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Thread: How Many Items are in your Refridgerator? (Do you ever "Eat It Out"?)

  1. #19

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    Depends what time of the fortnight it is but we don't really have a lot of 'stuff' in either our fridge or pantry. We throw out very little.
    Recently we had to start two pantries from scratch after moving interstate and then long haul and I have been surprised at how little you really need in either to be able to even come up with emergency meals.
    Lots of our stuff here (this is the middle of the desert though) has to be frozen. There is nowhere to get it fresh or local - it's logistics not choice. Therefore I have had to learn what lasts and what doesn't.
    I have a couple of frozen dinners (leftovers enough for all of us) and emergency meals in the freezer and also the month's worth of meat and usually bread (seeing as it's frozen anyway we might as well buy it in bulk).
    We also do at least two but usually more pantry dinners per fortnight to stretch the shopping out that little bit longer.


  2. #20

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    Ooohhhhh! There was a really good article about this in the Daily Telegraph yesterday. I will see if they have it online and link it - it's too long to retype.

    Anyway, we try to keep food wastage to a minimum but there will always be a small amount that is unavoidable. We compost all the food we don't eat though and then the dog goes through it all and eats what she wants ROFL. I don't have a lot in the fridge that wouldn't be used before it goes bad. Lately I have been buying less and only buying to replace what we use and it is saving me about $50-$60 per week now (that combined with everyday locked in low prices ) And I do always make sure I check use by dates to make sure we use stuff before it goes bad. BIL and SIL on the other hand have a fridge that is chocka-block full of rotten and half rotten food and it's foul! You open their fridge and all you can smell is rotten food. There is no room at all in their fridge for anything new to be put in there. But then you wouldn't want to put anything in there in case it gets contaminated by the rotting food. And MIL's pantry is shocking too. All non-perishable stuff, and really, who needs 10 tins of spaghetti and who knows how many more tins of pineapple, tuna etc? I'm convinced she buys the same things every week whether they need it or not LOL.

  3. #21

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    My dear MIL, bless her soul, before she passed away had managed to accumulate over 30... that's right 30 jars of Chicken Tonight type sauces. She had over a dozen frozen chooks in her deep freeze, we know, we were in charge of cleaning it out! She just kept adding to the top. We found cake decorating ingredients dating back to the early 1980s!!!! They had the pre-barcode price labels! Good grief if it wasn't so disgusting it would be fascinating. Sadly DH's brother had the same lifestyle before he recently had to be levered out of his squalid flat.... DH found tins of food dating back to when he briefly lived with him in the mid 1980s... he shook them and they felt empty... even though they were UNOPENED! They had fused to the shelf and rusted mind boggling that some people live that way. ETA: DH's brother was a bachelor... but a teacher of over 50 years experience... reknown and awarded for his teaching skills... you would never have known.

  4. #22

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    I found the article!

