It’s June already and winter has arrived. It’s time to fill our (already overflowing) pantries with ingredients to make delicious soups and hearty casseroles. From tins to Tupperware containers, and boxes of pasta, everything needs a storage spot. To minimise waste and maximise usage you need to take a good hard look at your kitchen storage options. If you lose the urge to bake a cake, before you find the moth infested flour, it’s time to take control.
If you are lucky, you have a lovely walk-in pantry with plenty of shelves and storage areas. If you are like the other 99% of the population you have cupboards that are allocated to food storage. Either way, you need to decide on the style of storage vessels that suit your needs. Let’s discuss some options, and how to make your food storage areas the envy of all that enter your kitchen.
Moth(er) of a pantry problem
I mentioned moth infested flour before. If pantry moths are the motivation behind your sudden desire to get organised, I have good and bad news. The bad news…throw out everything! Well almost everything. Maybe not the tins or bottles. Mind you I would check the jars and bottles for infestation around the lids. Everything from biscuits to flour and spices will have to be thrown out. The larvae get in to everything! Once there are moths flying around your kitchen when a door opens it is a major problem. The good news is, you get to start from scratch with freshly washed containers and shelves, for your pantry make-over.
Friend or foe of food storage
The enemy of all foods are time, moisture, temperature extremes and light. Keep this in mind when you are deciding what to store where, and how.
Your container personality is individual. Jars, plastic containers, tins, snap lock bags or freezer bags will all need to be air tight. Your budget will play a large part in your options. If jars are your choice, then searching through charity stores may be exciting and fruitful. If you want to throw money at the whole exercise, and co-ordinate the look, Kmart, kitchenware stores and supermarkets will provide you with everything you need.
Remember labelling is the BFF of storing everything. If you know what it is you will work out very quickly if you use it often or not. If you don’t use it…lose it!
Horses for courses or what goes where?
Supermarkets generally have it all figured out when it comes to what should go where. Study it next time you are there. Tomatoes are more delicious NOT kept in the fridge. Chocolate goes white in the fridge and melts in the heat. So a cool dark spot will keep your chocolate perfect. The exception is potatoes and onions etc. These belong in a nice basket or vessel where air can circulate in a cool dark spot. Many people store them under the sink. You will find there is heat generating plumbing, which will shorten your use-by date.
Dry goods such as flour, rice, and pasta should be stored in airtight containers. If you use a little often, having them on a shelf in the light, and variable temperature of your kitchen won’t be an issue. If you buy in bulk, store the sealed, unused portion in a cooler, darker position.
Tins are a unique problem. We tend to have such a variety and they can lost in corners where they never get to see the light of day again. Try making rows of similar contents. Have a soup row, tinned fruit row, a tomatoes row etc. Or try the stepped shelves or shelf extender to help manage tin storage. These can also be great for spice storage, or using the air space in high shelves.
Storage where the sun doesn’t shine (and other dark corners)
The floor, and top shelves of your pantry, or the tops of your cupboards (if space is limited), are exciting storage places when used properly. The floor can get dirty and dusty from foot traffic so make sure it is easy to clear the decks. Large containers with lids and wheels can make access and cleaning simple. Store things like vases, woks, cake decoration stuff, your party supplies in these harder to reach places.
Tackling the pantry make over can be daunting. Google pantry makeovers and be inspired by all the options. Most importantly, take an area that is not working for you or family and transform it into a place of inspiration, envy and productivity.