Thursday, 26 May 2016

Cool Tips For Hot Days

It is ages since I did a Top Tips post. But as we recently changed our refrigeration at home, I have been reorganising my chilled and frozen foodstuffs. We've replaced our original fridge [with inbuilt icebox] with a new fridge freezer. The fridge has gone to Liz and Jon's new place, and the old freezer is now in the garage. This gives us more fridge space, and more freezer space. So here are a few ideas 
1; be ruthless about storage containers. I have got rid of any split, lidless and otherwise damaged plastic boxes - including a few Lock'n'lock types which have mysteriously lost one or more tabs. I do like L&L - but they are expensive, and they do not stack well when empty. This range  suits me, it is economical, fits neatly in my freezer drawers and is widely available [The Range is a particularly good source - lots of sizes and best prices]

2; label everything you freeze. I know I keep banging on about leftovers - but if you do chill and freeze a spare portion of something for another day, you may find yourself wondering 'is this pork casserole, or chicken curry?'  as you look at the cold hard contents of the box. That might not be too serious - but confusing gravy and chocolate sauce could cause disasters. I did serve Bob with apple pie once, thinking it was a chicken pie. [he nobly ate his veg and gravy separately - then the pie - then I had to confess I had done baked apples for dessert!] Put the date on too[including the year]

3; repack wisely. I always decant opened packs of frozen peas into 2 or 3 smaller boxes. Much easier to manage, less risk of split packs spilling their contents in the floor [peas on earth] If I do buy a bag of salad leaves [usually when yellow-stickered] I follow Sainsbury's advice - pop a sheet of kitchen towel in the opened bag, then roll the top over loosely and replace in the fridge, This is supposed to absorb moisture and discourage the leaves from going soggy.

4; keep a bottle of water chilling. We went out for a meal recently, and Bob had a bottle of spring water [this stuff - all the way from Norway, as drunk by top golfers at Wentworth this week!] We brought the 800mlbottle home as it fits beautifully in the fridge door. I dropped a few slices of lime and sprigs of mint in to infuse, and it is very refreshing. HFW's Leftovers book suggests strips of cucumber peel make a good addition too.

5; mark the date on dairy pots. So often the use by date is stamped on the foil lid. Fine for individual yogurts, but hopeless for things like cream, fromage frais and large pots of yogurt, where you might only use half of it and put the rest back. The opened foil lids can be messy, so you peel them right off - but then later cannot remember when you got the stuff.
 I mark mine with a Sharpie before I even open them.

6; make some ice cream. I seemed to have a glut of cans of condensed milk in the cupboard - so decided to try out HFW's recipe for 'Granny's Ice Cream' I can report that it was ridiculously easy to make. It only has 4 ingredients and it tastes good. It is rich and creamy - but not soft scoop. you need to get it out 20 minutes before you serve it to allow it to soften slightly.

Ingredients in granny's jam ; cream, condensed milk [milk, sugar] vanilla extract, jam [fruit, sugar, lemon juice], sugar COMPARED TO essentials' raspberry ripple; partially reconstituted skimmed milk concentrate, sugar, raspberry ripple sauce (10%) (sugar, water, wheat glucose syrup, raspberry puree, cornflour, acidity regulators citric acid and trisodium citrate, colour anthocyanins, gelling agent pectin, flavouring), coconut oil, wheat glucose syrup, milk whey powder, emulsifier mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids, stabilisers locust bean gum and guar gum, flavouring, colours beta-carotene and beetroot red.

The home-made one is cheaper - and probably better for you. I got a bit carried away - divided my mix between 2 1-litre boxes. The first was swirled with jam [six heaped teaspoonsful swirled in] and the second I used Camp Coffee Essence [about 1½ tablespoons] The narrow handle of my jam spoon made an excellent swirling tool!
And I followed my own advice and labelled carefully

Find some of my older cool tips on this topic here, here and hereWhat are your best fridge and freezer tips? 


  1. Brilliant. That ice cream definitely looks achievable - even for me. The salad leaf/paper towel thing does work. I do use bags because I was throwing full lettuces away and I do eat all the stuff from bags. More expensive but less wasteful.

  2. I just cleared out the freezer and found many shriveled bananas that never made it into banana bread AND very tired looking popsicles.

  3. That is a great tip about the lettuce!!! I shall try it!!Xx

    1. Like NM above, I buy the bagged leaves because there are only two of us and we can use them up quicker. As she says, the paper thing does seem to work.

  4. I have all but stopped using plastic tubs in the freezer, I tip chilli, curry etc into zip lock bags and freeze flat. Then they fit into the drawer on edge, I can get so much more in like this.

    1. Thanks for this tip. How do you label the bags - with sticky labels, or do you write on them before you fill them? This seems a very efficient way to pack sauces/soups

  5. Great tips! I must get back in the habit of putting a jug of water in the fridge!


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