What's in your fridge?

In the spirit of spring cleaning, I thought I’d dedicate a column to those ubiquitous jars that line our fridge doors.

As a foodie, I will humbly admit I have a weakness for condiments. I love all kinds of pickles, jams, chutneys, sauces – the list is endless. The problem is, it can be hard to use up an entire jar.

As a result of my fetish to taste so many flavours, I end up with orphan jars that languish in my fridge. With this week’s column, I’m offering ways to finally finish them.

We will find uses for the homemade gifts, the extra dressing you bought for that one dinner party, and the four different pickles you couldn’t resist at that fun Italian deli (OK, the last one was really me, not you…)


These are notorious fridge-door residents. A bottle of hot sauce will last a long time in your fridge but don’t try to set new records and keep it forever. The best approach is to limit the number of bottles you have open.

One hot sauce can be used for anything from hot wings to Caesar salad dressing, from chip dip to Caesar cocktails. Once you know how hot your current sauce is, you just temper the amount you use accordingly.


My best piece of advice is think homemade before you buy. It’s much easier to make a salad dressing with ingredients you have rather than having a full bottle of something you may not ever finish.

If you do want to buy prepared dressing, remember these can double as marinades and stir fry sauces. Use them for Buddha bowls with rice and legumes too, not just with green salads.


They’re not just for toast any more. Think cheese platters, filling for cake or cupcakes, even homemade parfaits, like single-portion trifle. Add some Dijon mustard or hot sauce and thin with vinegar if needed, and you have a sweet-hot condiment that might be perfect for a pork sandwich or stir fry.


These are great with meats (hot or cold) but they also add some zip to dips made with yogurt or sour cream. As above, they can be thinned with vinegar and used for a finishing sauce for stirfry or roasted meat. (Don’t add them until the last moment, or the sugar in the condiment will burn with heat.)


Dill pickles have plenty of competition in today’s world, but they aren’t just for keeping a burger company. Try pickled veggies chopped in a Buddha bowl or a wrap or added to a salad for extra tang.

They can jazz up rice or grains served hot as well, added just before serving. And lastly, they can stand alone, but think of putting them out anytime you have sandwiches, burgers, hotdogs,…

If you find your stock of half-consumed items is growing as opposed to diminishing, a good tip is to put a list of what needs to be eaten on the front of the fridge.

(This works very well for people who have an extra fridge with leftovers or large supplies of ingredients, too; consolidate your thinking by listing items on the main fridge.)

Minimize your waste and make meal planning easier by getting inspiration from what you have.

On a safety note, if you are reheating leftovers (whether using a condiment or not) please be “food safe” and make sure the internal reheated temperature is 165F/74C. Especially when using a microwave, you run the risk of the food not being warm enough to kill the bacteria that is lying in wait at fridge temperature.

Get yourself a thermometer and keep everyone healthy.

When all else fails in the struggle to keep your fridge from being overloaded, try a picnic. Even in the dead of winter a table spread with an assortment of meat and/or fish, cheese, crudités (the fancy picnic word for veggie sticks) and condiments is a brilliant way to clean those shelves.

You might even use up a box of crackers too. And don’t forget to check the cellar for a bottle of wine that needs drinking.

Happy munching.

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About the Author

Kristin Peturson-Laprise is a customer experience specialist by trade, which means she is someone passionate about people having a good time. 

Her company, Wow Service Mentor, helps businesses enhance their customer experience through hands-on training, service programs, and special event coordination.

Kristin enjoys her own experiences too, and that is what she writes about in this column. She and her husband Martin Laprise (also known as Chef Martin, of The Chef Instead) love to share their passion for food and entertaining.  

Kristin says:

"Wikipedia lists a gourmand as a person who takes great pleasure in food. I have taken the concept of gourmandise, or enjoying something to the fullest, in all parts of my life. I love to grow and cook food, and I loved wine enough to become a Sommelier. I call a meal a success when I can convey that 'sense of place' from where the food has come . . . the French call that terroir, but I just call it the full experience. It might mean tasting the flavours of my own garden, or transporting everyone at the table to a faraway place, reminiscent of travels or dreams we have had."


E-mail Kristin at:  [email protected]

Check out her website here:  www.wowservicementor.com


The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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