Day 2: Tuesday, October 1
Assignment: Declutter and clean your pantry and food storage areas
How did you sleep? Did you dream about your sparkling refrigerator and freezer? Are you ready to hit it again?
Today we're repeating yesterday's assignment, but applying the assignments to the the pantry, cabinets and countertops; in other words, any foods in your kitchen that are not in the refrigerator or freezer. Foods stored out of the refrigerator often are overlooked. Dry goods and spices in particular may seem to last forever but the truth is, they can get stale, too.
Today's Assignment (estimated time: 1-2 hours)
- Photograph your pantry. If you didn't already, post a few "before" photos onto your Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook accounts, using the hashtag #kitchncure. This time we're looking specifically at the cupboards where you keep your dry goods: baking supplies, grains, pasta, oils, vinegars, condiments, and spices. Do not clean it up beforehand! Be brave and bold!
- Toss old food. Go through your pantry areas (and anywhere else you keep food outside of the refrigerator and freezer) and clean up your food clutter. It's so important that the foods we have in our kitchens are fresh and replenished frequently. If it has expired, has not been used in the last 6-12 months, or has duplicates (three little containers of ground ginger? me too!), it's time to de-clutter. Pay close attention to bags of grains and flours and discard anything with pantry moths or other kitchen pests. Here is a very helpful post specifically about condiments and expiration dates.
- Clean all of your food storage surfaces. Don the rubber gloves and get some rags, a sponge, a mop, a bucket, some hot water, and an eco-friendly multi-purpose cleaner. Prepare a gallon of diluted cleaning solution. Take everything out of your cabinets or pantry and set it a box or on a nearby table. As you remove the jars, bottles, boxes and bags wipe them down with a warm, moist cloth. For containers that have a film (oil for example) you should use a clean sponge dipped in the warm cleaning solution to cut through the grease. Take out any racks and drawers and wash them in a large sink or bathtub. Now wipe down every remaining surface with a rag dipped in the warm cleaning solution. Dry it with a clean towel and put everything back.
- Identify ingredients that could benefit from a jar. There are many benefits to transferring ingredients from their manufacturer packaging to glass containers. Most glass jars have a hefty seal that beats the seal on a bag of flour or a box of pasta. Storing food in jars may also encourage you to buy in bulk more; saving money and packaging. For now, start a list of what sizes of jars you might want to purchase. If your budget is limited, start small. We'll address the possibility of purchases on Days 5 and 6.
- Photograph your results. Show off your progress on your social media accounts. Be proud! (Don't forget to tag your work with #kitchncure.)
- Rest up for tomorrow. You now have a really cleared out refrigerator, freezer, AND pantry, so you can really see what foods you have. Make a simple meal and gather your energy for tomorrow.
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(Images: Leela Cyd; and Flickr member and previous Kitchn Cure participant petitshoo)