A well-designed pantry maximizes available space, making it easier to find what you need and put it back where it goes. Larger items, like canned goods, can be stored on the lower shelves, with smaller items and spices stored up higher. In addition, many kitchens have an island or peninsula that is perfect for storing bulkier cooking supplies such as cake pans, cutting boards, and mixing bowls. Read on to learn more about pantry design rules and complete tips on designing pantry space.
How do you optimize pantry space?
Design your kitchen around your needs. For example, if you cook a lot of cuisines that involve sauces made with fresh ginger root, you might want a designated spot set aside in the kitchen for fresh ginger root storage. If you are always running to the market in the morning for eggs, have a storage shelf set aside for them. If you cook with many vegetables, designate a space in the pantry that can hold all of your favorites.
Tips on designing your very own pantry space: How do you organize a pantry step by step?
Shop carefully and buy wisely.
Find items that you can use multiple times or that will last long after you purchase them; it only wastes time to look for something if it’s not useful once it arrives at your house anyway. If you don’t know what to buy, ask the people at the grocery store. If they’re not knowledgeable about food, ask them for their favorite cookbooks and read through their recipes. Then, please pick up a cookbook or two at the library and read through them.
Store items in either glass jars or plastic containers.
These items will last longer than items stored in glass jars, but be sure that you buy plenty of lids for each container you have so that you don’t run out of them before enough arrives in your pantry.
Store items in the proper order.
Store items in the correct order in your pantry, and whenever possible, store them according to their shelf life. Some things last longer than others, like sugar and dried fruit. The best way to find out which items last longer is to learn about the shelf life of a particular product, so you can use this knowledge to decide how long you will keep certain ingredients on your shelves before buying or making more of them.
Keep everything organized.
Keep everything organized by aisle so that it is easy to find what you need as soon as you start cooking. When cooking, you don’t want to look at piled-up stuff.
Label each item.
Label each item with its name to find it in the kitchen, so it is easy to find. For example, if you are using clear containers, label them with a piece of tape and a pen or pencil and stick them to the front of the container; this will ensure that your pantry is aesthetically pleasing and functional at the same time.
Keep all of your baking supplies in one area to make them easily accessible when you start cooking something involving baking, like cookies or muffins.
Store items on the upper shelves.
Store your in-season items on the upper shelves, and store out-of-season or seasonal items on the lower shelves. You might want to let the expiration dates for many of these items expire before you buy them to use them longer than what is called for by their shelf life. Also, ensure each shelf is a uniform height so no confusion when trying to reach certain items due to their location in the middle of the shelf.
Depending on the number of cans you plan to store in your pantry, you might want to consider adding wheels to the bottom of each shelf so that these items are easy to wheel around when you need them.
Place a piece of wax paper.
When storing soup cans, place a piece of wax paper over each one so that they will stack evenly. If you have cans on the shelves with tomato sauce or fruit juices, make sure that these items are covered tightly with plastic wrap so they won’t dry out.
Store in a container.
Ensure that you store grains and cereals in containers instead of boxes, preventing them from becoming stale. If possible, keep your canned goods in groups to use them together for the same meal; this will help save time whenever you have to decide what to make for dinner. Ensure that your first aid supplies are stored in plastic containers with tight lids that do not dry out, leak, or become contaminated.
Keep your food in transparent containers, so it looks nice and orderly. This is how you and others will decide if the food looks tasty. Also, keep all of your spices and herbs out of direct sunlight to prevent them from becoming discolored or losing their flavor.
Keep all of your cooking utensils close by so that they are easy to find whenever you cook a certain meal—especially if an item or two is essential to making the meal work out right. Keep your sugar and flour in their original containers for a longer shelf life, especially if you use them regularly in recipes.
Prevent poisoning due to overheating.
Store any items that might get extremely hot in the pantry so that they can cool off quickly; this will help prevent poisoning due to overheating. When storing dried herbs and spices, store them on their shelf or in a sealed container so that they do not contact other foods, especially those that might mix well together, like salt and sugar or oil and vinegar. If you have mixed types of these items, store them separately to prevent spoilage due to the mix-in of different ingredients.
