Mark everything. Date everything. Everything needs a label.
This is pretty much a code in the kitchen. And by code I don’t mean ‘guideline.’ It’s a rule that must be upheld. You can’t get away with shoving something in the walk-in and not label and dating it. How are you ever going to know what it is days from now? And will you honestly remember the date? How many yolks did you separate into a deli? What is that mysterious brown substance in the 2 quart cambro? Chocolate ganache or demi glace?
First in first out… FIFO is the rule. So dated things are critical to health standards. Two weeks is the limit on a lot of things. Personally, I would prefer a lot of things get used up before that.
So equipped with a Sharpie marker and blue painter’s tape in hand, we mark our cambros, delis, boxes, anything opened. Label and date everything. Wrap everything as well, but basically, it’s storage techniques. Bus tubs with towels over produce. What is that bus tub containing? Mark it. (Darn it, I forgot to mark the peaches today…hmmm)
I’ve rambled on about blue tape and dating things so much that even my family has embraced blue tape. Granted, it’s just for marking the tops of small jars with the various flavors of espresso coffee we’ve made in the moka pot, but still…. If we could start labeling everything in the fridge like I do at work, whew, life might be simpler.
I even remember reading it in Anthony Bourdain’s cookbook Appetites. He used tape to date and label everything in his fridge. I think I would do it in my own home. It’s not obsessive when you realize how easy it is to forget what you’ve put in a container and when you did.
Here’s a quick great article on tape. KITCHEN TIP: PAINTER’S TAPE AND SHARPIE
Oh and I guess Thomas Keller of The French Laundry and Per Se uses green tape now…. I prefer blue, it sticks better, the green doesn’t always stick and hold on.
Granted, at home, if a little mold is on something, you scrape it off and go on about your daily life. Not so much in a restaurant. That doesn’t fly. So, seriously, embrace the blue tape… Or red, green, tan, yellow. Whatever color you decide to use.