Sunday, February 17, 2013


Even an avowed anti-hoarder has a need for some storage containers, especially in the kitchen if she cooks.

On January 4 of this year, I welcomed a new refrigerator into my kitchen. The primary purpose was to improve our energy efficiency as it replaced a 20-year-old model that didn't seal well and ran constantly. But the side effect was a clean-out of not only my refrigerated items, but cabinets and pantry as well. I couldn't let the new fridge make the rest of the kitchen look shabby!

As I removed food from the old refrigerator, I began thinking about ways to prevent some of the nastiness from infecting the newcomer. Aside from the perhaps inevitable issue of moldy mystery leftovers that tend to lodge in the deep corners of any icebox, the main problem seemed to be leakage. In nearly every bin, I scraped away bits of gunk that had somehow escaped from its packaging. I identified the primary culprit as torn plastic.

Inside the new refrigerator
Several years ago, my pantry suffered an outbreak of mealy worms and nearly every opened bag or box, and even some that had not been opened, had to be discarded. What to do to prevent future infestations? I started storing grain in the fridge, usually in the thin plastic bag in which it came home from the co-op's bulk bins. This worked to keep the bugs away, and the plastic bags didn't take up any extra space in the door bins, but they often ripped, spilling rice or quinoa or flour. Also, the item I needed was often at the bottom of the stack of bags.

For the new fridge, even though it is slightly smaller than the old, I decided to use glass jars for storing grains and highly-perishable flours. I can easily see what's inside and glass doesn't leak. An added benefit is reducing our exposure to possible toxins in plastic, although I'm not a purist about that and definitely don't aspire to the level of plastic elimination as this mom who wrote about her extreme detox regimen. Still, it's likely a good thing for our health and for the environment to reduce our use of plastics.

Kootsac bags
For the co-op bulk bins, I found some terrific lightweight, sturdy and reusable nylon bags from an Etsy shop in Canada. These keep even the finest ground flours intact. Once home, the contents are transferred to airtight glass jars or stainless steel bins and the bags are rinsed and dried for the next shopping trip (they air-dry very quickly).

Finally, I slightly reorganized my kitchen in hopes of improving efficiency. Mostly this meant moving the Vitamix off the counter where it prevents the cabinet door from opening to the top shelf of my cookbook case. This shelf is now the beverage area.

Coffee, tea, soda, smoothies

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