Regularly used items.
Store the items you regularly use in the pantry to make them easy to find. This can help you save time whenever you are cooking, which should help your time when it comes to preparing meals and organizing ingredients.
Measuring cups and spoons.
Always keep your measuring cups and spoons set out on the countertop where you can keep your hand on them when you are cooking so that they are easy to grab whenever you need them.
Cleaning supplies are stored together.
Make sure that your cleaning supplies are stored together so that they do not get mixed up with other cleaning supplies when you are doing dishes. This is especially true if some items have strong smells like bleach or ammonia, which mix with other cleaning products and make it more difficult to get rid of these strong smells when using a particular cleaner.
Ensure that you have designated a shelf or cabinet for cleaning products, sponges, dish rags, and other items that might be difficult to clean up after they have spilled on the floor.
If you are storing certain items like baking powder or baking soda, keep them in your refrigerator so that they don’t spoil before you use them. When storing items that require no refrigeration, place them on the bottom shelf of your pantry to easily see what you have stored.
If you have a teen or are cooking for youngsters, check sure all pantry goods are age-appropriate and non-toxic. This is especially true if a parent at home would like to keep certain age-appropriate items close by.
Storing by expiration date.
If you store any canned foods in your pantry, make sure that you sort them by the expiration date to avoid throwing away food that is still good for consumption. This is especially true if some of these items are empty but still full of food inside them. Some of these items were accidentally left in the refrigerator or freezer and frozen before they went into the pantry.
Make sure that you keep your family’s high-risk medications in a specific area in the house. This is especially crucial if you have young people who may not know when a drug is needed. In addition, make sure that you keep all of your prescriptions in their original containers so that they do not become contaminated. This is especially true if you have children who will be tempted to take these items without your knowledge or permission.
Use plastic bags in your home for food scraps.
Ensure that you keep a plastic bag in your home for food scraps that might get stuck in your sink drain. If you don’t have this item, make sure that you wash the drain frequently and thoroughly to flush out any food remnants safely.
Ensure that you keep your lawn mower blades sharp to prevent any injuries or accidents.
If you live in a place with unusable space above cabinets and shelves, this is the perfect place to store any items that do not fit on the others. You can easily access these items whenever you need to use them.
Open pantry shelf or cabinet.
36. If you have an open pantry shelf or cabinet, make sure that no one can reach into it from outside your home. This is a common way for kids to get into these areas and poison themselves if they can handle certain foods if they have easy access from an open area like this.
Guidelines before buying anything to put in your pantry.
Think of your pantry as a storage space for all the foods you eat in a week, such as canned and jarred goods, dried ingredients like rice, beans, and pasta, and shelf-stable pantry items like cereal or chips. Therefore, it’s essential to have guidelines before buying anything to put in your pantry.
This article will give you some tips on what foods go well together when stored together and how much you should store for each item.
- Read the labels of your pantry items. Reading the food labels on your canned and jarred items is very vital. It will tell you how long it can be stored if it needs to be refrigerated after opening, and how much each serving size is.
- Store perishables like fruit, vegetables, meat, and dairy in your fridge or freezer. You should always refrigerate fresh produce like lettuce, spinach, strawberries, and tomatoes when you buy them because they won’t last more than a week or two at room temperature.
- Store dry pantry items like cereal and chips in airtight containers or resealable bags. Dry foods typically stay fresh for about six months to a year, depending on the product type.
- Storing foods correctly will make them last longer.
Boost shelf life with these tips.
- Because most canned goods are heat-processed, they’ll last at least two years (or longer) without refrigeration. However, it’s best to store them in a cool, dark place because exposure to light and heat can discolor some.
- Once you open food, it’s best to store it in an airtight container or a resealable bag in the fridge. This is true for items like cereal and chips as well.
