I am a firm believer that everyone can have a truly gorgeous, Pinterest-worthy pantry. Yes, even you! No matter how much – or how little – space you have, you can make your pantry organised, efficient and zero-waste! I’m bringing you my favourite pantry hacks for making the most of your space, for keeping your food fresh, and for using up those soon-to-be-expired ingredients. Let’s do it!
I love an organised pantry. The thought of having to spend hours rifling through my groceries to find that one ingredient I need for tonight’s dinner sends shivers up my spine. It makes life so much easier having everything in its own place, and easy to identify! So today I’m sharing with you some of my favourite pantry hacks for organisation.
Utilise jars and containers
It’s no secret that food packaging isn’t often very space efficient. There’s usually excess air or padding used to protect the ingredients, so it takes up more room than necessary. This is why it’s such a good idea to remove your ingredients from their packaging where able and empty them into nice jars or containers, which can be stacked to really save you room. I love using clear containers so I can quickly see exactly what’s inside, but this isn’t always necessary, particularly if you’re making the most of my next tip…
Label, label, label!
Okay, this one may seem a little obvious, but it’s so important! Labelling your jars is my #1 organisation tip. Even if you use clear jars for storage, you’ll need to know what’s inside – you can’t tell the difference between plain and self-raising flour, for example. You can label your jars by either using some cute labels from a stationary store, or you can use a chalk pen straight on to your containers, which will come off in warm soapy water if you need to change what’s inside!
Buy some baskets
Sometimes it’s not possible to move ingredients into containers. That’s when wicker baskets come in handy! They’re usually picked up for pretty cheap, and they can be used to group pantry items by type. For example, a basket for baking items, a basket for sweet snacks, and so on. Pin a nice label on to the front of your basket and voila! A functional and organised pantry.
Keeping Food Fresh
It’s so inconvenient when you go to use a particular ingredient for cooking, only to find out it’s stale, or mouldy, or mushy, or all of the above! Luckily, it’s easy to implement a few pantry hacks for storage to keep your food fresh and ready for baking. That way you won’t end up with a nasty surprise lurking in your pantry!
Always go for airtight!
The number one best way to keep your ingredients fresh is to make sure that whatever container they’re stored in is airtight. This will stop air from getting in and drying your food out, or making it stale. Dry ingredients often don’t last as long as people think – flour, for example, is best used within three months – so an airtight container or jar is best for ensuring you get the longest possible life out of your groceries.
Keep your veg ventilated
Storing vegetables is basically the opposite of storing your ingredients in airtight containers. Vegetables need ventilation in order to stay fresh. This applies to anything you keep in your pantry – potatoes, onions, garlic, sweet potato – all of these need good airflow to avoid getting mushy. A fruit basket, bamboo steamer, or hanging basket would all work perfectly for keeping your vegetables fresher for longer.
Dry your own herbs
Fresh herbs have a fairly limited shelf life, and often end up wilted and mushy by the time you get to using the last of them. If you know your herbs are on their way out, put the leaves between two pieces of kitchen towel and microwave for 2 minutes to dry them. Then just store in an airtight container in your pantry and you’ll have dried herbs whenever you need them!
Use up expiring ingredients
Do you know that your groceries are on their way out, but you’re not sure what to do with them? I’m all about zero waste, so I love to find ways to use up ingredients if I know their shelf life is fairly short. I couldn’t list my favourite pantry hacks without some great recipe ideas for those groceries you’re just not sure what to do with!
If you need to use up yoghurt
If you’ve got a tub of yoghurt in the fridge that’s on its last legs, there’s a few great recipes you can make to use it up. My yoghurt bread is full of beautiful rich flavours, and uses up 120g of yoghurt! Alternatively, a batch of gluten free naan will use up 285g of yoghurt, and is such a quick and easy recipe for your curry night. If you’re looking for something for breakfast, some banana yoghurt pancakes are Hermione’s favourite at the moment, and they’re perfect for using up large quantities of yoghurt! You could also add yoghurt to your morning smoothies, or stir through a curry or soup for a nice rich sauce.
If you need to use up bananas
Bananas are definitely one of those fruits that end up going mushy before you get a chance to use them all. Luckily, there’s heaps of fantastic ways you can use them up, even when they’re overripe. Banana bread muffins are my favourite little twist on traditional banana bread. I love them because they’re so easily portable to work or school, and are the perfect mid-afternoon treat. If you’ve got some dried figs at home, a banana and fig bread is the perfect accompaniment to a big cup of tea. The banana yoghurt pancakes I mentioned before are also fabulous for using up your overripe bananas.
If you need to use up chicken
Chicken is such a versatile meat, and can be used for so many different dishes. If you’ve got a whole chicken that needs using, my delicious piri piri chicken is always a hit at dinnertime (plus, it’s great for using up spices that need using). If it’s a bag of chicken thighs you’re needing to use up, opt for a tasty apricot chicken curry, which you can make in bulk and freeze for dinner down the track. If chicken thighs are burning a hole in your pocket (fridge?) then I just love the coconut coriander chicken cooked in the Varoma.
If you need to use up almond milk
Once opened, almond milk doesn’t last terribly long in the fridge. If you have a bottle that you know is nearing expiry, how about making a big batch of baked almond milk rice pudding? Alternatively, get breakfast ready the night before and prepare some blueberry chia puddings, which is one of my go-to breakfast recipes! If you’re after something cozy and comforting, whip up a batch of almond milk chai tea latte and settle in with a good book. You can also freeze almond milk in ice cube trays, which can be popped straight into your smoothies!
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Have you caught the organisation bug? I know I’m ready to rearrange my whole pantry! Do you have any favourite pantry hacks that you swear by? Make sure you leave me a comment below, I’d love to hear from you!