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A Peek Inside Our Refrigerator & Using Mason Jars To Make It Pretty & Organized

 

Mason Jars in refrigerator

I posted this picture the day after the Oscars, and it got quite a bit of attention on New Nostalgia’s Facebook & Instagram (Amy_NewNostalgia on IG).  I 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

In the second post  I will share:
 
A. What else is in the refrigerator that you may not be able to see.
B. What we eat. How foods in the pantry and freezer are key to creating well rounded meals.
C. How only buying what you need for the week is key to an organized refrigerator.
D. Meals we ate that week
E. Snacks we ate that week
F. Lunches we ate that week
G. Breakfasts we ate that week

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 plastic storage containers, except a couple large Rubbermaid disposable type bowls that I use occasionally.  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.

Organized refrigerator

5. As you can see in the picture, I chop most of 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 yours 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.  After 1 week, I was expecting my pepper slices and cucumber slices to be slimy.  They were not at all!  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 this is not having a bunch of junk food snacks sitting around, keep snack choices healthy.  If it is all you have in the house, they will eventually eat them. But, oh how I love to find an empty jar! This happens so much more when I take the time to cut up our veggies and store them in jars.

………………..
 
Make sure you look for Thursdays post for part 2.
 
 
Do you have any tips for me?
What thoughts did this post spur on in your head?
I would love to know if you care to share!
  • darlene June 9, 2015 at 3:42 pm

    Do I need to wash first and if so do I need to dry fruit first before sealing jar?

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  • Joy Messier January 18, 2014 at 2:25 pm

    Love this! I can’t wait to have my own kitchen so I can keep it this organized, unfortunately it’s difficult to do so with roommates. Can’t wait to read the next post!

  • Anonymous August 30, 2013 at 12:10 pm

    Very inspirational! I am going to try this system. I guess I am going shopping!

  • Anonymous May 22, 2013 at 10:46 pm

    Just found your blog via Pibterest and love this idea!Another great way to use mason jars is for pantry goods.We have had problems with pantry moths that apparently comes “free” when you buy many dry goods at the store (ewww isnt that gross?) wish I knew where they come from or how to not have them come home,thats a “freebie” I dont want LOL Anyways they last longer that way and they look pretty too! I have read that you should put those goods in the freezer for at least 3 days before storing them so from your great tip, sounds like the mason jars could go from freezer to pantry. Thanks for the tips and will be back as well as visiting your other sites you mentioned!

  • Andrea March 22, 2013 at 2:58 pm

    I’m wondering why fruit in the fridge rather than out on the counter?

  • Jennifer March 13, 2013 at 4:13 pm

    Brilliant! I love the idea of using mason jars for veggie storage! I will definitely be implementing this next time I return from the grocery store! This makes it easy to grab and go for snacks on the road or in a rush as well! Thank you so much for sharing!

  • Tracy March 12, 2013 at 7:55 pm

    Thank you for the great post! I’m looking forward to the second part on Thursday. I use mason jars for dried goods and leftover storage, but I have not tried keeping the raw cut up veggies in them, I think I will give it a try as we eat a salad twice a day. I have tried your idea of the fruit in an open bowl in the fridge for about a week now, and I am amazed at how often the fruit is being chosen as a snack. Thanks for the great idea Amy!

  • Julie J March 12, 2013 at 7:41 pm

    I love the idea of using mason jars! I have about a million so I will have to start doing this for some of my veggies. Most of the time I make up little individual servings of fruits and veggies because they are quick to grab and throw in my lunch in the morning. Thanks for the ideas!

  • Jamie March 12, 2013 at 3:34 am

    Great ideas… I keep my eggs in a wire basket so I can easily see if I need to billy more. It is also easy access. I have been following on Pinterest for awhile and enjoy your posts and ideas. Thanks. 🙂 Jamie

  • Aiming4Simple March 11, 2013 at 8:54 pm

    I love your system! Thanks for this post. My kids are snackaholics, and this would be such a positive thing for us to do!

  • melissa March 12, 2013 at 12:03 am

    Love this idea. I used bags and all my veggies were gross by the end of the week. I wonder why it wont in mason jars? I will be trying this!

  • Anonymous March 11, 2013 at 8:22 pm

    I didn’t realize that you could put Mason jars in the freezer (however I guess that what people use for freezer jam). Have you ever had any problem which the jars cracking? Thanks for the pose. I love reading your blog.

    • Anonymous April 26, 2013 at 4:10 am

      There are ones that say freezer safe so look for those specifically to do your freezing.

  • Karen March 11, 2013 at 4:54 pm

    I’ve been using Mason jars for freezing and storing dry items, but I hadn’t thought of them as storage in the refrigerator. I will be now! Thanks for the tip on the 4 oz size for soup. Will be great to take to work.

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