Wednesday, September 18, 2013

a shameful secret revealed

It's gonna get gross later, so I thought I'd lead off with something cute like a photo of puppies...or Team Testosterone sleeping in a huddle on the floor the other morning.

Every spring and fall I dig out this list of what I should do to keep Chez Green Girl humming along like clockwork.  I'm the primary tender of this nest, if something breaks, I fix it.  If something gets dirty, I clean it.  If something wears out, I replace it.  Many of you envy this glamorous job because I wear an apron and get to work with power tools, but it's not all sparkle and rainbows.  The list is full of nuggets like "clean and store window screens" and "empty and store rain barrels" and "scrub down woodwork."

Since I need to go grocery shopping later today, I decided to embark on the Biannual Fridge Sanitation Event.  It's a nasty job, made less horrible if I actually stick to doing it twice a year.  Trust me, slacking on the fridge never pays off.  You'll soon see why.

While listening to NPR this morning after shooing the kids off to school,  I laid newspapers on the floor, emptied the entire works, scrubbed down the shelves and drawers and loaded it up again.  Whatever's super gross got thrown out or composted.  Rediscovered Tupperware got washed and put back into circulation.  I'm glad to report that I've become MUCH better about food waste and the Biannual Fridge Sanitation Event generates a lot less garbage than in years past.

Check out the bottom bin--no longer a compost bin but a genuine FRESH PRODUCE bin!

Check out that fridge!  Sparkling clean!  Clean enough to eat out of!


And here's the pile headed for the compost bin.  Now, a lot of that stuff came out of my garden, like that moldy zucchini on the left and that bucket o' beans on the right.  The lemon, oranges and apples are the only things I paid good money for at the store so I could put them in the fridge to rot and fester before throwing them away.

What's the deal with the green shopping bag, Green Girl?

Ah, well you should ask.  Each fall I take the kids to a local apple orchard and we pick a bunch of fruit.  Last November I had this bag of leftover apples sitting on the back porch and they'd become "questionable," a term used for describing food I know might still be okay to eat, but probably won't eat, so I put it back in the fridge until it becomes a mold colony or other comparable lab experiment.

Last November I moved that bag of "questionable" apples from the porch to the bottom bin of the fridge.  I had a vague idea of making sauce or a pie with them.  Then I ignored the bag until springtime.  Sure, I knew it was there, but it became an inconvenience throughout the winter, a dark and horrible place at the bottom of the fridge, tucked into a drawer.  During the springtime Biannual Fridge Sanitation Event I opened the bin and promptly shut it.  Those apples were still "questionable," I argued while remaining in denial.  Perhaps, I thought, those apples will dry out and we can eat them for snacks.  And if I let them dry out enough, they won't be a juicy fermenting mess and then I can use that shopping bag again.


Guess what, reader?  The produce bin in the bottom of your fridge does NOT operate like a dehydrator.  As evidenced in the photograph above, produce will get soft and mushy and grow a powdery (and probably toxic) mold upon its surface if left in the produce bin for a year.

Apple FAIL.  I threw that shopping bag is in the garbage (along with some expired cole slaw, a bottle of old BBQ sauce and the remains of a chicken dish I recall making sometime in early June).  

The food cycle is nearly complete, however, as Team Testosterone and I have plans to go apple picking next week. 

Spill it, reader.  One thing you KNOW is fermenting in your fridge right now that you should've thrown out quite a while ago. 

21 comments:

  1. Ew, that last photo of the moldy apples was gross, you are right. Yeah it is good to clean the refrigerator every so often, rather a boring task.

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  2. Hilarious and timely! Just this morning I grabbed a container of mushrooms that leaked juice all over my hand...and the bin. After I finish dry heaving, maybe I'll tackle the produce bin.

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  3. Currently sitting in the produce bin: a whole bag of cauliflower, cut up and ready to roast, that never got roasted. I've been watching it get black spots --once it gets enough of them I'll feel that I can throw it in the compost :-)

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  4. I think there is a small container of left over cream cheese frosting, a bag of grated cheese, and something on the very top shelf right under the freezer behind the calf vaccines that I haven't looked at in a long time. A Biannual fridge cleaning would be a very good idea. Kudos to you for the fortitude.

