Unless you have some kind of a system for organizing your refrigerator, it’s easy for fresh produce to go bad, especially if you buy a lot of it. My old method was to stow fresh foods in the refrigerator in whatever bag—if any—they came in. Why not, I thought? Those bags were free. Unless I used those items all the same day, though, I would lose track of how old they were and what was inside each bag. This is a great way to end up with a science project but not the best way to make the most of your food dollars or organize your refrigerator effectively.
Since adding a greater proportion of raw foods and juices to my diet, I have discovered better ways to manage fresh foods. One of these is the Keepeez lid system that I found out about one day when I saw a demonstration of them at Sam’s Club. At first, I hung around the outside of the group gathering to watch, because people hawking things at discount clubs usually represent some product I definitely don’t need, and I suspect a scam. However, in this case, the more I watched, the more it dawned on me that this could be the solution I’d been looking for to organize my refrigerator. The demonstrator was covering bowls of food or liquid in seconds and turning them upside down to show that they didn’t leak. Reflecting on the many times I’d had things spill in my refrigerator and what a pain it was to clean them up, I was intrigued.
Keepeez lids come in a set of nesting sizes that will fit everything from a drinking glass to a large salad bowl. They have a clear, stretchy membrane made of nontoxic elastomer set in a white plastic rim. They work on any glass, bowl, or other container (like cans of dog food) as long as it does not have uneven edges. You set the Keepeez lid on top, and then press the center of the lid as far down as you can; this removes air and creates a seal. The demonstrator used his elbow to press out the air on the larger lids, and I’ve found it’s the quickest and easiest way too. To release the seal, you just press under the “hub” on the rim. I use all clear bowls and glasses with Keepeez lids so I can see inside without having to pick up the bowl. I use them mainly to seal bowls of salad, fresh fruit, or glasses of fresh juice; that way, when I look inside my refrigerator I can see everything I have at a glance. I’ve also found that I’m more inclined to eat food that I can see rather than letting it go to waste. It looks colorful and inviting, and it’s all ready to eat. Food lasts considerably longer stored with Keepeez; in effect, it’s similar to using a vacuum sealer.
Here’s a video of a demonstration like the one I saw. If you want to see a live demonstration of Keepeez, I recommend calling your nearest Sam’s Club to find out when these lids will be demonstrated again. The demonstrator offers some freebies with your purchase, and the price is also better than from keepeez.com. I got several stick-on Keepez lid clips that let you clip a nested set of lids inside a cabinet door, as well as a clear acrylic bowl as freebies. As you can see from this old demonstration on QVC (where they are no longer sold), they were selling them for about $26 per set; I bought four sets at Sam’s for around $60, about $15 apiece.
These lids are not cheap, but you have 30 days to change your mind at Sam’s Club. I had an uneasy feeling I’d spent too much money when I took these home. After using them for several days, there was no way I would part with them, although two sets would probably have been plenty for one person. I found additional clear acrylic salad bowls (higher quality) at Elder-Beerman on sale; I use the large one as a salad bowl and the small ones for individual servings of salad or fruit. If I have a lot of extra fresh juice, I usually put it into a Ball jar, but if there is just one glass or less of extra juice, I put it into a glass and top it with a Keepeez lid.
Keepeez lids are not perfect. The lid and the edges of your bowl have to be clean and dry for the seal to stick, and occasionally I will go to get something from the refrigerator and find that the lid has come unstuck because I didn’t bother to dry the edges after taking the lid off my salad bowl and replacing it on a fresh bowl of salad without drying in between. However, they are immune to ripping and tearing, and they are dishwasher safe. If a lid appears stretched out, you just run it under hot water, and it immediately becomes perfectly smooth again. If you have several bowls in the refrigerator covered with Keepeez lids, they will take up some extra room, because the lid extends beyond the rim of the bowl somewhat. On the other hand, the bowls can be stacked to save space in the refrigerator, which is a nice way to make use of all your space. If you know the seal is secure, you can even put them in any position that saves space. They have a lifetime guarantee, and any time a lid stops working, Keepeez will replace it free. If you don’t live near a Sam’s Club, you can buy Keepez online at bedbathandbeyond.com for about $20 per set, except with no freebies; they also have the individual lids there, if you just want to try one lid before committing to a set.
If you want to store your fresh food in a more compact way, you have two other options—vacuum sealing and Debbie Meyer green bags. Vacuum sealing with a Food Saver or other vacuum sealer allows you to seal foods in bags or Ball jars or in specially designed vacuum containers. This is especially good for sealing Ball jars full of fresh juice when you make a lot, because the juice lasts several days longer. You can seal nuts, flours, and the like in the bags. You can’t use the bags for fresh fruits and vegetables that are soft, like berries or tomatoes, because they would be crushed, although you could freeze individual berries on a cookie sheet and seal those in the bags.
Debbie Meyer Green Bags
Debbie Meyer green bags are available at Kroger’s Waynetowne Plaza and other places around town. These are useful because they are infused with a substance that retards spoilage. Although they are not airtight, they still do a great job of keeping fresh foods fresh, so they’re super for putting your fresh vegetables in when you get them home from the store and before they’re washed. They’re reusable a few times before they lose their effectiveness.
Keepeez, the Food Saver, and Debbie Meyer green bags are a few of the options you have for keeping your fresh food fresh longer and simultaneously organizing your refrigerator to promote better management of what you have. The bottom line, though, is that whatever system you’ll use consistently is the one for you.
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