Mrs. Sell's Blog of Household Management

Fruit basket: tiny apartment kitchen edition

I have a small apartment. Not New York City small, but small for three people and all of our accumulated junk.

As you can imagine, this puts a crimp in many of my grandiose plans for having an amazing kitchen full of wonderful gadgets and amazing meals – I don’t have room for the appliances, the extra pots and pans, the extravagant ingredients that only get used a couple times. But I still want to provide tasty, healthy, REAL food for my family, especially my daughter, so that she will grow up knowing how to eat well. And in my kitchen, that means fresh produce.

I am the first to admit that I don’t know a lot about cooking fresh vegetables and fruits. We always had fresh fruit (apples, pears, bananas, grapes, oranges, peaches) when I was growing up, but most vegetables were frozen or canned. Edible, certainly, but not anything that I would make for pure pleasure. I have started a collection of recipes that treat vegetables as if they were meat or poultry: not something to be steamed and eaten plain, but seasoned and prepared so that they will be delicious and revisited again and again.

That means that I have to have plenty of fresh produce on hand. Produce really isn’t that expensive, especially when you buy in season and get the basic stuff. You can eat very healthily on very little money if you know what you’re doing; sure, you might have to save up to get that unusual ginger root or special apple hybrid, but the basics – carrots, potatoes, broccoli, inexpensive apples, lettuce, onions – are good for you and easy on your wallet.

Since it’s only the two of us adults and one toddler, I usually don’t buy very much produce at a time. I’ll get four potatoes, max, a couple of onions, a couple of sweet potatoes, some apples and pears, and a few heads of garlic. I live in a fairly damp area, too, so if stuff sits around too long, it starts getting mushy or taking on a life of it’s own (potatoes). I like to keep certain things at room temperature, ideally with some air circulation, so that they won’t think they’re in the moist ground and it’s time to make a new plant.

That’s where this comes in:

fruit basket1

This is my new 3-Tier Fruit Basket by Miles Kimball. I received a nice Amazon gift card for Christmas, so I decided to take a chance on something I’d had my eye on for a while.

I was initially apprehensive about ordering this, because multiple reviewers complained that it was way too small. But I was locked in to a standing fruit basket (can’t put holes in rental apartment ceiling), and wanted a 3-tier to maximize my space. Several similar baskets on Amazon were $40 and up, and I didn’t want to spend that much.

I am glad that I got this one! So far, it has held up just fine, and holds the exact amount that I need it to. If I purchase more than fits into this basket, it’s going to go bad before I use it (wish I could take it to the grocery store and shop directly into it!). It doesn’t count as an additional space-taker on my counters because everything that it holds was already ON the counters – usually spread over a larger surface area, smothering in its plastic produce sacks. I used to spend half my cooking time searching under things for my garlic, and the other half shuttling bags of loose produce around so that I could use the counter. Now I can easily move everything around, plus, I can see at a glance what I have so I know what I need to use up.

Does this basket hold bags and bags of potatoes, apples and oranges? No. But if you like to purchase your produce for only a few days at a time, and you have limited space to keep it, this basket will be a great asset to your tiny kitchen.

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