Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to upgrade your food labeling organization.
Every single human wrestles with certain deep, existential questions in life. You know, the “who am I” and “what am I here for?” questions. What’s scary is when we start saying them to our refrigerators:
- When did I make this?
- What is it here for?
- Who put this in the fridge?
- Can I still eat this??
Joking aside, food safety is no laughing matter. If you’ve ever had a touch of food poisoning, you know exactly what I mean. Sometimes we let food get lost in a real-food kitchen… and no – it’s not a fermentation experiment! So let’s upgrade our food labeling organization by using a secret weapon in the kitchen: markers.
Dry Erase Markers, Wet Erase Markers: For More Than Just School
I keep a dry erase marker tucked into my circular spice rack – turned upside down so it always has ink at the tip. I grab this fabulous tool whenever I need to label and date a container. For example, we enjoy making kefir – a dairy ferment that happens at room temperature. I always write the day and time on the lid so I don’t forget when I started fermenting.
But don’t stop at labeling ferments. I was standing in my friend’s kitchen just yesterday and she pulled out a WET erase marker to label all leftovers in her fridge. Unlike a dry erase marker, wet erase markers (like the Vis-à-vis brand used on transparencies) can’t be smudged off with your thumb – whether on purpose or on accident. Need to remove the marker? She just pops her containers in the dishwasher and the markings come right off. As a busy mom, she maximizes her time by prepping her food at the beginning of the week. She writes the date on her container, as well as what day she plans to use it. This lets her hungry middle-school boys know if the food is up for grabs (or off limits) when they come home hungry from school. Bonus? Wet erase markers can be used on both glass and plastic.
But don’t just stop with the fridge! Do you have any mixes in your pantry?
Permanent Markers In The Pantry
I took a permanent Sharpie marker to label all of our homemade seasoning mixes, including taco seasoning, Italian salad dressing, and ranch salad dressing. I write the ingredients that make up the bulk mix on the back of the jar. On the front I write what wet ingredients I will need to mix it with. What a relief to cut out time to find my ranch dressing recipe! Now, it’s always there. Permanent markers can be removed from glass jars with a little elbow grease. Don’t use it on plastic.
My Other Secret Use For Dry Erase Markers
Sometimes I can be a bit … forgetful. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve forgotten about my yogurt, letting it sit out overnight. Or neglected to pull my 5#-frozen-rock-solid chicken out of the freezer. Or forgot to pull my fruit leathers out of the dehydrator … until I find them a week later.
Taking a cue from my college dorm days, I now use a dry erase marker to write notes to myself on the bathroom mirror. You know, things like: “DON’T FORGET THE YOGURT AGAIN” or “check fruit leather 7:00pm.” It’s been extremely effective. And while you have the dry erase marker handy, go ahead and leave an encouraging note or doodle for a family member! Who says bathroom mirrors need to be boring?
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