I know I share the sentiment of the entire country when I squeal with delight over spring’s arrival. Green leaves. Rising temps. Baseball. Swoon.
One thing I'm loving about Chicagoans is that when it's nice out, they take advantage of it! In Dallas you might have a gorgeous day where no one really notices. Not in the Windy City. Sun's out and temps are up? That means that gyms are empty, kids are playing in the park, everyone is taking it in - because it could snow again next week!
It seems that spring brings with it the desire to clean (or at least have someone clean FOR you, am I right?). This year, add your fridge to the list!
Cleaning out the fridge is a good way to prevent food-borne illnesses. You want to spend the beautiful days outside, not in the bathroom. Cleaning also makes room for the new flavors of the season. Your taste buds will thank you.
When in Doubt, Throw it Out
We’ve all been there. You discover a condiment in the back of the fridge that expired sometime during Obama’s first administration. Maybe you ignored it because you hate wasting, but then you forget about it. Now is the time to carefully go through your fridge and get rid of anything that has expired. Add to that list anything with a funny odor, has changed colors, or otherwise has seen better days. Can’t remember when those leftovers are from, or when you bought that anchovy paste? Just toss it.
Use Some Elbow Grease
Once you’ve gotten all the offending items out, it’s time to clean the walls, shelves and drawers. Remove everything. Now you’ve got a nice look at all the sticky and crusty mess that has accumulated. You might have some regret at waiting this long. Push through. Take out the drawers and hand wash them in your sink with soap and hot water. Let them air dry while you tackle the rest. Spray the interior surface with a multipurpose cleaner. Start at the top, and work your way down. Use an old toothbrush if you need to get into crevices, or remove a stubborn spill. As you put everything back inside, wipe down jars and bottles. Add a fresh box of baking soda to control odors. And before you revel in the beauty, don’t forget to use a multi-surface cleaner on the outside.
Reorganize and Revitalize!
And now, the best part: restock your fridge with the flavors of spring! Asparagus and strawberries are fan-favorites, but I also like honeydew, rhubarb, radishes, spring onions and artichokes. And fresh herbs! Anything with mint or dill gets me especially excited these days. Farmer’s markets or community-supported agriculture co-ops are great ways to find a new favorite food. To help you figure out how to prepare it, EatingWell has a great selection of healthy recipes that can be searched by ingredient.
I like to spruce up my vinegar collection this time of year, too. I enjoy homemade salad dressings and marinades, and vinegar is always a key ingredient. Balsamic and red wine vinegar are in my pantry every day of the year, but I also enjoy apple cider, champagne, rice, and white wine vinegars. I love the fresh and bright flavor a splash of vinegar brings.
Now that your fridge is sparkling clean and freshly filled, consider re-organizing. Make those fruits and veggies easy to access. Consider purchasing a set of glass storage-ware that makes food easy to identify, and can go from freezer to oven to table. Remember, the best organization is not necessarily the fanciest, but the one that works for you!