From Upsplash

The Fridge: Essential Perishables

I already covered the pantry essentials in my previous article; The Cupboard; Pantry Essentials.

Now we are looking at things that might not last as long. These are the things you use all of the time, and if you have to cut your food budget, these are the ones that shouldn't be used right away. I will also include things in the freezer.



  • Milk
    • Lactose intolerant people might want to hit soy milk. I usually find that cheaper than nut-based milks. If you have to go coupon happy to get it for a better price, then do it. It's not only good for you, but you will miss out on a lot of good recipes.


  • Butter
    • For the love of God, do not get margarine! If you have an intolerance to dairy, use lard. For vegans, look to olive oil or coconut oil. You're going to have to bust out the coupons for coconut, but if it fits your lifestyle, it's worth it.


  • Cheese
    • You can feed an army with a loaf of bread and a pack of cheese slices. If you are vegan, I am told that sweet potato sauce also works well if you are looking for a vegan substitute for nachos or pasta.


Frozen Foods


  • Mirepoix Veggies
    • Now, the usual mix for a mirepoix (meer-pwaa) is celery, carrots, and onions. A mirepoix are three vegetables that act as the main foundation of a soup, stew, or other big stock mix. It is true that veggies aren't as expensive, but the mirepoix isn't gospel about which three veggies you make as your base. You can find frozen green peppers, frozen carrots, frozen peas, all sorts of things. Corn doesn't really have much flavor to it, but if you like the stuff, it goes well in spicy dishes to counteract things. The time you would have saved chopping and putting together the veggies is what you pay for the frozen, especially with the bags that allow you to steam them.


  • Proteins of Preference
    • If you are not into eating meat, put your soy products in here. Some people are picky about meat, others aren't. If you are not, don't be afraid to get those refrozen patties in a bag if you're going for cheap. What sometime happens when you cook refrozen chicken is that there is a yucky froth of dots. When meat travels and is frozen then refrozen, that gunk comes to the surface in dots. This is more in chicken than fish because fish is thin. I haven't seen it much in beef, but be sure to wipe them off as you would froth from a soup.


  • Frozen Cans of Juice
    • If you have a pitcher and a clean water source (Brita is your friend), you usually pop the can in for 90 seconds with the lid off, refill the can three times, and you have orange juice much cheaper than the store. Very handy for screwdrivers!


  • Ice
    • Some of the cheapest recipes are for blended goodies, so keep that ice tray loaded when you can!


Other Essentials


  • Baking Soda
    • Do NOT use this one for recipes, it is meant to be in the fridge to know out odor in an open package. You never know if you forget to date something and it goes foul.


  • Eggs
    • Eggs have many uses in recipes. For those who don't do eggs, you might just want to bite the bullet and get egg substitute if you are craving a non-egg omelette. If it's not the star player in the recipe, you'll have to go by use and what tastes the best. Banana may not go well with something such as keeping a meatloaf together, but may go well in a custard. For a list of egg substitutes in cooking, check out the internet because some swear by one, others swear by another. The best way to know what to do is look into why the egg is in that recipe. What is it's purpose? When you find that, you can knock the list down to what you need.


You can add or subtract to this as much as you need, but this list keeps most of the bases covered. If there are perishables that I have missed, feel free to comment in the comments!

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Sarah Whitaker
Sarah Whitaker

From American Idol, to the Professional Wrestling Industry, I am an eccentric adventurer hoping to change reality between my spiritual views, and my knack for solving problems.

Cheap College Cooking
Cheap College Cooking

As someone who has been on the road a lot, I am here to show you the best ways to stay frugal about food. Here, you will find recipes and tips on how to keep from breaking the bank with your grocery bill. You can also learn tricks that are healthy and cheap.

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