- Never stack your canned goods or jarred products too high because the weight can break their seals, causing spoilage.
- Once you’ve opened a jar of spaghetti sauce, use a spoon to put it into a smaller container, so you don’t have to dip it repeatedly into the full-sized one. Then cover the small container with a lid and transfer it to the fridge once it cools off.
- If you cook beans, rice, or pasta in bulk to save time, put them in airtight containers or resealable bags. Then store them in the fridge.
- When using a can opener, always rinse the metal before putting it back in its place since you’re never sure if there’s still food stuck on the blade.
- For fresh items like fruit and vegetables that only last a few days at room temperature, you should only buy what you’ll eat that week so they won’t go bad before they get used up.
- Store staples like flour and sugar in airtight containers or resealable bags since they’re prone to absorbing odors.
- When putting food in your pantry, try not to stack cans or jars too high because the weight can break their seals, and spoilage will occur.
- When storing cereal, put whole boxes in airtight containers rather than individual plastic bags. The cereal will stay fresh longer this way.
- Don’t leave any unfinished food sitting out on the counters overnight. This will invite pests like ants into your home because there’s no way to store it properly until you finish it the following day.
- If you buy cereal in bulk, transfer it into smaller boxes or bags so you can store more of it. Then store the containers in resealable bags.
- Once you’ve opened a jar of spaghetti sauce, use a spoon to put it into a smaller container, so you don’t have to dip it repeatedly into the full-sized one. Then cover the small container with a lid and transfer it to the fridge once it cools off.
- Always store dried goods like oats and rice in airtight containers because they’re prone to absorbing odors from other foods nearby.
- You should only buy as much as you can eat in a few days. Otherwise, it’ll go bad before you get to it.
- To make sure your dry foods like flour and sugar remain fresh, transfer them into airtight containers or resealable bags. Then store them in the fridge.
- Most canned foods with an extended shelf life are heat-processed to increase their longevity. This means they can last longer under room-temperature conditions than refrigerated foods, which start to spoil after a few days out of refrigeration.
- Put your canned and jarred goods in a cool, dark place away from sunlight because exposure to light and heat can discolor them.
- Ensure all your pantry products have the date when you purchased them so you know how long they’ve been around.
- It should be a no-brainer to buy as much food as you can eat in a few days. Otherwise, it’ll go bad before you get to it. The same goes for leftovers that need to be refrigerated before they can be reheated or eaten up again.
- The cans should be sealed with tin foil that has been cooled. If you reside in an earthquake-prone region, this is a must-do.
- Don’t leave any unfinished food sitting out overnight! This invites pests like ants into your home, causing food contamination and possible cockroach infestation. Or, bugs can contaminate the food with their bodily waste, which could ruin it.
- Look for the expiration dates on canned goods before they expire. If a can’s lid is rusty or damaged, it can tell you how long it’s been in storage.
- If you have a hard time telling tinfoil packaging from aluminum cans, put a magnet on its side. The magnet will stick to aluminum (not tinfoil), so you’ll know which one to throw away.
- Don’t stack canned goods too high, as the weight of the cans can make their seals leak, causing spoilage.
- Remember always to keep your pantry in a cool, dry place because moisture or heat can cause dried goods like brown sugar and flour to spoil faster.
Handy Food Storage Tips
1. How to store food properly
At home, you can use glass jars and plastic containers. They are sealed well. If properly sealed, the food inside will not have a chance to grow mold. What you need is a good storage system. You can store pressurized cans for up to 10 years without losing flavor or nutrition. However, those sold un-pressurized may lose their content in a few months of storage.
Therefore, the best way to store them is by placing them in airtight containers that have been thoroughly cleaned and sterilized at least once through the boiling water bath method. Another valid option to store your canned food is to put the cans into the freezer. The air inside will be preserved and may retain the quality of the stored product for a couple of years. However, you can only use cans with a gasket on their lids.
