The kitchen pantry is often overlooked when other areas of the kitchen are being cleaned, and ends up looking untidy and disorganized. Because of the items being tucked away from view, neglecting to clean the space is easy. A clean and well-organized pantry can improve cooking and shopping efficiency; it will lead to faster meal preparation because everything is easily accessible and will lower your grocery bill as ingredients will not go bad as a result of contamination and poor storage.
To take advantage of these benefits, here are tips to cleaning out your pantry.
1. Dispose Of The Old Herbs And Spices
This might surprise many, but after some time, the spices and herbs lose most of their effectiveness and flavor, and might just not add anything to your meals. Do yourself a favor by ditching out your old herbs and spices. Replace them with fresh spices and store them in airtight glass jars to preserve their flavor and freshness as long as possible.
2. Monitor The Expiration Date Of Canned Foods
It’s easy to forget some goods in the dark corners of your pantry abyss. There is a belief that canned foods can last forever. But if they were meant to last forever, why do they come with best-by dates? While some can last for years, check whether there are some that have past their best-by dates.
3. Store Your Baking Staples In Airtight Glass Containers
Rice, sugar, flour and the likes should be stored properly in airtight glass containers. The containers and bags that come with them do not last long and can be attacked by bugs when left to stay in those packaging bags.
Buy some glass jars from the store for your baking staples. Storing them in glass jars will make them look lovely on the shelf, and it will be easier to access them when you need to bake.
4. Throw The Stale Crackers And Cereals Away
Let’s all admit that we have a box or two of crackers that is past its best days on the shelf. Once we eat half a box of crackers, Cheez-It’s or cookies, we push the remaining half to the pantry. The next time we visit the grocery store, we restock new ones. Instead of disposing of the older snacks and crackers, we add other snacks on top. To avoid this, transfer the crackers and snacks that have remained to a clear plastic container. This will remind you that you have not finished the older ones.
5. Check The Oils And Vinegars
Just like the spices and herbs, vinegar and oil have their expiry dates. Although they have a longer shelf life, maybe several years, be sure to check them frequently to make sure that they have not become rancid. It’s best to store them in a cool, dark place even if you use them regularly. Keeping them in the pantry is ideal as they will be easily accessible and the pantry is cool and dry.
6. Store Garlic And Potatoes In The Pantry
A lot of people store garlic and potatoes in the fridge along with vegetables and fruits. However, garlic and potatoes are best stored in the pantry where there is aeration. Staple a strong sack to the inner walls of the pantry to store your pantry. A mesh sack will provide breathing area for the garlic cloves. Use a metal or wire bin for storing dry foods such as potatoes, butternut, and acorn.
7. Label Your Glass Jars
Always, and I mean ALWAYS, label the glass jars by indicating the dates and the name of the item stored in different jars. Labeling and indicating the dates are key to keeping your items fresh, clean and up-to-date in the kitchen. You can use chalk pens to write on tin lids or glass jars.
Duct tape can also make a perfect labeling material. It sticks well on almost any storage item and comes in a variety of attractive colors and patterns, which makes it easier for one to differentiate between the cooking ingredients without reading the label. It introduces good organization in the pantry.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Cleaning and organizing your pantry will create more room to accommodate more items and make the kitchen look attractive. Leaving it disorganized and dirty will attract bugs and insects and might even contaminate ingredients.
The above seven tips for cleaning out your pantry will make it easier for you to organize your pantry.