30 January 2013

Pantry Organization

One of my goals for 2012 was to get my pantry organized. I started by purchasing those little orange and yellow baskets from the $1 section at Target. I promptly put a bunch of sticky bottles in one, baking stuff in another, dried beans and rice in another, and a bunch of unbottled spices in another. (Those spices are mainly Indian spices that I got at the Asian food store, and they come in bags instead of bottles. It's not super convenient, but they are so much cheaper than those same spices purchased in bottles at regular grocery stores. Eventually I'll get some little containers for them.)

Then I didn't do anything for ages and ages. For Christmas I got some Rubbermaid containers to store my flour and sugar. I had cansiters before, but they were on my counter, and I was sick of them being there. They were not air-tight and also not very big. Now my flours and sugars are stored in air-tight containers in the pantry, and I have more counter space. (Not that I was lacking in counter space before, but I like a cleaner, uncluttered look.)

And what about those big buckets on the floor? Well, several months ago Eric heard on the Diane Rehm show about places in the world where people live a very long time. One of the things theses places have in common is their high consumption of beans and lentils. So Eric got it in his head that we needed to eat more beans and lentils. Even before this I'd say we were on the high-end of consumption of these things compared to other Americans. We usually buy cases of beans during case lot sales at the local grocery stores. Usually we only eat meat about twice a week. We really do eat a lot of beans.

Still, Eric was sure we needed more. So we bought a 25-pound bag of dry red beans from WinCo a few weeks before Christmas. At the same time we bought a 25-pound bag of lentils, a 25-pound bag of regular rice, and a 25-pound bag of jasmine rice. At that point we had a whole bunch of large bags of food on the floor of our pantry. I insisted that we get some of those big 5-gallon buckets to store all that food. Then Eric informed me that I wouldn't be able to easily get the lids on and off of those buckets since they often require a hammer to shut tightly. So we bought these fancy lids. You have to work hard to get them on initially, but then they open and close very easily. They are genius and totally worth the $6 that each costs.

And that's more than you ever cared to know about my pantry. Good heavens, I am boring.


Janssen said...

I love those bins!

Ana said...

Don't be silly. We re-organised the kitchen shelves last year - best thing EVER. And I'll tell you what is great for putting spices in that you'll never think of. An large plastic box with 8 (or more) compartments - like one that you might keep tackle in. They are great! Chris bought one with a bunch of other containers for organising the shelves. At first I thought WHAT am I going to do with THAT?! But then I realised how great it was when I put sachets in one compartment, baking spices and raising agents in another, italian herbs in another, indian herbs in another and so on - you get the idea, I'm sure.

Jana said...

Will you please come be boring in person at my house in my pantry??

Jenn said...

If you need a good recipe to use those red beans, this is a recent favorite of mine: http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2009/02/red-kidney-bean-curry/