With the festive season and Australia Day out of the way, we can all finally breath a sigh of relief that again we have made it through another season of celebrations. Although it should no longer come as a surprise and I am not sure why we all seem to get so stressed and exhausted by it all. It happens every year! We should be used to it and have the whole festive season running like a well-oiled machine. Well, with my handy tips you will.
So now what? We have re-worked the leftovers with the handy tips from foodie magazines and chefs alike, put away the decorations and are back to work, back to school and back to life as it was before the holidays.
A new year has always been a fresh start for me. I take the whole New Year’s resolution very seriously, although not so much a resolution but some thoughts on what can I do this year to de stress, de-frazzle and delight my life and I think I have found it.
1. Prepare containers and labels
• When organising and cleaning out the pantry stack cans, jars and packets with labels facing forwards so they are easy to read.
• Stack like items with like so all your tinned tomatoes, tinned vegetables, legumes, dried flours, nuts, in the same areas that way you can see clearly what you have making it easy for restocking and shopping.
• Take foods out of open packets and boxes and store in airtight containers and jars for better storage and more space.
2. Spice up your life
• Spice jars always seem to get lost so use split level handy storage shelves to give you more space.
• Spice racks on doors or walls assist with organising and storing smaller jars.
• Sort alphabetically or by popularity of use
• Store them in a cool area in airtight plastic or glass containers.
• If you only use spices occasionally, buy them in small quantities or buy whole spices to roast and then grind them fresh when you need them as they will last longer and roasting them gives you better flavour.
3. Rethink that deep back corner in your cupboard:
• Depending on your style of pantry or food storage cupboard, corners can be like black holes where you completely forget about what is in there.
• Store larger bulkier items that you don’t use on a daily basis there.
• Use trays or containers in the corners so that it is easier to pull out the whole tray than a lot of individual items.
4. Plan recipes around current pantry items:
• Aim to cook 2-3 meals a week using at least 3 items from your pantry so that you keep all your pantry items rotating and fresh.
• Look up recipes that you wouldn’t normally cook with ingredients that you bought thinking “one day” and create that one-day dish.
5. Reorder when restocking
• When restocking your pantry, make sure that you bring all the old items forward and place the new items at the back if you have several of each item.
6. Recycle or ditch
• Recycle old jam jars, condiment jars and bottles for use in your pantry for spices, homemade dressings, grains and legumes, label with a sticker, write with permanent pen or place a small labelled piece of paper into the jar.
• Any items that you haven’t used in the past year, you will never use so if they are still within their use-by date, drop them off at a food bank for someone else to enjoy or throw them out.
7. Clean and refresh
• Pantry moths love cardboard, paper and thin plastic bags so transfer your cardboard items into plastic or glass containers or jars sealed tightly either with a lid or with clamps or rubber gaskets;
• Clean down the shelves once every 6 months with eucalyptus oil mixed with a little water to prevent moths from laying eggs, as they seem to dislike the smell.
8. Update your online calendar for a reminder
• To reorganise your pantry every 4-5 months.