    Waste not, want not



    With just a little thought, we can make full use of all the food we buy and do our bit to keep the family and the environment healthy, writes Zoe Skewes.
    There's an air of military precision about Jane Kennedy's kitchen. Though it looks normal enough with stacks of school newsletters on the bench and a pile of toys in the corner, Jane has something extraordinary going on behind the scenes.
    Each week, when the cookbook author and mother of five returns from her fruit and veg market, she launches Operation No Food Waste.
    Fresh herbs and vegies are stored in the fridge before Jane records each on her kitchen blackboard with the date of purchase.
    Fruit is arranged in bowls within easy reach of her young brood and carrots, cucumbers and celery are cut into bite-size strips and placed in airtight containers in the fridge.
    The final step in Jane's mission is divvying up perishable products, such as barbecue chickens, into dishes to ensure each part is used.
    This no-nonsense approach to food is borne from Jane's preference to encourage her family to choose healthy food options, a need to keep her family food budget in check and also from her personal resolution to waste as little as possible. "My mantra is 'hidden food is wasted food'," Jane says. "If you've got something lurking in the back of your crisper and you can't see it, you'll never see it and you just won't remember it's there."
    Some of Jane's favourite quick family meals come from a barbecue chicken, which she turns into such dishes as soup, Vietnamese chicken salad, casseroles and stock,
    which she then freezes.
    Jane's system is nothing more than commonsense, but it's nowhere near common enough.
    New figures have lifted the lid on modern waste habits to reveal every NSW household bins more than $1000 of food each year.
    This alarming statistic, released by the New South Wales Department of Environment and Climate Change in its Love Food, Hate Waste campaign, refers to edible food.
    That means, despite our virtuous intentions to turn last night's beef stew into tomorrow night's shepherd's pie, the reality is we won't. While updated figures for other Australian states and territories still are being quantified, the Australian Institute conservatively estimates that as a nation we waste more than $5 billion worth of edible food each year, equating to more than three million tonnes and a staggering 136kg per person. As someone who secretly hopes for leftover lamb roast in anticipation of souvlaki for dinner the following night, such recklessness is hard to comprehend.
    Don't people use Tupperware? Don't they realise curry actually tastes better the next day?
    Food Wise founder, Jon Dee, says not. The current NSW Australian of the Year thanks to his campaigning against food waste, says a combination of shopping without a prepared list, bad food storage and lack of initiative to use leftovers are all to blame for our collective food wastage.
    The most common food waste victim, he says, is bread. "Bread is the perfect example of food that is thrown away simply because it's bought when it isn't needed," Jon says.
    What disturbs Jon even more than the amount of edible food wasted across the country, is what happens to it once it leaves the fridge or pantry.
    Food Wise says when food waste rots in landfill it produces methane, a greenhouse gas 25 times more potent than the carbon pollution that comes from a car's exhaust.
    "When we throw away food, we also waste all of the resources, fuel and energy that were used to get that food from the paddock to our plate," Jon says.
    "For example, it takes 50,000 litres of water to produce 1kg of beef. So if you throw out some beef, you're literally throwing out tens of thousands of litres of water at the same time. If you buy oranges out of season, chances are they've come from California. If you throw one of those out, you're also throwing out a lot of food miles."
    Though the situation seems dire, Jon says all is not lost. The first step in rectifying the problem is increasing awareness, the second is finding workable solutions.
    As with Jane, Notebook magazine's food editor, Sarah Hobbs, is a freezer fan. Sarah uses it to store leftover bread, stock, grated cheese, soups and casseroles.
    "I also keep nuts in small ziplock bags in the freezer," Sarah says. "They have a lot of oil and go rancid quickly so keeping them in the freezer helps extend their life."
    And, if all else fails, make a frittata. "Frittata is your leftover friend," says Jane.
    "Writing a shopping list is one of the best things that a person can do and it's guaranteed to save you money, because when you write it you're looking at your pantry and into your fridge and assessing what food you've already got. Then you can visit a website that lets you search for recipes by ingredients and you can plan some meals around the food you already have."

    - Food Wise founder Jon Dee
    Tips to reduce food waste:




    • Write a shopping list that takes into account what you already have in your fridge, freezer and pantry, so you avoid buying something that you already have.
    • Keep in mind perishable food on special may have a reduced shelf life.
    • As soon as you get home from the supermarket, read the storage instructions on packaged foods. Then, if necessary, refrigerate them to avoid reducing storage life.
    • Avoid overbuying. Remember, refrigerated foods are perishable and only have a limited shelf life.
    • Keep an eye on your fruit bowl, as off fruit will accelerate the deterioration of the other fruit in the bowl. Separate fruit that is very ripe from the rest.
    • Before you go on holiday, don't throw out your vegies and perishable foods. Turn them into pasta sauces, curries, bakes and other meals that you can freeze.
    • You can make croutons from stale bread. Just cut into pieces and place in the oven to dry roast.

