Tour My Kitchen: refrigerator and freezer organization

Things get really interesting behind the doors of a food bloggers’ refrigerator, and so I have left the best part of the kitchen tour for our last day.

Back in my days as a culinary student and then later on when working in restaurants, it was not unusual to have regular inspections of our workspaces, including a detailed check up of our refrigerators. Items had to be clearly labelled, rotated regularly, and, above all, immaculate. It’s safe to say all those years of vigilance left an impression on me and I continue to strive for an orderly fridge and freezer.

It’s also safe to say that this attention to detail does not carry over to other parts of the house, say my coat closet or laundry room. So please don’t compare the contents of your refrigerator to my photos below. I will have to subject you to Instagrams of my craft closet and boy, you don’t want to see it.

I’m fortunate to have a beautiful platform to showcase my condiments and produce, juice jugs and brown eggs. It was well worth moving a cupboard over and reworking the kitchen cabinets somewhat to receive the 36-inch model, up from our old 30-incher.

KitchenAid refrigerator

“I’ve never felt this way about an appliance before.”  I confessed to Danny, after the French door refrigerator from KitchenAid’s Architect® Series II was installed in my kitchen. On the exterior it purred, gleamed and glowed from the LED screen above the water dispenser.

As for the interior, well, I kinda wanted to swing the double doors wide open and just stare into it.

Simple Bites Kitchen Tour: Fridge & Freezer Organization #kitchen #hacks

This fridge has so much going for it, particulars that I suggest you check out for yourself on the KitchenAid Canada website because they are too many for me to list here without making this post more epic than ever.

The engineer, Danny was pretty excited that it featured dual sequential evaporators (and I was all… whaaa? until he explained that means the freezer air does not mix with the fridge air) which are part of the Preserva® Food Care System. I’m all about keeping food fresher for longer and less waste.  More on that below.

Sufficient to say, I love it.

Simple Bites Kitchen Tour: Fridge & Freezer Organization #kitchen #hacks

Two deep crisper drawers have an ethylene-absorption cartridge that helps extend the freshness of produce. So far, so good. And below, the electronic temperature controlled pantry – already so handy for lunch items. I have yet to fill it as there is a ton of space in there.

Tip: Store your blocks of Parmesan wrapped in tin foil in the fridge. It maintains the correct moisture level so the cheese neither “sweats” nor dries out. For a reasonable time, of course.

Simple Bites Kitchen Tour: Fridge & Freezer Organization #kitchen #hacks

Tip: I prefer to store things in glass jars instead of plastic so I can see what is inside, and decide at a glance if it needs to be used up. I use canning jars, Weck jars (pictured above), and  most any recycled jar from the kitchen.

One more favorite feature from this model? The ice and water dispenser. This is a first for us and naturally, the boys love it – we’re all drinking more water as a result. The ice dispenser feels like such a luxury, although I am putting it to good use in day-to-day cooking with cooling blanched vegetables, boiled eggs, and so on.

KitchenAid refrigerator automatic waterer

The Freezer

Once you realize that I have moved from a life of digging through the jumbles of a top-mounted freezer to the ease of a pull-out bottom freezer, I think you’ll understand my enthusiasm for this 3-tiered freezer drawer with storage dividers.

Simple Bites Kitchen Tour: Fridge & Freezer Organization #kitchen #hacks

This level of organization would be difficult were it not for the drawers, the top two of which stay tucked in and cold unless needed. Here are the three levels of freezer utopia.

Simple Bites Kitchen Tour: Fridge & Freezer Organization #kitchen #hacks

1. Preserved Produce.

Here is a selection (there is more in the chest freezer) of fruits and vegetables from the summer that I have preserved in one way or another for our use all winter long.

Vacuum sealed produce (from the top of the image) is: rhubarb, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, peaches and cranberries. There are also some roasted tomatoes and basil pesto. Fruits are frozen on a tray, then transferred to bags and sealed with my Sous Vide vacuum sealer.

