How to Stock Your Pantry
Every professional chef knows a well-stocked pantry is essential. Why waste time grocery shopping for basic ingredients when you could be cooking instead? That said, there is an art to stocking the pantry.
Here are a few tips to get you organized and more efficient.
How to Shop from Your Pantry
When stocking up, always bear in mind shelf life. Some items last quite a while (canned goods, for example), while others don’t (like spices). So while that enormous bottle of cinnamon may seem like a good deal, chances are you’ll never use it all up before it uses its flavor. Be practical while shopping and you’ll save yourself a crowded, useless pantry.
Next, remember that what’s a staple in one cook’s pantry may not be in yours. While I’ve offered a list of suggested pantry “musts,” please tailor it to your own cooking habits.
“Must Haves” for the Pantry
- Flours you commonly use
- Oils you commonly use
- Baking soda
- Baking powder
- Sugars you commonly use
- Vinegars you commonly use
- Canned vegetables
- Canned fruits
- Canned meats
- Canned beans
- Corn meal
- Spices you commonly use
- Extracts you commonly use
- Favorite bottled items, like olives or artichoke hearts
- Pastas you commonly use
- Salsa and Pesto
- Sauces you commonly use
How to Rotate Pantry
Chances are you’ll waste lots of money if you don’t rotate your pantry goods. In other words, don’t keep placing new items in front of the ones already in your pantry.
Move the old items forward, and put the newly-purchased items in the back. This takes a little more effort initially, but is worthwhile in the long run.
Pantry Organization Ideas and Tricks
You’ll waste time and money if you can’t find what you want when you need it, so take a few moments to consider how to organize your pantry effectively. At the very least, canned vegetables should be on one shelf, baking goods (like flour, sugar, and baking powder) on another, and so on.
Can holders, which automatically bring older canned goods to the front, are a cheap investment that can help in the organization process. Adding sliding shelves to the pantry is also extremely helpful; even a few lazy susans could work well. Also, consider wire racks for tall shelves; this makes it easier to store two layers of food.
Plastic baskets or bins can hold all the typical ingredients for making certain foods. For example, if you bake bread frequently, you could have one basket with all the necessary ingredients for that process; then all you have to do each time you bake bread is grab one thing, instead of many, from the pantry.
Use clear bins to organize like items, so it’s easier to see what’s inside. Use a label maker to assign certain types of foods to certain bins.
Add wire racks to the door of the pantry, if possible, to expand your storage space.
Turn cans, bottles, and boxes so you can easily see the labels; then all you have to do is scan the pantry to find what you need.
Place the items you use most often at eye level, in the front.
How to Clean and Maintenance Your Pantry
Twice a year, take everything out of the pantry and clean the shelves. As you put everything back in, check expiration labels and throw out anything that’s no longer good.
Think about how you’ve used your pantry in the last six months; is there any way you could improve your pantry “system?” If so, now’s the time to implement your ideas.
Check out the video version of this article on YouTube : How to Stock Your Pantry