The fridge is where the most change happens. Mine is divided into four rough sections: vegetables and fruit takes up half the space, condiments and jams about a fourth, dairy (or dairy-like) about an eights and the rest is occupied by miscellaneous bits and pieces and left-overs.
Vegetables & fruit
- Squashes: courgette, aubergine and/or butternut squash.
- Beetroot: boiled and vacuum packed, lasts for months, lovely in salads, risottos and
- Lettuce or leaves: For side salads. Add tomatoes and carrots and you’re done Add cucumber if you’r a fan, radishes when they’re in season.
- Citrus fruit: Limes, lemons and oranges are all good. Lemons can do most of the work that a lime does.
- Snacking fruit: If you eat it fast enough, and the rooms temperature isn’t too high, fruit like apples, pears, oranges and bananas can be stored outside the fridge. Which saves space.
- Cooking wine.
Condiments & jams
- Jam: Pick a favourite. It’s easy to end up having lots of different jams but only ever eating one. Practice restraint. Or learn how to make jam tarts – opened but uneaten jam will eventually grow mould.
- Nut butter: The best spread in the world? I’m an almond butter kind of person, C. is a crunchy peanut butter nut. (Forgive the pun.)
- Pickles: I think every fridge needs a jar of capers, and some green olives, but you might disagree. I like a pickle that can do a lot of heavy lifting. Lime pickle is great that way: a generous dollop in a stew takes care of flavouring and gives you the night off.
- Condiments: I say Dijon mustard and mayo. You might say red sauce and brown. As with most other things that go in the fridge, constraint is important. It’s embarassing when you realise you have a fridge door and two shelves of half-full bottles and jars of things you really don’t eat that often.
- Tahini: Because hummus is wonderful.
Dairy (& dairy-type stuff)
- Cheese: Let me be totally honest: you don’t have to have cheese. Life goes on without it. But sometimes a hit of something a little cheesy is a great addition to a dish, be it a grating of fake Parmesan on pasta, or some grated mature Cheddar melted onto toast.
- Milk: Milk is useful. I could, personally, do without it 300 days of the year and be very happy with a variety of cultured milk products, from Greek yoghurt to kefir, but milk, whether cow, soya or some other variety, is really useful for white sauces and in baking. And hot chocolate.
- Butter: Nice for baking, unnecessary for most other purposes, in my personal opinion. Oil does a good job in its stead and lasts a lot longer. (Although butter makes some thing, like mushrooms, taste amazing in a way oil doesn’t.) If you’re used to having spread on your toast, then butter’s probably something you want in the fridge. Or spread, of course. The types of spread that are spreadable butter, that is, butter mixed with oil, do double duty as spread and cooking fat.
- Tofu: Or, for the non-vegetarians in the world, whatever it is you eat for protein.
- Eggs: Instant breakfast, lunch and dinner, great for baking, great poached and put on top of things. Like mushrooms, eggs like butter.