I posted this picture on New Nostalgia’s Facebook & Instagram, and it got quite a bit of attention! Who knew that an organized refrigerator using mason jars would be so interesting?! promised a post that talked more about the picture and instead of ONE post, I will be writing TWO!
In this first post, I will talk about:
1. How a pretty & organized refrigerator helps keep waste to a minimal
2. How I keep the refrigerator looking this way on a weekly basis
3. How glass is the key, so you can SEE!
4. How Mason jars are a great alternative to plastic
5. How I cut my veggies for successful consumption
6. How jars keep fruits and veggies fresher, longer
7. How jars keep my kids munching on veggies
So, on to points 1-7:
1. First, this is a new goal of mine…to have a pretty & organized refrigerator. It has been well worth the extra thought and effort. Since I started using glass bowls and mason jars, it has been so much easier to see what is in there & find what we need. We do not waste food like we used to, and I don’t buy things that I already have! Most importantly, I know my family is eating nourishing plant foods!
2. I have been trying to do my grocery shopping on Saturday or Sunday. Even before I leave to grocery shop, I do a quick clean out of our refrigerator, taking note of what we have and what we need. This way the refrigerator gets cleaned out once a week and never gets too bad. It really only takes minutes, and is so well worth it! It also only takes minutes to take fruit out of their bags once you get back from the store and put them into bowls. The kids can do this for you! Yes, slicing veggies and putting them in the jars takes more time, but not as much as you would think.
3. The glass bowls you see in there stay in there. Most weeks they contain the same fruit, but the mango bowl sometimes has grapefruit instead. The apple bowl sometimes has pears instead. It all depends on the seasons, and what is on sale. Glass is the key. It allows the fruit to look like the art that it is and be on display! I find what is on display gets eaten, so it works well.
4. Mason jars are a long time favorite of mine. We do not have any disposable plastic storage containers, and my goal is to use all glass for food storage. I have a cabinet shelf that holds all 3 sizes of mason jars, and I keep their lids and rims all in a big bowl in a place that is easy to grab and reach. We use them for dry food storage too, so I have quite a few of them. They are so much better than stained plastic, and I love that they can go straight from the refrigerator to freezer, and from the freezer to the microwave (lid removed) to defrost if needed. The small 4oz jars are great for single servings of soup or chili.
5. As you can see in the picture, I chop most of the veggies up ahead of time, at the beginning of the week. I am known for taking my big bamboo cutting board and sitting on the floor in front of the TV to do my chopping. Oh yes! The floor!! My cutting board is big enough to keep all food on it, so it works for me! Most weeks I get to this.
If it is an extra busy week, I still make sure to take fruits out of their bags and display in bowls. Then the next time I make a salad (we eat them daily), I take an extra few minutes to slice the veggies we use on the salad to store in the jars. I use a mandolin for cucumbers, peppers, and carrots. It is one of my most used kitchen tools. It makes great thin slices for topping salads.
I also like to have carrot sticks and red pepper sticks to dip in hummus or put into lunch boxes, so I will save some to cut into sticks and put in a separate jar. If I buy a bunch of onions, I will use my food processor to cut them into a dice size, store them in 1 cup jars, keep one out for the week to use in recipes and freeze the rest. There are certain veggies I do not slice up. These are usually ones I am planning on using in recipes, like squash. I buy bags of broccoli already cut up into florets, and keep them in the bag, but if you buy it whole, mason jars are great for storing these, too.
6. I have been very surprised at how long our veggies stay fresh in mason jars. Even up to a week they do not get slimy. I do sometimes add a splash of water to sit at the bottom of the jars if the veggies start looking dried out at all. I will give it a little shimmy shake after adding the water, and they are good to go all week.
7. There is nothing better than finding an empty jar and knowing one of my girls were busy munching on cucumbers or carrot sticks. Oh, how that makes this Mama happy! Now, the key to my girls munching on vegetables is not having a bunch of junk food snacks sitting around.
If healthy vegetables, fruits, and snacks are all you have in the house, they will eventually eat them. But if you have cakes, cookies and cupcakes, they will be much less likely to grab plant food snacks.