A refrigerator, a microwave oven and Ziploc bags are the main things in the arsenal of a Bangalore housewife to fight against fungus and weevils.
As the humidity in the atmosphere gets higher she needs bigger and bigger refrigerator to stock all her dry groceries and green ones. Conversely, as the frig gets bigger and bigger, she finds that more and more things seem to demand refrigerator space not only to avoid weevils and fungus, but for ready accessibility too- things like battery cells, micro oven bulbs, fuse wires, half used soup and noodles packets etc. I had seen someone keeping a needle and thread too for ready availability!
Well, coming back to the black beans, I find it extremely convenient to store peeled tender peas and sema beans (Avarekai) in Ziploc bags in bulk at the beginning of the season- the month of November mostly- in the freezer chest and use them judiciously throughout the year. Of course for this, one needs a big, roomy frig with a spacious freezer chest. After 56 years of marriage, we have slowly graduated to one of those almost-American sized frig (big enough to hide murdered bodies), a clear two feet higher than me. When I fall short of the stocks, I buy frozen peas packed in sealed foil bags from Food World (at double cost of course), to tide over till the advent of next season.
Another item that comes in big foil bags are the famous Haldiram’s savories.I keep those bags in the refrigerator once they are opened to avoid ants.
So, apart from green groceries, I store not only rice and dals but also vermicelli, pasta, flours, semolina etc after roasting them in the microwave oven, and of course leftover food and milk-boiled as well as sachets.
This year as usual I bought the peeled tender sema beans fresh from the famous farmers’ corner at Yediyur. I did not pack it in the transparent Ziploc bag but thought I would smartly pack it in the used and empty zipseal foil bag from Haldiram like the Foodworld does and shove it in the freezer. After some days, completely forgetting about its contents, I wondered what a savoury packet was doing in the freezer and so put it back efficiently in the refrigerator. In fact, when Ramu brought a fresh pack of Haldiram’s Aloo bhujia, I even took him to task for bringing the second bag when the first one was still there half used.
Next time when my daughter visited me with her husband, I had kept all the ingredients ready on the dining table to make bhel-puri. When I opened my bhujia-labelled foil bag in the last minute to sprinkle on the bhel, I got the shock of my life. Instead of the golden extra thin bhujia, a stinking BLACK mass confronted me and assaulted my senses. It took me sometime to identify the mass inside. It was my precious tender green sema beans which had been asphyxiated in Haldiram’s zip seal foil bag that had been shifted from the -4 degrees to a warmer +10 degrees and left to fester for days together.
I had no choice than to throw the whole cherished rotten stuff.
Now I pack my sema beans and peas only in the transparent Ziploc bags and do not ever shift them from the freezer.