Organizing Archives

April 21st, 2010

The Refrigerator Door

The Table of Condiments That Periodically Go Bad

I saw a post on The Happy Housewife that got me thinking about condiments. Just like everyone else I know, I have often found myself with duplicates and old jars and bottles of sauces, salsas, and other condiments that were questionable and I inevitably ended up throwing a bunch of them away. When I was in college I moved 8 times in four years and I still can’t believe that some of my condiments made it through all those moves and even all the way from Maryland to New York when I moved after college (some only to be thrown away when I found the “Table of Condiments That Periodically Go Bad”). My relationship with condiments was “can’t get enough” (mayo) and “can’t imagine how on earth a person would make it” (pesto). Over the last few years I tried to keep less condiments around, and have finally found success in the last few months when we drastically changed the way we eat.

Learning to Make My Own

I learned to make pesto, pizza sauce, pasta sauce, and yes even mayonnaise! They are all surprisingly simple and you can make just what you need so there are no more jars lining your fridge. (Save that space for beer! Think of all the plastic you’re saving too!) Or if you want to make a large batch, a lot of sauces and condiments can be frozen in serving sizes and then thawed when you need them. A great way to do this is to freeze them in an ice cube tray and then move them to a long term storage container once frozen. Pesto works wonderfully for this and tastes much better than the store bought jars. The only condiments I keep in the refrigerator now are brown mustard and maple syrup. Everything else I make or live without (and we haven’t missed it).

Make an Un-Shopping List

If you can’t imagine going that extreme, here’s another idea I had. Next time you clean out your fridge, make an un-shopping list with the items you threw out. Leave the list on the refrigerator door. Each time you clean it out, add tick marks to the bottles you’re throwing out again and write down any new items. The list can help you see how much money you’re throwing out and if there are any patterns. It would make me think twice before buying those items or at least see if I could find a smaller size. We think we’re saving money per ounce when we buy big jars but we’re actually spending more if we throw it away.

Some Recipes

Here are my recipes for pesto and another for fresh pizza sauce that can be made in minutes if you want to give it a go.