You know the scene.
You’re cleaning out the fridge. Who knows when you last did it, but you’ve been putting it off, for sure.
You find something in a small plastic container in the back of the fridge.
You think to yourself, “What is this?” It’s no longer recognizable, and when you finally get the courage to open it, it smells like death.
You find another container, filled with part of a meal that you forgot about, or a couple servings of vegetables. Maybe with green or white fuzzy decorations. You feel sad because you probably would have eaten that one thing, if only you’d remembered it was in there…before it was inedible.
You find another container that you think was from a pretty recent meal, but then all of the sudden… you’re not sure. Is it safe to eat?
You end up throwing most of the food in your fridge out, because it’s not worth a couple bucks to get sick, right?
Here’s the solution:
Ba- ba- dum!
A LEFTOVERS BOARD. A place to write down all of your leftovers and when they got put in the fridge in the first place.
Now, this might seem a little tedious, but this is worth your time for several reasons.
First off, you save a lot of food and money, because you don’t just “forget” about anything in the back of the fridge. You can use those leftovers up before they get weird.
Secondly, when you DON’T use those leftovers in time, you KNOW they aren’t safe to eat. That little container of whatever has been in the fridge for 4 weeks. Gross. No guessing, no remembering what meal you paired that random side with. Just check a date, keep it or trash it.
Third, it’s a lovely shame game that makes you clean out your fridge more often. If I know that I have company coming over in 2 days, I’m going to want to eat (or throw away) food items that, according to their dates on the leftover board, have been in there a liiiiiiiittle too long. Nobody wants their guests to think, “Is my food old?”
In order for it to work, you need to be consistent. For maximum efficiency, you should also should write the date on the actual food item. That way, if you accidentally end up with 2 containers of corn in the fridge, you know which one was from 3 days ago and which was from 3 weeks ago.
I also like to write the dates that I opened non-“leftovers” items.
Applesauce. Sour cream. Apple butter. Pasta sauce. Deli meat.
Stuff that you don’t always use right away. Stuff that has an expiration date 2 months out, but says, “Use within 7 days” on the package.
I know some people would disagree with me, that food is usually good longer than I say it’s good for, but I definitely would rather air on the side of wasting money than on the side of food poisoning.
Therefore, I really need my leftovers board to help me use food before it gets to the questionable stage.
Funny story: One time, I made peanut butter no bake cookies, and my husband put them in a container in the fridge. And he wrote a date on the container. Hahahahahaha like they would ever get close to going bad. Some things don’t need dates, right?
You think you will eat that thing. You know, the thing you’re thinking of.
Pizza? Pumpkin pie? Grilled steak?
Sometimes, there is literally no way. Like me, and no-bake cookies. Those are going to be gone within 24 hours, I don’t care how big the batch is.
But most other things? Things you love? Meals you slaved over, and poured your heart into?
Write it on the board.
I don’t care how much you love it, or how much you think you’ll eat all of it soon. I don’t care if you have plans for using the rest of that sauce for dinner tomorrow, or that you’ll pair the extra green beans with lunch.
Plans change. Our human brains forget.
Write it on the board.
Always always always.
Now, the actual board? Do whatever works for you. Chalkboard & chalk. A note on your phone. A dry-erase board on the fridge (my favorite). Make it something you see a lot, because otherwise, it won’t be useful.
So, try it out. Give it 2 weeks. See how it changes your food life.
And then tell me in the comments how much you love it!