Two things that are always rattling around my fridge are open containers of chicken/beef/veggie broth and opened jars of spaghetti sauce. I tend to use some and then the rest hang out in there for God knows how long. When I go to grab an open container of these items I never know how old it is and I often end up just throwing it out to avoid eating contaminated food. It gets quite wasteful though so I decided to take control of this situation with a two-pronged plan.
1. Labeling. When we open a jar of sauce, we write the date on the lid. The longest a jar of clean sauce (not touched by a contaminated spoon and not removed from the jar) is officially considered safe is two weeks. The acid in the tomatoes offer some protection, and some people in this house are willing to eat it if it smells ok and looks ok, but I’m just too suspicious for that. Now that the jars are dated, I throw them out after they are open for 2-3 weeks. This has also given the before mentioned people a deadline for using up the sauce they have opened and provides some incentive to use it or lose it.
2. Freezing. If I have most of a jar of spaghetti sauce left, I’ve been dumping it into a plastic container and freezing it. All the leftovers can be used up together the next time I make spaghetti.
3. Ice cubes. I asked for a set of ice cube trays for Christmas. When I open a container of stock or broth, I pour the leftovers into an ice cube tray and freeze it. The next day I dump the cubes into a zip-top bag and label it and stick it in the freezer. I can then add as much broth as I need the next time I’m cooking and I don’t have to worry if it is contaminated. This has saved me huge amounts of money since I often open a cardboard container of stock and use just a little and the rest of the container would end up getting old and being thrown out.
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