5 Items a Chef Would Remove from Your Fridge, Every Time

published Oct 7, 2022
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A person standing in front of an open refrigerator inside a kitchen
Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn

It can be so tempting to organize everything in your kitchen à la the Kardashian Oreo jar. But there’s a point where a pleasing aesthetic starts to get in the way of function. Take a peek in your fridge, for instance: Are there lots of clear plastic bins, egg keepers, and produce pods? Before you go out and purchase these bonus (and sometimes pricey) items for your fridge, consider that you may not need to. I asked Sydney Rae Chin, who is a chef at People’s Kitchen Philly (in addition to being a multifaceted artist and non-monogamy educator), for their advice on lifestyle items that can be promptly removed from the fridge — hey, you might even free up some very invaluable shelf real estate! Here are five items a chef would take out of your fridge, every time. 

Berry Bins

Given that they’re doing the same job as the containers berries come in, they’re not only redundant, but a waste of money. You don’t need plastic bins to keep food fresh. “Not only can you save, but you can also wash your berries without taking them out of their container,” Chin says. “It’s great for low-energy days or an easy snack at the office.” 

Chalkboard Labels

Though these cute labels are perhaps more Instagrammable, tape and a pen work just as well for marking the expiration date and denoting what’s inside the container. “Whether it’s in a commercial kitchen or at home, grabbing a piece of tape and Sharpie has always helped me keep track of food and when it will go bad. No reason to get too fancy when you can just use what you have on hand,” suggests Chin.

Credit: New Africa/Shutterstock

Produce Green Savers

“As any mid-twenty-something, my bank account isn’t exactly filled, so using paper towels or a dampened thin cloth instead of green produce savers has saved me time, money, and a trip to the grocery store,” Chin explains. Instead of buying a container designer to keep produce fresher for longer, try this DIY: Dampen a paper towel or thin cloth and wrap up your produce. It may seem too easy, but your veggies will thank you! Stash them in a quart container from your recent takeout order and you’re all set.

Pods for Lemons and Other Produce

It’s better to bag up these items in an airtight bag or container, or use airtight wrapping like Saran wrap. “Bagging up my produce and other veggies has saved me money and at the end of the day, it’s less about what looks good and more about what actually works,” Chin says. 

Food Saver Sheets

Placing these sheets among your produce is meant to keep them fresh, but save yourself a trip to the store and just grab a paper towel, dampen it, and wrap your food snuggly up. “I learned this hack from June in a series on her YouTube channel, Delish, called Budget Eats,” Chin explains. “There’s lots of free knowledge out there from those of us who work with and around food in more of a professional capacity and we’re always happy to share in order to help you save a few dollars and your food stay fresh.”