Refresh Your Pantry or Cupboard

It’s easy to check and make sure there aren’t science experiments growing in the refrigerator and check expiration dates on perishables, but what about your kitchen cupboards or pantry.  Before you do your next grocery trip is a perfect time to take stock of what’s in the pantry.  Here are some tips:

  • Check expiration dates  and realistic dates – yeast will expire and die, baking soda loses its effectiveness after a certain date, or drink mixes may have gotten moisture in them and be ruined even if they don’t have a ‘use by’ date.
  • Peek inside opened packages – if something is half-used is it still in good shape or did it go stale?
  • Use it up – if you have ingredients that have been on the shelf for a while it may be time to determine if it’s something you really will eat.  If you bought it and can’t remember why consider throwing it out so it doesn’t take up valuable space.
  • Do creative meal planning – if you still want to try to cook with that unusual ingredient you stocked find the recipe you intended to make, or something else that sounds great and get that dish on your meal plan for next week.   You can do recipe searches by ingredient at sites like allrecipes.com or recipematcher.com
  • Space planning – consider setting up zones in your cupboard so everything’s easy to find – canned goods, baking supplies, meal add-ons like canned vegetables or fruit.
  • Storage system for staples – the containers for items that you use up bit by bit can get beaten down in the cupboard, consider stackable airtight boxes for pastas, marshmallows, oatmeal, flour, sugar and other item it makes sense to buy in bulk.
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