The small jars hold raspberry butter, ramp pesto and barbecue sauce. The larger plastic containers are filled with roasted strawberries, pumpkin purée,  parsley pesto, coulis and pizza sauce.

It’s a colorful harvest, no?

Simple Bites Kitchen Tour: Fridge & Freezer Organization #kitchen #hacks

2. Baking Supplies

All of my ground spices are stored in the freezer to maintain freshness, and they are stashed in a drawer dedicated to baking. Phyllo, puff pastry, and pie dough all hang out here, as well as a log of basic shortbread, plenty of butter, and nuts.

Simple Bites Kitchen Tour: Fridge & Freezer Organization #kitchen #hacks

3. Stock, Flours, and bulky items

This larger bottom drawer is the catch-all for the larger items, mainly liter jars of homemade stock and the bulk of my flours. A handy divider holds frozen sweet corn and more ground spices.

Tips for freezing in jars: Leave 2 inches of headspace to allow for expansion. Cool overnight in the fridge. Place on a flat surface in freezer. Freeze with lids off. Add lids when stock is solid and label with the date. Try to only use the straight side jars not the jars with shoulders ( I don’t always do this as you can see!)

All of these items are fully visible and fully within reach for my daily cooking and baking. 
Simple Bites Kitchen Tour: Fridge & Freezer Organization #kitchen #hacks

Fresh Facts Survey:

KitchenAid Canada has created this interesting infographic on food waste  – some of the facts may surprise you!

5 Fresh Facts

I was surprised at the top five produce items that Canadians throw out! My three kids plow through bananas like nobody’s business, and we seldom buy grapes as they are so full of pesticide residue, so that isn’t a problem.

Lettuce, however? Its spoiling can sneak up on you quickly. The Preserva® Food Care System in this KitchenAid refrigerator should help us keep lettuce crisp longer.

In addition,  here are three of my favorite ways to use up lettuce before it goes slimy or wilts:

Three ways to use up lettuce on simplebites.net

Jar it:  Make-Ahead Mason Jar Salads

Wrap it:  Avocado Egg Salad Lettuce Wraps with Bacon

Grill it:  Grilled Caesar Salad

Disclosure:

KitchenAid Canada has compensated me for my services and my posts, but all posts represent my own opinion.

Questions?  I’ll be around to chat in the comments. Thanks for reading!

About Aimee

Cooking has always been Aimée's preferred recreational activity, creative outlet, and source of relaxation. After nearly ten years in the professional cooking industry, she went from restaurant to RSS by trading her tongs and clogs for cookie cutters and a laptop, serving as editor here at Simple Bites. Her first book, Brown Eggs and Jam Jars - Family Recipes from the Kitchen of Simple Bites, was published in February 2015.

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Comments

  1. Aimée – I’m having you come over next time you are in Toronto for some serious kitchen organization. I’ll cook you dinner! I am enjoying my new KA fridge too – still moving stuff around every now and then as I adjust to the new space. I don’t have the Preserva feature but even without that, I am finding that my produce stays fresher much longer than in my old fridge.

  2. WOW! I am totally in awe of your fridge organization. I consider myself sort of an organization freak (up to a point), but my fridge does not even come close to yours. Granted, you have a pretty awesome fridge 🙂

    Great tips for storage too!

  3. Am really enjoying your kitchen tour this week. I like your new refrigerator and I’m thinking for my Cooking With Julie and Kids Project that this will be the model for us. I didn’t even know refrigerator manufacturers were thinking about these things. Can’t wait to hear about the stove as I’ll be buying one of those as well.

  4. That is a gorgeous fridge. The freezer drawers make so much more sense than digging through a chest freezer. You have also organized it beautifully. I didn’t know you could actually freeze flour. Does it last longer?

