You may have heard of spring cleaning, but have you ever heard of winter cleaning? Winter is the perfect time to get your home in order. The weather means that you’re likely to spend a lot more time indoors and you can use this time to get to the bottom of a lot of those niggly household tasks you’ve been putting off all year.
This winter, the first place I want you to have a long hard look at is your pantry.
Clean out your spice rack
This store cupboard hides a multitude of sins and now is the time to start clearing things out. First start with your spice rack or box. Look through each and every packet and jar and take note of the expiration date. Don’t know what that greyish green powder in an unlabelled jar is? Throw it out!
While you are undertaking this task have a pen and notepad handy so you can jot down any spices you need to replace or any herbs you are running low on.
Storing pasta, beans and more
Next move on to your dried goods like beans, pasta and crackers. Are you saving your ingredients correctly in labelled, sealed jars and containers? Or have you got half-empty bags spilling their contents all over your shelves? Now’s the time to take stock of your opened bags of dry goods and transfer any thing in an opened bag into a suitable storage container. Don’t forget to label and date each container.
When you start moving things around in the pantry you might unearth some ancient culinary artefacts in the back of your shelves. A mustard from 2005. A half-eaten packet of Oreos that expired two years ago. Out they go! Be ruthless here. If you hate capers, you don’t really need to keep that jar of capers that came in a hamper your neighbour gave you last Christmas. Any unopened, non-perishable food that is still in date can be donated to your local canned food drive to help provide for those less fortunate.
Once your pantry is in order, you can stand back and see what you might actually have to work with – meal time can be a lot easier to plan for when you know what ingredients you have. Happy cooking!