2. Stop using plastic bags as food storage containers.
Plastic bags are made of plastic on both sides, and hence they are not reliable for long-term storage of food. In addition, they can attract harmful chemicals from the environment, which can contaminate the food contents inside them when they are exposed to light or heat. They also interact with each other, making them degrade over time in your fridge or freezer and eventually leach harmful chemicals into foods. Always use glass jars or plastic containers instead of plastic bags to store food.
3. Trace smell on foods
If you mistakenly leave uncooked rice or pasta in a container for a long time, you can use vinegar or lemon to erase the remnants of fragrance. Leave the garlic overnight in the container after mashing it with a fork. After using this method, fruits and vegetables will no longer have a sour fragrance. Alternatively, you may use one cup of baking soda in a bottle of mild dishwashing water overnight, then wipe dry before reusing the container the next day. The food is safe to consume, even if the container is no longer functional.
4. Keep your containers clean
Soak them in boiling water to keep your containers clean, then rinse with soap and water before use. This is the most straightforward technique to get rid of odors accumulated over time. If you can’t submerge a container into a large pot of boiling water, you can also use hot soapy water or white vinegar instead of bleach for cleaning purposes. This will kill 99% of bacteria and germs from the container in minutes, which will ensure it is clean and ready for food storage once again.
5. Heat-treated canned foods do not need to be refrigerated after opening.
After opening, heat-treated cans don’t need to be refrigerated. In a cold, dry, dark environment, they can survive for up to a year at ambient temperature (40°F).
Here are some heat-inactivated can storage tips:
- If the container has been sitting out for a time, wash your hands before touching the food.
- Handle only cold fruits and vegetables from closed containers. Refrigerate meat and poultry.
- Keep opened bottles cold and dark.
- You should keep cans between 50 °F and 75 °F. Refrigerating the container shortens its life.
- If you have sensitive skin, throw out unsealed containers older than two weeks in the fridge or three months in a warm, humid environment (55 degrees Fahrenheit). After that time, the food may be too cold to consume. Likewise, you shouldn’t cook open canned items over 140 °F since they might deteriorate.
6. Moisture can cause mold in your foods.
Moisture is to blame as some molds use it to grow, producing toxins. You must be particularly vigilant when keeping grains, lentils, pasta, and other items susceptible to decay and staleness in your pantry. Once the roof of a jar gets severed from the food content inside it due to moisture accumulation, it becomes an ideal place for little spores flying around the environment to use for growth. As a result, you must store all of your jars with their lids on snugly and in a cold, dry place, even if they aren’t full of food. Place them in the fridge if there is any possibility of water getting inside them.
7. Be practical about the size and types of containers:
Decide on what type of container you want to store your food in, and make sure it is appropriate for the food that you are storing. A small container can only hold a small quantity of food, while significant variations need larger containers. Thus, it has to be made clear which food types and amounts will fit into which kinds of containers before they are stored. If you plan to keep foods that can get spoilt quickly, such as flour and sugar, then choose special containers instead. Clear jars are also essential as they allow you to check that all the container’s content is all right, and you can remove the lid easily.
8. Do not accidentally store spoiled food.
Be extra careful not to store any foods that have gone bad, even if they are heat-treated. This food’s chemical preservation can only keep it safe for a certain length of time, and after that, you may notice a change in its flavor or scent. Therefore, always check the expiration date on food before storing it for an extended period. Also, keep your fridge and freezer very organized to know precisely where all your food items are kept. You will get them mixed up if you do not know and then consume spoiled food.
9. Do not store heavy canned items.
Because of their weight, heavy cans can harm the container’s edges and impair air flow within the container. This can lead to spoilage or, in some cases, even explosions. On the other hand, lighter cans are easier to use for storage and transport purposes, and they will not be difficult for the container’s lid to manage as they have less weight overall than heavier ones.
10. Use paper or some other padding material.
If you are storing canned foods in glass containers, you may have to protect them with a plastic lid and paper or some other kind of plastic padding. This is to make sure they do not move around in the container after being filled up. Make sure the padding is thick enough to ensure that it cannot create any punctures in your glass jars and make a mess of your food content inside just because it touched them accidentally when you were transporting them from one place to another.
