As we head into spring, our thoughts turn to cleaning out closets and garages, but there’s another place you might want to consider in your spring cleaning plans – your pantry. Here are some tips to get you started.
1. Before heading to the store, “shop” your pantry to find ingredients you already have for easy, tasty recipes. Homemade soup is a great way to use a mixture of pantry ingredients such as pasta, dried beans, canned vegetables, spices and grains. You can find a great recipe later in this newsletter.
2. Designate items for donations that you know you won’t use. It’s easy to find a local food bank with Feeding America’s food bank locator - http://feedingamerica.org/foodbank-results.aspx.
3. Place older foods first on each shelf and newer foods behind them so that the older foods get used up first. Place frequently-used items on shelves that are easy to reach.
4. Label each item with the date it was purchased, especially if you’re using reusable containers for your dried goods. Labeling cans also help you identify which grain is which if you’re storing in bulk containers.
5. Use extras of these items in other ways: Baking soda is great for cleaning your home, olive oil and sugar make a luxurious DIY body scrub, straws can unclog ketchup bottles, an old can becomes a cookie batter cutter and coffee filters can serve small portions of chips and popcorn.
7. Create a shelf of healthy snacks for you and your kids (or grandkids), which are easily accessible. It will make kids feel self-sufficient and can make your own healthy choices at snack time easier to make.
8. Store like items together to prevent over-buying and save time knowing exactly where to look for certain staples.