Nothing screams Spring Clean like the start of September! Have a read for my simple, step by step guide for a smooth pantry purge and refresh!
First things first.
Take some time to set yourself up for success. Remove all items from the cupboard and make sure the area is spotless. Start at the top and work your way down, wiping down all shelves and sides. A simple spray and wipe bottle or a solution made with lemon juice or white vinegar will do the job. Leave it to dry a little, then let the cleaning commence!
When in doubt, throw it out.
Seeing as all pantry contents are now surrounding you on the floor, now is the perfect time commence the cull. My rule of thumb – get rid of anything you haven’t used in the past six months. And of course, bin anything with strange smells or growths. Make sure you also throw out any tins which are dented or damaged, these dents allow moisture to penetrate through and will spoilt the food.
Expiry dates explained.
Use by: relates to food safety and the risk of food borne pathogens
Best Before: talks about the quality of the product.
If it’s reached either of these dates, it’s best to throw the food out. If the date is close, use it as soon as you can. Also, best before dates are no longer valid once the product has been opened, so look on the packaging if there is a secondary instruction (ie refrigerate after opening).
First in, First out.
Try to rotate your stock and follow the first in, first out method. When you buy new items, try to place them behind the current products, so the oldest items are used first. Also, the nutritional content of canned foods can depreciate between roughly 5-20% each year, so make sure you’re rotating through stock.
Airtight containers are the best way to maintain freshness for things like grains, cereals, herbs and spices. Plastic tupperware or glass jars are both cheap and allow easy access. Opt for pieces which can be stacked and also labelled or written on.
Try to avoid adding fresh supplies to old ones. Finish what you’ve got in the before opening another.
Dried pasta will last 12 months.
Flour lasts 6-8 months, once opened.
Sugar will last for up to two years.
Rice will last for 6-8 months.
Oats will last for 6-9 months, once opened.
Honey will last indefinitely.
Cocoa will last one year.
Where to put it all?
Follow the storage instructions on the back of the pack for food once it’s opened. Some will move to the fridge once opened (like canned fruit and veg). Lots of store-bought sauces and dressings are often high in sugar or salt, this helps to extend the shelf life and means they will be fine in the pantry, along with your dry goods.
Now that you’ve cleaned the pantry from top to toe, it’s time to re-stock and make sure you’ve got all the staples you need. CLICK BELOW to download my healthy staples list.