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  5. Honestly, nothing in my fridge is fermenting right now, because I go through it with a fine tooth comb every week. True story.

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  6. Having grown up in a house where moldy food was front and center in the family fridge, I keep good control over my own refrigerator. I go through it about once a week. Leftovers are tossed after a week, produce gets tossed if it's bad although I am pretty good at creatively using up elderly produce.

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  7. My fermenting foods are purposely fermenting - like my sourdough starter, kombucha mother, cukes.

    However, this morning I cleaned the outside of my fridge - took everything down, sorted through papers, wiped it all down and ended up cleaning up all around the fridge. The greek yogurt that I dropped a few months ago? Next time you need to repair a plaster wall, just spackle it with that. Dried like cement behind the fridge.

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  8. I just threw out some liquidy broccoli today. The fridge gets cleaned out regularly, mostly because we don't have many Tupperware bowls and need them back. Not much produce gets wasted, as I always have the chickens to eat fruit that has gone past what the kids and I consider edible but is perfect for the birds.

    The freezer, on the other hand...

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  9. Stir fried veggies in my large glass bowl. It's been a few weeks in the fridge and I hate emptying bowls past their prime, so I let it sit for a few more weeks until its completely rancid. I'm sure there a few other sour cream containers filled with various leftovers that are growing green fur. I'm glad I'm not the only one that let's things fester longer than necessary.

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  10. We keep up with the fridge pretty well, thanks to clear glass shelves and bins (and a husband who hates to waste anything). However, I had just scrubbed it down 10 days ago (avoiding other work that was a much bigger task, like my piles of clutter that are reproducing at an alarming rate)... meaning it was time for someone to spill and make a royal mess. Enter SuperDad who forgets that thawing a pork roast in the fridge means you have to place it in a big enough container to catch ALL of the drippings. Gah!!! He wiped up the most obvious but now I have to scrub the entire fridge again. *sigh*
    Onions and the tail ends of carrots, celery, and assorted odds and ends are what like to hide in the back of the produce drawer under the fresher, newer stuff. I prefer if SuperDad does not tell me when he uses it. He's been known to try to serve the "good half" of a moldy orange. Icky. If I find it, I hustle it to the compost before he notices where it went!

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  11. I have found things similar to your apples in my fridge. Right now it's not too bad, but I'm saying that without actually looking, which is safer than looking.

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  12. When I don't feel like tackling the refrigerator as a whole, I'll do one or two shelves a day. Somehow I can seem to manage that better. I've thrown away soggy bags of cut up cucumbers, lettuce, a moldy halved-lemon. Yesterday I threw out three frozen shredded zucchini that I've had for over a year. I figured that it had so much ice on it that it probably wouldn't taste good. Oh. And I have about 8 black bananas in my freezer waiting for me to use.

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  13. At home, it's usally a cucumber that escapes and dies a horrible, liquid death. Not only am I the keeper of the fridge at home, I am also the Work Fridge Nazi......that is a far more hideous task, but I have vowed to keep on it weekly. Once people's stuff starts disappearing, well, you know the drill.

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  14. Somewhere, a prison inmate is thinking "we can still make jailhouse wine out of that..."

    Pearl

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  15. I always have sour cream that's gone bad...

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  16. Currently we have slimy, watery lettuce in a bag, I buy it regularly because it's good for us - no one ever eats it though!

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  17. This made me laugh and laugh!

    I am quite skilled at identifying rotted food and leaving it in the fridge until garbage day. Except I forget, and the questionable (or way-past-questionable) vittles sit and sit and get more and more disgusting.

    Yay! I'm the best housekeeper ever!

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  18. I'm REALLY OCD about my fridge... Maybe from living in the tropics? I'm always looking for stuff that needs using up, and when I go shopping, I don't put the new stuff in until I've had a throw-out of anything slimy.

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  19. That is hilarious about those apples! I can see myself doing the same thing, LOL. There's a partially-consumed package of bacon in my fridge that has been there for months. I can't bring myself to eat it, nor can I bear to throw it away. Bacon is "cured" right? So it lasts a really long time? My bacon is like your apples, "questionable" but somehow difficult to toss.

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  20. Lettuce. This head a lot of brown rust when I got it home and was putting in a green bag. We have used some of it but my guess the rest will be in the garbage pail in a couple of days.

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Spill it, reader.