Wednesday, December 28, 2016
Refrigerator triage during the busy holiday week
Over the holidays, it's easy to overlook some of the highly perishable foods in the refrigerator. There are so many goodies, coming and going, that some ordinary foods, that would normally get gobbled up, are pushed to the back, to spoil before use.
Before that happens (or before it happens too greatly), I begin some refrigerator triage.
First, I use anything made with meat, or that has touched meat, in the cooking.
This past week, that meant some marinara sauce which had meatballs cooked in it, and some bbq sauce which had cocktail sausages cooked in it. I combined those two sauce remnants, to use a sauce on a homemade pizza.
Next, I use any soon-to-expire dairy products.
This meant milk, whipping cream and sour cream in our house, this past week. I pushed the milk on anyone who would drink some. In the process, we started a new tradition in our home. After the late church service on Christmas Eve, we all joined in the living room for some hot cocoa. It was a very pleasant late night, together. I believe that this will continue forward, as a tradition in our family. And I used the last of the sour cream in a dip on Christmas night. I already mentioned whipping up the last pint of heavy cream, to freeze in mounds for future desserts.
After the meat and dairy, I inventory, and make plans to use, all of the fresh produce.
I found 2 acorn squash, 1 butternut, 1 spaghetti squash and 1 small pumpkin, all needing to be used. I cooked the 2 acorn squash, first, as they looked to be on their last legs. The other 3 squash will be cooked within the next 10-14 days.
I also have about 15 pounds of aging potatoes to use in a hurry. It looks like the next few meals will be heavy on the squash and potatoes.
I also had 3/4 of a lemon and a handful of fresh rosemary that was gifted to us earlier in the month. I peeled the lemon, and sliced and quartered the rest of the lemon. The lemon zest will be combined with the rosemary to make some of the Lemon-Rosemary Finishing Salt in this link. The quartered slices went into the freezer, for sage-honey-lemon tea that I drink when I have a cold.
In addition, I have a glassful of fresh parsley in the refrigerator. Just before the very cold weather set in, in early December, I cut all of the remaining parsley in the garden. I put it in a glass of water and kept it in the fridge. Several weeks later, it still looks okay. I will use as much as I can in the next day or two.
And, I found about a dozen very wrinkly apples, in the garage fridge. I had wanted to make a pie with some of them. Sometimes, though, there's just no time for what we want, and we have to go with what is easy. So, I made a quart of applesauce, instead.
That leaves us with fresh carrots, celery, onions, cabbage, oranges, tangerines and not-quite-aging potatoes in the refrigerator to use over the coming month.
That's about it on the highly perishable items left in our fridge. I had about 1 cup of rice pudding that went too long in the fridge and had to be thrown out. But otherwise, it looks like a very low-waste holiday period.