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STOCK YOUR PANTRY

Let’s look at ways to organize and stock your pantry.  The first step is to discard anything stale, spoiled or expired.  Here are some basic guidlines to follow.  Canned foods last only 2 – 5 years.  Make sure to check the expiration date and toss anything that has more than a mild dent in it.  Pasta, grains, legumes and condiments – 1 year.  Spices –  6-12 months.  Dried herbs and cereals – 6 months.  Flours – 3-6 months.

Wipe down shelves and walls.  Paint them a bright white if desired.

Use sturdy plastic containers to hold dry goods like flour, sugar, cornmeal, cereal, pasta, tea bags and coffee.  Square containers take up less space and stack better on shelves.  Place like items together in sections like they do in the grocery store.  This will make it easier to check items you are in need of.  Remember the tips from yesterday about adding shelves, using turntables and utilizing the back of cabinet doors.

Create containers that your children can choose snacks from like applesauce cups, jello, pudding, fruit cups and pretzels.  I use flat trays to seperate breakfast items, baking items, canned goods, pastas and rices, and snack items.  This makes it easy to pull the whole tray out when trying to find an item in that section.  Purchase a metal basket to hang fruits and vegetables seperately.

The following is a list of the most commonly used items to keep your pantry stocked with.

Canned soup, beans, tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, tuna, boneless chicken, broth, canned peaches and pineapples

Flour, sugar, cornmeal, baking soda, baking powder, salt, pepper, sugar substitute

Tea bags, coffee, creamer

Pasta, rice, potatoes

Cereal, oatmeal, pancake mix, syrup, honey

Oil, vinegar, vanilla extract, paprika, oregano,  garlic powder, chili powder

Ketchup, mustard, mayonaise, salad dressing, pickles, olives, soy sauce

Peanut butter,  jelly, nuts, seeds

Paper products including, foil, clear wrap, sandwich bags, lunch bags,  storage and freezer bags and garbage bags.

Come back tomorrow for ways to make the most of your time in the kitchen.