Remember that huge harvest of raspberries three years ago? Or that Strawberry-Cumin-Chive Jelly you thought sounded interesting up until the first spoon full? How about those cheese cubes leftover from a party tray that you swore would make fabulous macaroni and cheese one cold winter day? That’s pretty much all they should be right now…a memory. But chances are you have a few “Ghosts of Bumper-Crops Past” lurking in your freezer, and jars of Condiment Remorse hiding behind the ketchup in your refrigerator door.
As children, we remember our mothers and grandmothers completely emptying out the refrigerator and freezer to let them “defrost.” Being forced to empty the contents of them twice a year was a great way to keep track of one’s inventory, and also gave one a chance to thoroughly clean the units. But since the advent of “Frost Free” refrigerators and freezers, there are no more mandatory deadlines for giving your refrigerator and freezer the once-over.
Martha Stewart recommends deep cleaning your refrigerator and freezer four times a year. We’re not that ambitious, but we never let a spill set unattended, try to give the shelves and drawers a good wipe-down at least three times a year, and schedule one big deep cleaning for our two freezers and refrigerator sometime between New Years and Easter. (Since it’s cold outside during this period, we can place foodstuffs outside during cleaning so we don’t have to worry about spoilage.)
Watch the slide show for handy refrigerator/freezer cleaning tips. And in the comment section, tell us the one food item you know you’ve had in your fridge for too long, and vow to throw out today!