    Source: Food Wise
    Facts about food waste:



    • Australian households throw out more than $5 billion of edible food each year. This is more than Australians spend on digital equipment and more than it costs to run the Australian Army.
    • Most Australians don't consider food waste to be a problem in their household.
    • The most commonly thrown out food is fruit and vegetables, followed by uneaten take-away food, meat and fish.
    • About half of all municipal waste is comprised of organic material, most of which is household waste.
    • The decomposition of organic waste is the main source of greenhouse gas emissions from landfill.

  5. #23

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    Great article Trillian. On that last point about using stuff up before going on holidays I take that one step further and TURN OFF THE FRIDGE! To save power... if you do make sure you leave it ajar, I shove an old towel between the door and the fridge. It's not that hard if you don't really fill your fridge regularly anyhow. There is only 1 week of the year I struggle for room in our 390L capacity fridge and that's the week between Christmas and New Year. We don't have a deep freeze. With the cost of electricity rising I'm not sure I'm keen to buy one now. It would be different if we lived remotely though... it would be worth it to save petrol.

    So... what size fridges to people have? We do fine with the 390L... we're a family of 5. I'd like to downgrade (in size) to a Smeg... smaller and more power efficient at about 270L I think.

  6. #24

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    We also try and eat down our fridge / cupboard supplied as often as possible.. and try to only do a shop every fortnight.

    At the moment my freezer is almost empty, except for a loaf of bread and a bag of frozen berries!! Yet we still have enough in the fridge /cupboards to get through until Sunday.. its amazing what you can make with what you have when you really have a think about it!

    A few website that I have found useful are 120dollarsfoodchallenge (Australian recipe blog on how to spend 120 a fornight for 14 meals), Love food hate waste (UK site but useful information), and taste.

    I think our fridge is a 210 or 240ltr (from my days living on my own) and its is OK for our family of three for now.. Sometimes it gets a bit full, but usually its fine. I cant see the point of a bigger one at this stage.

  7. #25

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    Bath - DH's brother was the same (and i guess, seeing DH shared the house when he wasn't working away, he too has to take responsibility) - there was a massive massive chest freezer in the house that we cleaned out to move out when his brother passed - and there was food in there that was there from before his mum passed at least five years earlier! the stuff the boys had thrown on top that may have still be in date and usable was wasted due to the packaging tearing or bags not sealed properly so all frost bitten. the fridge was just scary. there was an old oven in the laundry (ok, there still IS an old oven in the laundry) that had a fruit cake his mother baked just before she died still sitting in it (she used it to cool the cakes when she baked). there was some really old (early 80's old) stuff in the pantry too. i guess his mum should have cleaned it out too! BUT, in her defence, it was cake making stuff and it might have been more recent and just old packaging sitting in there. but neither of the boys had cooked anything in at least five years that used it.

    i get really peeved at food wastage (probably why i have dogs - my own little disposal units lol). that was one of the things i was most distressed about after the fires. once all was said and done and our house was ok, i went home to the realisation it had been scorching hot and we'd had no power for an indefinite period of time. we'd only just done a massive meat shop and cook up for meals for DH, and we couldn't be sure it was ok, so were advised by authorities to dispose of all of it. our dogs and cat ate very well for months on that food (so it wasn't a complete waste!)

  8. #26

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    I just had a look, it's looking very bare. I shop on a Thursday

    We have a 300l fridge only and also same in Freezer (we stock it with meat from the Vic Market every 6wks or so).
    I just made our dinner tonight from things only from my pantry and fridge..worked a treat.
    I shop using a list..couldn't do without one. I have my list up on the fridge and put things on it as I run out. I only shop once a week for Fruit n Veg.
    I also buy bread in bulk and freeze it as we go through heaps.
    My pantry is reasonably full, not too bad though, it's mostly the staples. I always panic about running out of things like tinned tomatoes and buy 1 or 2 every week then I have 12tins so I sto buying them, then all of the sudden I go to the pantry to get one for whatever I am cooking and there is none

    Right now I am rationing toilet paper, down to our last squares until I do my grocery shopping tomorrow

  9. #27

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    I can see every item, I am a minimalist fridge person.