    • Yep, it extends the shelf life and keeps it from going stale or rancid, especially whole wheat flour. In general, whole grain flours spoil more quickly than intact grains, but they can last 2 to 6 months in the freezer.

  5. love that fridge- serious envy on my part. I love how you organize it- I’m a big fan of delineating space for categories of food. And since I have a plain jane top freezer fridge, I use rectangular baskets to keep like things together so that jar of jam doesn’t get pushed behind and forgotten. That bottom freezer with drawers is a great design.

  6. I want that fridge and your organizational skills!

  7. Serious fridge/freezer envy! I love everything about it but the freezer drawers are the best

  8. We have a simliar fridge design and I LOVE it! I’m seriously analyzing your shelf layout, wondering if we could get by with those three stacked shelves on one side. I’m glad to see you have a similar problem of not being able to fit the produce in the produce drawers. Mine spill over onto the shelves. Two questions:
    1. Do you have a good resource for figuring out which produce should and should not be stored together? I need a cheat sheet.
    2. What are those blue and yellow bins with vents?

  9. Aimee.. the weird noise that you are hearing is coming to you from deepest London and it is the sound of my teeth grinding together because of my envy of your magnificent new kitchen appliances.. the fridge, no Sara, don’t even think of the fridge again.. so jealous.. lucky you.. the photos are wonderful.. sigh.

    • I’m right there with you Sara, sitting in my kitchen in Dublin, with its dodgy 1/2-size fridge/freezer combo, and dishwasher that takes 160 minutes to run… The appliances look lovely though! So jealous!

    • Sara, Rheagan, this are my first ‘real’ appliances that actually have a few bells and whistles and don’t always.burn.the muffin bottoms. I’ll put them to good use, don’t you worry!

      Thanks for commenting, ladies.

  10. Wow, it’s gorgeous! I wouldn’t need a fridge that big, but I love, love, love the freezer. The organization with those pull-out drawers! Serious envy going on here.

  11. That fridge is seriously amazing!

  12. That fridge is a thing of beauty and I dream of having such an organized freezer! You’ve inspired me to plan out a freezer revamp.

    • I’m so happy to have inspired! I’m sick of throwing away food. In the summer it goes to my chickens or the compost and that is a little better, but during this time of the year I have to be vigilant.

  13. Aimee, you have inspired me. My fridge organization is normally the Dump and Run method. which normally leads to waste and over buying.
    I too have Fridge Envy.

    • It’s a slippery slope, and I have been there…But I am SO sick of throwing away food. In the summer it goes to my chickens or the compost and that is a little better, but during this time of the year I have to be vigilant.

      I’m glad you’re inspired. 😉

  14. Gorgeous fridge! In your freezer stash of fruits and preserves , what is your favorite way to label them?

    • I use painter’s tape (it’s green) on the tops or bottoms of the jars. It’s stickier than regular masking tape and doesn’t peel off in the freezer. Good question!

  15. wow- I am so jealous. Your organization inspires me to get my own fridge and freezer in order. It would make life so much easier!

  16. Ok, I want that fridge!! And your organized freezer! Very impressed and inspired to attempt to clean and organize mine! Really though, I just need that whole fridge!

  17. Um, this is awesome. i clearly have a lot of work to do in the organization department!! You are very impressive, and I love how much room this fridge has!

  18. I have total refrigerator/freezer envy right now! Please please please come organize my life!
    Love your tips, especially the one for the parm!

  19. What an amazing fridge! Mine would literally fit inside of yours! 🙂

  20. I love your fridge/freezer organization style! I just got a new refrigerator similar to yours last year but mine only has one drawer in the freezer. So now I’m thinking maybe I could put a shelf in the bottom drawer to utilize more space. These kitchen posts have been so inspiring, thanks for sharing! And I love the salad in jars idea–where do you buy the wide mouth jars?

    • I’m still configuring the best set up, so this could all change in a few weeks. 😉

      I get the jars at hardware stores like Canadian Tire or Home Depot.