Let’s Get Started with the Food Storage Jars
Do you find it difficult to access your food storage when you need it? For example, is it hard for you to get into your stored canned food in times of emergency? Would you like some tips on keeping your food more readily available to you or someone else in an emergency?
That being the case, using this method will ensure that your emergency food storage is appropriately prepared, organized, and ready to be used in an emergency.
You will be able to store your food for so long that you will never need to worry about running short of a particular item again. This is will show you exactly what you need to store and all the tips necessary for your canned food to be useful.
Many people don’t know just how simple it is to prepare an emergency kit. If stored correctly, canned foods can last up to two years or more without losing their original taste, smell, or overall quality. This is because they are preserved in a completely airtight and watertight way.
Emergency food storage.
Organize your emergency food storage and make use of it to the best extent possible to be useful in the long run. It will show you what you need to store and where to store it so that access is easy.
So let’s examine how you can use these tips for maximum usefulness:
Begin with a plan: Before starting any project, it’s essential to have a clear idea of your goals and how you might accomplish them. A food storage plan is no different. First, you will need to establish your storage rationale, listing the foods you intend to store and why.
Get organized: Once you have a plan of where to put the food and its use, it becomes easier to assemble your emergency supplies. Follow this advice:
Store the foods in their original containers to make them easy to use when you need them. Be sure not to mix up foods of different types as you store them (use other colored can openers, so it is easier for you and everyone else in your family to know which food is which).
Label your storage containers clearly.
Store foods with an expiration date so you know when it might be time to replace the contents of the container.
Stick to your storage schedule: Time estimates for storing foods vary by source, but most recommend three months as a good rule of thumb. Keep in mind that this guideline applies only to canned food because freeze-dried meals generally do not need to be stored at any particular time in advance. Nevertheless, use this guideline as a rough guideline for most prepared food items; always consult the label for specific instructions before you store anything, and keep your full-sack freezer solely for long-term storage.
Have no gaps: If you store food for a long time, you need to be sure that you are maintaining a regular schedule. So each month, add a few staple foods to your food storage strategy.
Store in a cool, dry place: This saves them from spoilage and reduces their weight. The more dry canned goods stay, the longer they last, and the more energy efficient it is for you and your family. You can also test the shelf life by freezing it for 24 hours before opening the cans—if it does not appear damaged or off, the food will be fine to use.
Tips for Long-Term Food Storage
When storing food for long-term use, there are several things that you need to keep in mind. These are listed below:
Store food properly: The main thing to remember is that it’s perfectly fine to store food in boxes or bags as long as they are dry and free of pests. This is especially true if you intend to use the supplies on an ongoing basis. For example, freeze-dried foods can be stored in vacuum-sealed packets and stacked with canned items, whereas canned goods should remain in their original containers.
Store food in a cool, dry place: Dampness and heat are the enemies of long-term food storage. Deterioration is more likely to occur when food is stored near a heating source or in an area exposed to excessive humidity, moisture, or other contaminants. If possible, keep the dry goods in a basement—it’s usually calm and relatively dry (but make sure you are not storing vinegar here as it can erode the floor). If you have no basement, a garage is another good storage option.
Store in various locations: If you intend to store canned goods for an extended period, you will require a more diverse storage plan than you plan for emergency use. Canned foods should be stored in their original containers or bags in dry areas (basements, garages, and covered sheds), while you should store freeze-dried foods in vacuum-sealed packages.
Keep track of your food supplies: It is a good idea to keep track of the food you have stored to find it quickly when needed again and so that your house can survive long-term without additional food supplies. The best way to do that is to write a list of the items you have stored and keep it in an accessible place.
Eat before storing food: Once you have stored food, it’s essential to eat it before it goes bad. This will help you know whether or not the food is still edible and allow you to assess any deterioration in taste.