The Pantry Project – Part 2

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This is a follow-up post about my reorganising of the pantry.  You can read the initial post here.

Once again, there are no before photos which may be just as well because it was not a pretty sight.  My pantry has been been well-organised on previous occasions, however, a few things had conspired and it had spiralled out of control.

This version is a complete departure from my previous methods.  I have decided to group the jars by the type of contents rather than by size.  This means that all of the dried fruit is together, then several types of sugar, various flours and so on.  I will be interested to see how this works out.

Here are a selection of views of the shelves.  Not everything has been placed as yet and I still need to update the labels on some containers.

The top shelf has roasting pans, the dehydrator and pizza maker.

The next 2 shelves are primarily devoted to all of the ingredients which I buy without packaging and store in a selection of containers.

The lower shelf is the grocery items that I buy plus any home-made jam, chutney and sauce.  The breadmaker and food processor are also stored here.  Note:  The food processor was in use when the photos were taken.

The stockpot and tub containing the attachments for the food processor stand on the floor.  The paper bag on the far left is where I keep unrefrigerated vegetables such as sweet potatoes and garlic.

You may have noticed the 2 wire baskets under the shelves.  These are screwed to the underside of the shelves and roll out.  They are some of my favourite features of the pantry and I use them to store small containers.

The upper drawer is for spices and a substantial part of this organising was devoted to the spice drawer.  I have gradually been collecting an assortment of glass Vegemite jars  for storing the spices which I buy from a bulk store.  The jars are about 4 different sizes so I have chosen to utilise them according to the amount of each spice that I generally keep on hand.  They are now labelled on both the jar and the lid for easy identification.  There are still a few more to add.

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The other drawer has yet to be sorted out.

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One of the results of this job has been to locate various items that needed to be used up and identifying a few things that I will never buy again.  I try to avoid recipes/meals that incorporate huge numbers of ingredients that are outside of my regular selection and stick to basic ingredients that can be used in many different ways.

 

 

 

Simply Baking

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Decluttering is not just about throwing out the piles of junk gathering dust in the basement.  Nor is minimalism about having a sparsely furnished apartment with almost no sign of human habitation.  They are words which are open to interpretation but the over-arching concept is to simplify our homes and lives so that we can make time and space for living.

It is important to keep baking and cooking simple.  Creating meals from scratch can easily lead you to acquire all manner of ingredients.  All too often these are used once and then end up relegated to the back of the cupboard.  I have a well-stocked pantry that has the basic ingredients that I use to create the meals we eat.

I also regularly make substitutions to new recipes so that they fit my ingredients.  It is easy to be conned into having many varieties of one ingredient, such as sugar.  There is caster, white, soft brown, raw, Demerara and numerous others.  I use raw sugar for most general use.  I also keep soft brown sugar and caster sugar.  If a recipe demands a specialty sugar that I feel cannot be satisfactorily substituted I discard the recipe.

Flour is another example of many options available – white, wholemeal, organic, stoneground, plain, self-raising.  I prefer to keep both white and wholemeal.  I use white flour for pastry, pasta and making roux for sauces but other than that I tend to use wholemeal or half and half if I want a lighter texture.  I only buy plain flour and add baking powder to make self-raising flour as required.

2012-03-28 01I buy my flour in 5kg bags from  Simply Good.  I also buy my baking powder in bulk from the same store.

2012-03-28 02The baking powder is sold from bulk bins so I fill a recycled paper bag with it and then decant into the large glass jar. which is in my stock cupboard.  I refill the small container in the pantry as required.  Please do not not confuse bicarbonate of soda (bicarb) with baking powder.  Baking powder is a combination of bicarbonate of soda and cream of tartar.

2012-03-28 03With basic ingredients to hand it is easy to bake for your family where you know exactly what is in the food.  I made these muffins this morning with the last of some bottled cherries I had bought a couple of years ago – not sure why?  The recipe was the basic muffin recipe from the book, “Down to Earth” by Rhonda Hetzel.  You can find out more on her blog.

2012-03-28 04I made a zucchini quiche for dinner at the same time.  I always try to cook more than one dish when I have the oven turned on so that the power is used efficiently.

Have you tried to simplify the ingredients in your pantry?