In the midst of kitchen chaos this afternoon, I had a little lightbulb moment… Aha! This would be a really good thing to share with my lovely readers!
So tonight, I’m here to show you how I organise my fridge and my head around the sudden onset of fruit and veg galore that is my beautiful CSA box.
Not familiar with CSA? It stands for Community Supported Agriculture. And it’s amazing. I love it because:
*we get organic/chemical free food CHEAP
*we eat seasonal
*we are directly supporting the farmers – Coles and Woolies do a fantastic job of doing the opposite of supporting Aussie farmers, so I’m glad to be able to let my money do the talking and support the farmers in a more stable and direct manner
*we are eating LOCALLY – fresher food, and less food miles
*the women in our CSA group are just amazingly beautiful souls, and it’s always nice to catch up
*sometimes we get stuff we don’t usually eat much of (and yes, this is a benefit, as it pushes you to eat a wider range of fresh produce!)
*less packaging – it comes in a cardboard box, items are only put in individual plastic bags if necessary, and we leave the boxes there to be reused
There are many more benefits, I’m sure, but those are the main ones for us. There is a lot to be said, in my opinion, for the ‘life force’ of our foods. Finding a way to increase that life force by eating fresher, seasonal foods that haven’t been sprayed and haven’t travelled goodness-knows-how-far is crucial for the body and the soul. But now I’m just wandering off on a tangent and getting just a little too hippy on all of you. 😉
Let’s get back to business!
Every Wednesday, we pick up our CSA. It consists of a fruit and veg box (a choice of 3 sizes, I get the middle size), as well as dairy and some extras (i.e. herbs, rhubarb, bag’o’greens etc) if ordered. Tyler jumps around on the trampoline and has a blast while I chat and unpack the box into my insulated carry bags. Eventually we manage to leave. We get home with two very heavy bags, excited by all the fresh produce within.
We walk in the door, and chaos ensues. Momentary chaos, mind you. A big part of organising is to first unorganise.
I pull out the vegetable crisper drawer from the fridge. I empty it onto the hopefully clean floor (haha, a clean floor in a kitchen… does that even exist?!?). Then I empty the two bags of new fruit and veg onto the floor.
At this point, my kitchen looks something like this:
And a close up of all that stunning produce:
You’ll notice two piles. On the left we have the perky new stuff. And on the right we have the less-than-perky old stuff. This is hugely important. If you come home with new fruit and veg and dump it in the crisper straight away, several things will happen:
1) you will forget what you already had in there
2) you will use the new stuff first, because that’s on top and that’s what you see and reach for first when planning dinner
3) if you do #2, then the old stuff lurking in the bottom of the crisper gets older still, and it gets too bad to even put into stock, and you chuck waste it
And let’s not talk about wasting food. Didn’t your mother ever threaten you with starving children in Africa?!? 😉
Anyway, then I pull out any remaining fruit and veg floating around in the fridge and add it to the pile of old stuff. We always have floaters. I could use one of those fridges with two vegetable crispers. Or a fridge that is just ALL vegetable crispers!
Some of you may have keen eyes. Some of you may have noticed in the first picture (go on, scroll up and have another look)… the chair. The chair with the paper and pen on it! Also hugely important.
As I pull out the old stuff, I write it all down on a piece of paper. As I unpack the bags of new stuff, I write down what I’ve got on the same piece of paper. In two sections, oh so eloquently titled “New Stuff” and “Old Stuff”. Then I proceed to put the new stuff into the vegetable crisper first. New stuff at the bottom, so you use it last. Then add the old stuff in on top, so it gets used first. Anything that doesn’t fit in the crisper gets shoved (methodically!) on a shelf somewhere.
Just for your interest, on the door I have: eggs, raw butter, miso, homemade mustard, raw milk, some more raw cream, an open jar of sauerkraut, sesame oil, and mushrooms.
To some, my fridge may still look like chaos after unpacking. To me, it’s perfection. It is crammed to the brim with beautiful fresh produce instead of packaged junk. It’s full of ingredients with which to make the most tempting of foods, not stuff wrapped in plastic masquerading as ‘foods’.
I’m not blogging this to say ‘you must all organise your lives and your fridge exactly this way, now!!’
I’m blogging this to share how I organise my life and my fridge, in the hopes that you may take even just one thing away tonight and apply it in your kitchen to reduce waste. Reducing waste keeps the earth happy, and it keeps our wallets and bellies happy. Which, ultimately, keeps us happy. 🙂