First In First Out, or Last In First Out – what’s your fridge stocking and cooking methods?
FIFO and LIFO are businessy terms. FIFO means the first thing in gets used first. LIFO means the latest thing gets used first and the earlier things wait until the newest stock gets used before they get used up. I’ve been pretty bad about LIFO-ing my fridge, leaving a lot of extra… stuff to build up in the back crevices and corners. I found a twee jar of corn jelly I got at a food swap from the lovely Deanna Fox I couldn’t remember the year I got it.
I’m trying to embrace Spring (I hear it’s coming) and I’m trying to work on combining FIFO and Just In Time practices in my meal delivery systems (i.e. cooking).
So this meant a thorough cleaning out of the fridge. Remove ERRYTHANG. Take stock of what you use – open those mystery jars (hold your nose if you must), check the expiration dates, and toss the leaky things. Once all the food substances are out, take out all the shelves and wash them so they’re sparkling clean. Then clean the heck out of the inside of the fridge (I’m partial to hot rags for the stuff that’s really stuck on and melamine/magic sponges for stains).
And then it is time to organize.
I am in awe of folks who have nothing in their fridge. Where are the shelves overflowing with condiments, jams, and jars of miscellany? How are they not tempted by these wee delights? I will try to be one of them. I will USE my jars and containers and not let that last little bit linger for something special. This is where I’m combining JIT and FIFO.
It requires a bit of meal planning. And just a wee bit of forethought. But best of all, it gets me excited for leftovers. My tactics have been to buy less in bulk (hey, it’s just two people and the occasional guest in my house) and buy a few fresh ingredients I definitely want for the week. Try to plan a few meals for the week, and then go around that. If I tried to get super specific, I’d drive myself nuts (ZOMG, you didn’t use that half a cucumber!!), but I’ve found this works for me.
For example, this week, I bought some fresh broccoli, asparagus, and chicken. Chicken’s got brined last night, it’ll get roasted tonight along with some asparagus, and I’ll cook some wood ear with the broccoli. Tomorrow = some variation on the leftover chicken, plus some more fresh veggies.
So, I have a lot less stuff in my fridge, and I’m pretty happy with it. Crazy, how it’s easier to find stuff, eh?