20 fridge essentials to always have stocked

Adriana Urbina is an In The Know cooking contributor. Follow her on Instagram and visit her website for more.

​​A well-stocked refrigerator gives you the ability to whip up almost any recipe at any time of the day. If you keep (most) of these fridge essentials on-hand, it will make your day-to-day easier, and you will have no option but to eat healthier every day!

  1. Sparkling water (flavored or plain): Great option to have on-hand, and you can always add fresh fruit or citrus peels to take it to the next level.
  2. Greek yogurt: My love for Greek yogurt is strong. Greek yogurt is my secret weapon for a multitude of recipes. It’s fantastic for breakfast, fruit and granola, adding some body to a dish, as a marinade, for thickening or even to cool down a spicy dish. Another bonus: Greek yogurt can easily take the place of sour cream, acting as a very reliable and guilt-free substitution whenever summoned.
  3. Tahini: This is the magic glue that turns hummus into a delicious, creamy spread. But it’s also excellent for homemade dressings, marinades, sauces and dips. It also keeps for ages in the fridge.
  4. Ripe avocados: Store avocados on the counter until ripe, then transfer to your fridge — this will keep them good for an extra 3-5 days! Avocados can top any healthy meal or soup, pair with eggs for breakfast, be turned into guacamole or dip, be used in a smoothie and more.
  5. Ghee: While we use ghee sparingly, it is still a cooking/baking/fridge essential. Keep it in your fridge on standby; many recipes call for it. It is perfectly fine in small doses, plus a great flavor-enhancer. Bonus: ghee (which is clarified butter) can keep for up to a FULL YEAR in your fridge.
  6. Fresh herbs: Parsley, rosemary, thyme, cilantro, dill, etc. Whichever herbs are your favorite, keep them on hand! 
  7. Greens: Think: spinach, arugula, kale. In addition to your favorite fruits and veggies, you should always have some sort of “green” handy to build upon. Having them on standby will encourage you to make a side salad, throw some in a breakfast scramble, toss some in your smoothie or even make some homemade kale chips. 
  8. Eggs: Eggs are essential in the kitchen, whether for cooking or baking. They are also a great source of nutrients for breakfast, lunch or dinner, and you can even use them to make homemade mayo! 
  9. Almond milk, coconut milk or cashew milk (unsweetened, no flavor-added): You can use these for a dairy-free milk substitute for baking, in your shakes and smoothies and as a coffee creamer.
  10. Fresh lemons and limes: Lemons and limes can be used for cooking, squeezing over a home-cooked meal for a hit of tangy awesomeness, in your water for a detoxifying health boost, to preserve other produce or even for household cleaning.
  11. Nut butter (almond, peanut or sunflower): It might seem strange to store these in the fridge, as nut butters can absolutely be kept in the pantry for months. But throwing that jar of nut butter in the fridge after you open it actually doubles its shelf life! 
  12. Miso paste (white, yellow or red): Miso will elevate your seafood, potatoes, soups and life in general. Plus, it keeps in the fridge for a year — sometimes even two! Miso paste is the best way to add savory, umami notes to any dish. It’s also a fantastic mix-in for a wide number of marinades, soups and sauces.
  13. Mustard: Dijon mustard takes priority over yellow.
  14. Fish sauce: The last of my “secret-weapon” umami-rich condiments. Don’t be scared off when you hear the words “fish sauce.” It’s amazing what it can do to your food in terms of flavor, so just focus on that!
  15. Maple syrup: I highly recommend buying maple syrup that contains only one ingredient. I repeat: No added ingredients!
  16. Capers: Capers give such a great bite to a dish! They are a burst of lemony, olive-y, briny flavor. They’re eespecially a standout when used in fish or pasta dishes.
  17. Healthy dips (hummus, guacamole, tzatziki, salsa, baba ghanoush): To be served with vegetable crudites, or as a component to a meal. Homemade is always best for any of these.
  18. Homemade salad dressing: Using a tightly sealed shaker bottle, your homemade salad dressing will easily last seven days. I love combining apple cider vinegar, olive oil, lemon and honey. Just make a new batch each Sunday, and you will never need to buy another bottle of pre-made salad dressing again!
  19. A large, pre-made batch of one rice, grains, or legumes: If you prepare one of these every Sunday, you will greatly simplify the cooking process and reduce your kitchen time significantly throughout the week. Try it! You will be so glad that you did.
  20. Your favorite fruits and veggies (fresh or frozen): This is a no-brainer. Every fridge needs an assortment of fresh fruits and vegetables. Options that last for a long time are carrots, beets, cabbage and celery (about a month each, give or take). As for fruits: Apples last 6-8 weeks, grapes last 2-3 weeks and blueberries last 1-2 weeks in the fridge!

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