think.

  9. Trisha says:

    I hate STARTING the chore of cleaning out the fridge…but I always LOVE the result. I love opening it up and seeing things clean and organized!

  10. Helen says:

    I so need to do an inventory and clean up job in several areas of my house. Spring break is coming so spring cleaning will soon be under way :)

  11. Candy says:

    I didn’t know about storing molasses in the fridge–so thank you! Also, I’ve always kept rice vinegar in the cupboard, but that should be refrigerated too?

  12. Angel7 says:

    Sometimes I forget about the leftovers. But other than that, our fridge is pretty neat. I always clean up any spills when they occur, so that helps.

    http://faithfulsolutions.blogspot.com/

  13. Julie says:

    I will take the blame for this post :) But I’m so glad you did it!!! Thanks so much! I have some of those items in my pantry and I guess I need to get them into the fridge. I wasn’t sure what lasts longer where so thank you so much! :) You are wonderful for doing that.

  14. Amber says:

    So glad you posted this! I love peaking at what others love to buy. I like to think that my fridge is pretty organized….but my freezer….another story. I really need to start labeling when I purchase things because I don’t always remember how long everything has been in there. Oops!

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  16. Barely says:

    Awesome post! I love peeking in on this kind of stuff. I wish I had the will to clean my fridge lol. I have a ton of sauces with hfcs that need to go! I hate throwing food away though :(

  17. Gosh…I don’t refrigerate my tahini! And for some reason I only have my flaxseed and whole wheat flours in the fridge, but not the others! I’ll have to check out my rice vinegar. Fridge looks good!

    • Maryea says:

      The health food store here has all their flours in a refrigerated room, so I figured I should refrigerate them all, too.

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