Spring Cleaning for Pantries: Tip #2

Many people are unaware of all they have stashed in their pantries and cabinets.  Before adding more to shelves that are perhaps already brimming; before spending time sorting and reorganizing; spend a minute considering your kitchen, your needs, your tastes and your space.  Ideally this is done several times a year.  I find myself reassessing and reorganizing after the flurry of holiday cooking.  But a good clean out in spring I find most essential.  I keep the warm months ahead in mind and arrange things accordingly.   I have three spring cleaning tips for pantries.  Here is the second:

Spring Cleaning for Pantries
2.  Throw old ingredients / ideas away

Start discarding and be ruthless.  Spices, oils, vinegars and condiments are a good place to start.  Eliminate duplicates and throw away anything that's less than fresh or unlikely to be used again.  If you are not sure how old a spice is, go by smell.  If it is fragrant and strong, it is fresh.  Throw away any items you do not feel good about eating.  If you're trying to make a habit of cooking from scratch,  throw away the frozen entrees and prepared foods.   Through away any foods containing ingredients you don't want to eat. This is not the time to worry about waste.  The act of throwing something away is empowering.  It is really an opportunity; a chance to begin anew.   Habits won't change with their accomplices hanging around.

Several years ago I helped my sister in Denver organize her kitchen.  She maintained she didn't have many of the items on the SimplyCooking® Pantry.   But to her surprise, she had nearly every SimplyCooking® spice, dried fruit, baking item, canned good, oil and vinegar -- several in triplicate.  She explained she often stops at the store and picks items up, "just in case I don't have it."  She also discovered what flavors she favors.  Rosemary was down to the bottom of the jar while several other spices were unopened.  The nuts and dried fruits she likes were plentiful, but packages were bound with rubber bands and mounded in a corner of a high shelf, destined to be forgotten.

Throwing away, being mindful of your tastes, goals and the season, is a critical step in cleaning out your pantry.  When you are ready to restock, we invite you to use the SimplyCooking® Print and Go Grocery List  as an ingredient guide for simple and healthful everyday cooking.