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WISDOM WITHIN - April 2016 - Kansas City
How to Spring Clean the Fridge
By Suzette Scholtes
Resolving last year to organize my home, I purged closets and the kitchen (went to charity) and packed up four large boxes of files from the office for shredding. The wise ones say this helps make way for the new. The yogis call this “saucha” or respect for self, home (and car) and environment.
Suacha means your kitchen and baths shine like a new dime. I scrub them often. This year, I resolve to keep my fridge extra clean. Scary to think what germs lurk in the dark behind those closed doors.
Saucha also means respect to self. We renew our energy and body with nutritious foods. Not hard to top veges on your sandwich or toss in organic spinach or kale in a morning smoothie. We exercise, and find our quiet time. Most readers of Evolving respect their nutrition and our environment. I bet all readers recyle and if not good time to start.
Back to the fridge. Wipe down the cartons before storing to rid of shipping grime. When measured for a study, the produce drawer in the fridge was by far the dirtiest, researches proved, containing over 750 times the bacteria. Controversy runs on whether to wash your veges before or after storing but I do take advantage of the green bags and containers. They extend the shelf life for a week or more.
The goals: 1. keep food safe, 2. save energy, and 3. keep food fresh longer.
Clean the interior
Start with a clean slate. Clear everything out of the fridge, and if possible, take out all the drawers and racks. Use hot soap and water to wash away any grime. Or use a hand-held steam cleaner. Get into nooks and crannies, as this is where yucky stuff likes to grow.
Get rid of stink
Grandma and your mom did this: Open a box of baking soda and let it hang out in the back corner of the fridge and/or freezer.
Restock, but be discerning
First, toss all the old stuff. And not just perishables which have passed “use by this date.” Other items such as condiments and pickled foods deserve a second glance, too. Jams and jellies are good six months post opening and mustard is good for a full year. Mayo and salad dressing should be tossed after about two months, experts say.
Rearrange so food last longer
Strategically placing food in the fridge can help save energy and keep food more fresh. Good Housekeeping claims the best spot for goods needing cooler temperatures such as dairy and meats are best placed in lower bins or back corners of lower shelves. Avoid placing milk in the door bins as that gets too warm. It’s okay to keep condiments in the door. Keep produce in the crisper.
Last, the experts say to keep your refrigerator temperature about 37 degrees. Once organized, no need to scrub down everything but toss old food and clean up spills. I remember a motto from my dietician friends: “When in doubt, throw it out!” It feels great to organize and clean.
Suzette Scholtes’ non-fiction writing won the prestigious “Writers Digest” award. Her passions are writing and yoga and she feels one needs a sense of humor for both. She founded The Yoga School of Therapeutics where she manages one of the regions prestige teacher training programs. 10400 W. 103rd Street,