  21. Aimee, I am SO impressed with your fridge! How neat and organized it is (KitchenAid really knows how to help with that, don’t they!), and with all the features which help store food at it’s best. You’ve made me even more excited about my appliances…can’t wait to use them!

  22. I’m in awe of your fridge and freezer. You’re so freaking organized!! Look at all those jarred goodies!! I wish you lived nearby so you can come do mine 😉 haha just kidding – seriously so beautiful!!

  23. Um… I want to live in your fridge!

  24. Wow, I am flying you out to help my poor fridge asap! Lol! This is a big inspiration for me! Thanks for sharing!

  25. I love this fridge. It’s similar to mine but with more bells and whistles. Gorgeous. I cannot get over how perfectly organized and pretty you make the inside look. Mine does not look like this at all. I try but then chaos ensues. That photo with all the jars is spectacular. I want to reach in and grab one. But I won’t. That would be rude. xx

  26. And I thought my fridge was nice… HA! This is gorgeous! I love KA’s appliances. Your skills for organizing this fridge need to become mine… my fridge looks like a 4-year old took care of it. Which she did. 😉

    • Mine has those days, too! One thing that has helped is staying on top of the leftovers. A dozen little containers of this and that bobbing about drive me nuts!

  27. That fridge is a beauty. And your organization is inspiring.

  28. Great post! You are such an inspiration for organization 🙂

  29. This is just too beautiful. And I really need to start freezing the extra dough. I love your pie and pizza dough recipe, and I know you can freeze them up, but somehow I always make a new one. But obviously, it works perfectly. Genius. I love the tour series Aimee, and thanks for sharing all your little secrets with us.

    • It’s hard to keep up on all sides. Since I’ve been preserving all summer, I almost never had a pie crust or round of pizza dough in the freezer. Now I’m starting to stock up. Shortbread dough, gingerbread and pie crust are all in the line-up for the holidays.

  30. We have one similar to this and ADORE is not too strong of a word! 🙂 A word of caution though, in case your hubby hasn’t thought of this yet: my girlfriend had a power surge that blew her control panel and rendered the fridge useless. 🙁 Use a surge protector of some sort to protect this beauty.

  31. Your kitchen looks so beautiful Amy!! Mine will never look that neat and full of goodies, I can only imagine the lovely ingredients you possess. 🙂 Your cook book selection made me light up, so beautiful! Have a great day & enjoy the new kitchen! -Iva

  32. Nah. Just looks like a normal fridge to me.

    Apart from the organised bits and the shiny bits and the cleanliness…

    I’m depressed

  33. Hi Amy,

    That is some appliance. I am especially jealous of the freezer. Quick question: when you freeze the fresh fruit, do you add anything to the freezer bags to prevent color change or does the vacuum sealing take care of that? Thanks.

  34. Wow, I’m very envious of your insane fridge and freezer organization tips! This will act as my continuing inspiration during my kitchen makeover.

  35. Hi – it looks like you did not put your flour in a zip lock type bag…just folded down with a rubber band around it?

  36. Debby Riegel says:

    I can’t relate to convert everything to my normal refrigerator

  37. This made my day!! I have the most fabulous KitchenAid stainless steel fridge and thought I was the only one who had a super organized fridge. It makes life. cooking and snacking so much easier. Happy it’s not just me??

  38. Linda Veres says:

    Love this! I have this freezer on the bottom too but can’t seem to get it organized. Where did you get the dividers?

  39. Hey your fridge looks great!!
    I have one question, when freezing in jars and you say to leave the lid off until the substance is solid.. would it not become freezer burnt left open in the freezer? Maybe I am misinterpreting

    • Victoria Sternby says:

      In my experience, freezer burn usually takes longer than a day to accumulate. You only freeze it without the lid until it is solid (overnight?) and then you put the lid on to seal the deal.

  40. Victoria Sternby says:

    Out of curiosity, why jars without shoulders?

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