    I have in there at the moment:

    Milk
    A block of real parmesan cheese (in a plastic container)
    Jug of water
    Bottle of lemonade
    Meat keeper with frozen steak in it (have taken it out for dinner tomorrow night)
    Tupperware container with fresh veggies in it (again for dinner tomorrow night, bought them today)
    A container with lunch for tomorrow in it
    Half a loaf of bread
    A plastic bag with stuff to throw away (some leftovers) which will go out on bin day.

    I clean my fridge out every week, work out what needs to be bought for the week (farmers market on Wednesday).

  10. #28

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    Being out of town we have to have a deep freeze. Our fridge is 443lt with the freezer on top but we really need a bigger one so we can get rid of the 'beer fridge', which is a small 120lt fridge that DH keeps his beer in, but it is handy at peak times when we need the extra fridge space, so we are hoping that a larger fridge will make a difference. The deep freezer is 320lt. Ideally I'd love an electrolux 520lt - it has a 5 star energy rating in the old scale plus they are still made in Australia at Orange, which is important to me to be able to buy locally made products.

  11. #29

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    Absolutely! All the time! It's how we live. We find we save so much money trying to come up with interesting cool ideas out of nothing.

  12. #30

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    I fall down when I buy fruit and veggies - I'm always mindful of having a rainbow-coloured selection of F&V, and i have an upright fridge instead of an upside-downey (oh I dream of an upside-downey) so there's often something that gets left mouldering at the back. It's pretty small though, but I always feel quite liberated when the shelves empty up.

    ALSO - I find when I'm in control of menu choices & cooking dinner, a lot less of the fresh gets wasted...DH however has some kind of fridge-blindness going on. In fact he has very poor fridge-mojo, shoves all sorts of things into inaccessible and illogical spaces.

  13. #31

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    Great article Trill.

    We have a FP upside down fridge. It's pretty big but has a 5 star energy rating. We also have a chest freezer and 2 smaller fridges we have accumulated - but these are only plugged in when needed.

    I love our fridge. The crispers are just fantastic. The shelves are at eye level and there are enough shelves that little hands can't reach.
    We keep stuff we use regularly (grated cheese, frozen veges etc) in the fridge freezer and individual dinners that have been frozen for lunches etc.
    In the chest is all our meat, bread and icecream (so the kids can't get at it).

    I am pantry anal too. Everything has a container (and a label ) so it is stored properly. I have baskets in the pantry that are categorised according to what they are used for, and all the extra stuff is in rows. I know exactly what's in there, where to lay my hand on it and what I need to buy at a glance.

    DH can't see anything in there though

  14. #32

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    We eat our fridge out of stuff every Friday or Saturday, then market shop on Saturday (and often come home and knock something together with anything left from the week before)
    Our pantry is LOADED but it's loaded with staples, like four kinds of rice, a few packets of pasta, noodles, beans, legumes, flours, sugars, seeds and nuts (as vegans our seed and nut turnover is high) There's always crackers, too, so we can throw together nibblies at short notice. We have a large range of classic sauces for cooking from scratch, and they get replaced as they're finished. Always cans of tomatoes, coconut cream, curry paste, beetroot etc. We try to use as little canned stuff as possible because the food miles are horrendous, and it's expensive.

    Our freezer contains ice cream, frozen bread, peas, spinach, icy poles and vegie schnitzels.
    Fridge has an extra margarine, always. Vegan cheese, cream cheese, tofu, tempeh, vegie sausages. These all get replaced on the next big shop after we've used them, which can be 2-3 weeks. There's also about 6 blocks of chocolate, we just buy heaps when it's on special, and the abundance mentality stops us from eating it. Most of the time!

    Our fridge is small - it's a 230L. We struggle to fit stuff in if we're preparing for a party or a barbecue, or if we've had a really big cook up with big leftovers, but generally we're OK.

