I cleaned out my refrigerator today. We have been on a strict food budget for weeks and so there’s not much to block my view of the filth. Usually I do a thorough clean right before Thanksgiving – the rest of the year it is hit and miss (meaning, all sorts of nasty "hit" the shelves and drawers which I somehow miss until way past a reasonable clean date.)
Humm… If I clean in November then I should do another good clean in May so then it would at least get a twice a year clean. Or better yet, do like organized women and do a thorough clean each week before going grocery shopping!
So, I am cleaning out the fridge and coming across jars and bottles of salad dressing (numerous), pickles, ketchup, various flavors of mustard and salsas. And I have to wonder when do these things expired once they are opened? Beside the "use by date" shouldn’t the bottle include "once open – use by date"? Just a suggestion.
I guess the "smart house" refrigerators will tell you when to throw something out – unless an element goes out in the unit or something.
Now, a story about relatives – makes me look better after the admission that I only schedule a thorough cleaning once a year! Once I went to an unnamed relative’s house and she pulled out the ketchup and it looked black. She removed the lid and a swarm of fruit flies flew out. Nevertheless, she just continued to pour it on her french fries, flies and all.
Another relative put a bottle on the table at dinner , I thought it was BBQ sauce. I didn’t even know that ketchup would turn that shade of brown. Who lets their ketchup turn brown?! Ice cream getting freezer burn I get, but Ketchup?!
Anyway, I discovered that, (depending on the source) ketchup is good opened in the fridge for 4-6 months. Any longer and you take your chances of having a bottle of brownish ketchup that resembles BBQ sauce – and/or bugs.
I also found the following on http://www.fsis.usda.gov/Fact_Sheets/Refrigeration_&_Food_Safety/index.asp#13 :
If food has spoiled in a refrigerator – such as during a power outage – and odors from the food remain, they can be difficult to remove. The following procedures may have to be repeated.
Wipe inside of unit with equal parts vinegar and water. Vinegar provides acid which destroys mildew.
Wash inside of unit with a solution of baking soda and water. Be sure to scrub the gaskets, shelves, sides, and door. Allow to air out several days.
Stuff unit with rolled newspapers. Close the door and leave for several days. Remove paper and clean with vinegar and water.
Sprinkle fresh coffee grounds or baking soda loosely in the bottom of the unit, or place them in an open container.
Place a cotton swab soaked with vanilla inside freezer. Close door for 24 hours. Check for odors.
Use a commercial product available at hardware and housewares stores. Follow the manufacturers’ instructions.
After reading this about the coffee, I got to thinking about how much I love the smell of coffee. I once had a roommate who loved the smell even though she couldn’t stand the taste. So why have I never seen a can of coffee-scented air freshener? Then again, maybe I just need to get out more.