Saturday, June 6, 2020

#WFPB and The Apartment-size Fridge

From the #PBOB Dept - Plant-Based On a Budget - 

In a way, I am fortunate to live in an odder building, with one of the better kitchens I have had in my now 22 years of living in apartments in NYC. 

Meet My Fridge

My point here is going to be about efficient planning of your fridge in a plant-based kitchen. First, let me introduce you to my fridge:

Frigidaire Model # FFET1222UB
Vital Stats:
60" H x 24" W x 28.75" D, 11.6 CuFt, being 8.4 cu. ft. fresh food capacity and 3.1 cu. ft. freezer capacity, with one shelf in the freezer. 

I am not mentioning the fridge because I am promoting it, but simply as an example of how to use the space/capacity efficiently. To round off the numbers a bit, we have here 

Using the freezer Long Term vs Short Term

Evidently, the freezer is roughly a quarter of the capacity. But, used wisely, you can use every corner.

For the Long Term 

At the max, 50-70% of my freezer is used for frozen dishes. 
  • Often times it is simply easier to cook a larger amount rather than a small amount. I am always cooking ahead, and in my case when I make a large pot of soup or some kind of dal, I just freeze whatever I cannot eat within a few days for the long run, in quart bags. And when the freezer fills up, I shift to living on the stock pile and do less cooking, and I eat all these dishes, and often times all I have to do is make some salad and cook up some fresh veggies, etc. and some rice or noodles or potatoes to make a meal.
  • Also in the long term storage might be some products like whole wheat and besan flour, which last me a long time, and I don't want to get any bugs in them. I only use them 1 table spoon at a time.

For the Short Term

The 30-50% that is short term storage is mostly for price arbitrage. 
  • For example, during this COVID-19 episode, I saw blueberries for as much as $9 for an 18 Oz box, or $3/6 Oz. But I bought 18 Oz boxes just prior at $2 for 18 Oz, or $0.67/6 Oz and I had frozen them. Needless to say, I never bought them for the high price. 
  • I always also have a bit of mixed veggies or some frozen spinach, more for convenience, just so I have something to fall back on when I run out of time to shop fresh. 
  • I also tend to have one frozen bread. (Dave's Killer Bread of course). I don't eat a lot of bread, so I just toast a slice or two when I am in the mood.
  • Another thing for the shorter term is a bag to save up left over cut-up beggies, that come in handy to cook my own home made veggie broth. Lots of pieces that are not usable otherwise work fine in broth or stew. Some celerty that would otherwise go to waste, can be cut up and put to use this way. The trick is just not to let any veggies go bad,
  • Another thing is, when I make broth, I usually preserve some as icecubes in an icecube tray. Often, when stir-frying beggies, instead of adding liquid broth, I can use use a couple of broth cubes.

In short, with a little bit of planning that fridge is a powerful tool and the freezer compartment is absolutely maxed out.

The Refrigerator Compartment

Obviously, the refrigerator compartment is more short term by nature. If you are going to use a frozen zoup or a dal, you can take it out 24 hours anhead of time and defrost it.