Your Perfect Pantry Is Just Around The Corner
WORDS:: CHYKA KEEBAUGH
PHOTOS:: LISA ATKINSON
I THINK EVERYONE HAS A CUPBOARD OR CORNER OF THEIR HOME THAT IS ORGANISED CHAOS…
For me, it is the pantry. I had jam-packed shelves; I had food in there that was way past it’s use by date, and something just had to be done about it! So I took a few hours out of my day for a good old fashioned clean out. Yep, the type where you take everything off the shelves, go through it, clean it out and bin it, replace it or put it back. One of those clean outs. Bringing larger, clear containers and baskets into my pantry allowed it to store more and work better. I could see everything; there were particular spots for certain foods and now going in there isn’t a nightmare. Having an organised pantry is essential for someone who loves to cook. I need to see where all my ingredients are, I need to see how much I have left, I need to know where everything is so I can plan my recipes and work efficiently. I also think a walk in pantry deserves to be styled just as much as a lounge room or mantle piece - why not make the most used cupboard on the house look beautiful?
HOW TO GET RID OF PANTRY MOTHS
These annoying moths really irritate me so having a good pantry clean out every now and then is a must! To keep your pantry free of these little critters remove everything from your pantry and vacuum the shelves to remove any remaining moths and cocoons. Wash the shelves well with hot soapy water then wipe them down with a 50-50 solution of white vinegar and warm water to kill off remaining eggs. Pantry moths lay their eggs on stored food and grains. I know nobody wants to hear this but adult females can lay hundreds of eggs directly on or near potential food sources, and the damage is done by the larvae (tiny caterpillars). Larvae can chew through plastic bags and thin cardboard, so even unopened packages may become infested. Eating these moths (or their cocoons or larvae) accidentally will not make you sick, but no one even wants to think of that….So let’s get to cleaning and organising!
HOW LONG SHOULD I KEEP THAT TIN FOOD?
When cleaning out your pantry checking those use by dates is a must! Canned foods are designed to be stored at room temperature and need to be handled carefully to ensure their ingredients stay edible, you do not want to affect the seal. “ The food is heat treated to produce a commercially sterile shelf-stable product with an air-tight (vacuum) seal. Heat treatment kills organisms that may spoil the food or cause food-borne illnesses. Contents remain commercially sterile until the container is opened and the vacuum seal is broken.”
Always check food containers for:
swelling and/or leakage
rust and scratches
broken tamper-evident seals
dents or damage
damaged seams (joins).
SIMPLE TIPS FOR A GORGEOUS PANTRY….
Try and food block your pantry - tinned goods together, oils and vinegar together, pasta and rice together. Line everything up neatly so it's easy to find on the shelves
Keep the kids snacks at an easy to reach level so there are no breakages.
Always refill jars straight away so you never run out self-raising flour just when you get the urge to bake!
Be aware of weevils that get into nuts and grains - check every week or so. They are a nightmare once they get in, and the only way to get rid of them is to throw everything away and begin again.
Have matching containers so the look is clean and organised. They line up neatly, and the product is easy to see for convenience.
Use a labeller for all the cooking jars - you don't want to mix your salt and sugar up. There are plenty of labels you can write on available, but I like to have my own labelling machine handy so the stickers are all uniform.
Wipe down the outside of jars because when cooking they can get a little dirty and we do not want to attract ants. Speaking of ants - I always spray surface spray on all my shelves to protect the pantry from any creepy crawlies. I do this before I restock my shelves.
I love baskets and find this the best way to put all the hard to store things - mainly cake cooking items like patty pans - 100s and 1000s and piping bags etc. They also hide anything messy that can't be displayed but need to be in the pantry.