One of the problems that single-serving cooks continually face is things that change texture and colors as they languish in the refrigerator. These are not always leftovers from the meal you cooked a week ago, or the little box you brought home from the restaurant when you couldn’t clean your plate (even though you knew then it was unlikely that you’d actually eat what was inside). Having things “go bad” is a perpetual problem for those of us cooking for one…that head of celery, that whole head of romaine lettuce….
There are lots of tips, tricks, and suggestions that I’ve found about how to store things that plague the single-serving cooks but I’m always looking for better ways to store those bits and pieces until I can use them. I’m always on the lookout for things that actually do work.
One of my favorite sources for information like this is Cook’s Illustrated because they actually do experiments to find out what works and what does not. This doesn’t seem to lend itself well to a post for each suggestion, so I thought I’d add a reference page on Storing Stuff as a place to collect information about storage methods for the things that you are likely to use as a single-serving cook. If you have a successful method that you use as a solo cook, please post it.
I’m definitely an oenophile. I like wine with my meals, but sometimes I hesitate to open a bottle when I know that I’m going to have leftovers, or if I think that it’s a more expensive bottle than I want to have only for one. I also like to cook with wine, but hate opening a bottle for just a glass and a splash in the sauce. I think that wine in a box is one of the greatest that for those of us living alone. It’s now possible to get good wine, inexpensively in a box. Tuck a box of white in the fridge, and stash a box of red on the pantry shelf. I can have the luxury of a glass of wine whenever I want, and a splash of white for cooking even when I’m drinking red. That doesn’t mean that I don’t have some exquisite bottles in my cellar. They’re the ones to have with a special meal, and possibly with friends. But the “house” wine is now in a box. It’s not cheap wine–just inexpensive and convenient.
There was one advantage of having “leftovers”–bits and pieces of bottles: those make great wine vinegar. I have a glass container in the cabinet that get “fed” on those to keep the mother alive, so I have a constant supply of good wine vinegar. It’s unfiltered, unpasteurized, potent, and much more complex in flavor that the stuff out of a bottle. I’ve had the red wine going since I was given the mother over 10 years ago. It’s simple to keep–the occasional splash of wine from the box, or occasionally, but a really inexpensive bottle and dump that in.
I recently decided that I wanted white wine vinegar, too. So, took some of the mother from my red wine and put it into a bottle of white wine. Not sure yet what is going to happen–now it’s still a bit pink as the mother was a very deep, dark red. There will be future reports on the progress.