    Like you, Bath, we only buy what we can carry - usually on a bike. But we don't go daily. Weekly or twice weekly.

    We bake our own bread as we need it, so we never chuck any out. If there's any that's about to go, it gets ripped into crouton sizes and frozen. Then we just spray it with oil, bake for 10 minutes and use with salads or soups. Easy.

    I lived in a very poor developing country as a teenager and have carried incredible waste guilt ever since, so we very rarely throw anything out. The bin guys have actually been known to come onto our property to get our bin; they were worried that we'd forgotten to put it out 6 weeks in a row, only to fin it had a single bin bag in it.

  15. #33

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    I think the most valuable thing to take from that article is just what the waste equates to, especially in terms of methane production from rotting food gas emissions as well as the amount of resources that go into production. Luckily for us our dog is a living waste disposal unit LOL.

  16. #34

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    Quote Originally Posted by Trillian View Post
    what the waste equates to, especially in terms of methane production from rotting food gas emissions as well as the amount of resources that go into production.
    And the emissions that go into carting it away on the rubbish truck. And don't go thinking "Oh, but the truck comes anyway" If it comes, and is only half as full, it has to do fewer trips. A lighter load means lower fuel consumption too.

    Waste is bad, mmmmkay?

  17. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by maz View Post
    I like to have food in the house....especially coming from living on the streets and with a sister who never bought food.
    ... i was the same Maz, after my getting kicked out of home for no apparent reason as a teenager, at that time i remember one time only having 8cents in my purse for an entire week cause i rather go hungry then not have my bills paid (i had so much pride), and i remember one time having to have a bread roll for dinner as that was all i could afford

    I never want for my DD to experience that ever in her life so my fridge & pantry are stocked but not overly stocked just enough without wasting any food.

    I like to pride myself in that no one leaves my house hungry

    In my fridge i always have at any given time the basics - skim milk, cheese slices, blocked or shredded tasty cheese, eggs, yogurt, marg, butter, mayo, juice, deli meat and vegies !!!

    We have a 447Litre fridge/freezer for 3 of us ... freezer is always full but fridge area is probably too big for what we need but having said that it's a perfect size and well used when we have DD's birthday parties.

  18. #36

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    Lots of great points! Our hen eats lots of our scraps too... if the kids waste an apple by taking a few bites and discarding it... leaving it lying on the floor somewhere I'll pick it up and take it out to Tina who polishes it off even if it's brown. She's off the lay ATM but hopefully come Spring she will reward us with an almost daily egg again.

    Fridge is still almost empty but I have just returned from the supermarket near DS's school with a tray of 5 chicken sausages (used by tomorrow but we'll have them tonight) that cost $1.60 and a small tray of marinated chicken wings that cost $2.40 (also used by tomorrow but will use tonight). Also bought a French stick that was special for $1. So from this I will make up a very cheap meal of chicken sausages, wings, mashed potato (grown in our garden so virtually free, haven't had to water them either!) gravy and some carrots, cauliflower, frozen peas and served with garlic bread made from the French stick. Easily slips under $10 for the 4 of us. If I can get away with not doing a big shop next week either (and just buying daily specials) then that's our electricity bill almost paid for!

    ETA: oh I have also lived on next to nothing and had about $20 a week to spend on groceries, including toiletries... when I was in my early 20's and on sickness benefits due to badly breaking a leg and needing knee reconstruction, couldn't work for about a year... lived in a share house with other poor students as bad off as me... our fridge was always grim... but we made do... ate at the Hare Krisha place in the city several times a week where you could get a three course meal for a gold coin donation. But maybe because they were some of the best years of my life I don't mind "returning" to the empty fridgeness of it all

    ETA: oh and I have also turned our fridge down to it's lowest setting... middle of winter... figure it's safe.
    Last edited by Bathsheba; August 12th, 2010 at 11:41 AM.

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