The holidays are just around the corner. Halloween, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas…it happens every year and there is one thing that you can always be sure of: There will be plenty of food!
So it pays to get organized ahead of the holiday rush, and a good place to start is in your pantry. It doesn’t matter if you have a walk-in pantry or just a few simple shelves or cabinets. You will be reaching for items more and more as the days grow colder and you prepare more hot meals than you do in the summer. As you change your menus to include less uncooked items like fruit, cold sandwiches and salads to menus that include soups, stews, roasts and the like, you will need different tools and ingredients. Here’s a few quick tips help get you organized:
- Inspect Your Ovenware – Chances are you will be using the oven a lot more, and not just to roast that Thanksgiving turkey. Baked, broiled and roasted items from winter squash to holiday cookies all require the right ovenware. Have a look at yours, clean off the dust and move it into position for easy access.
- Spice is Nice – Fall and winter food usually requires more spices than the typical summer fare. You don’t want to discover that you’re out of cumin just as your spicy acorn squash dish is ready to serve. Check your spice rack, resupply if necessary and move the likely favorites into position. And don’t forget that spices don’t last forever and may lose flavor and potency, so taste tests are in order.
- Freeze It – Some items that may be lingering in your pantry can last the winter if you freeze them. Breads, flours, grains, mixes and more can last a lot longer if you get them out of your pantry and into the freezer. Wrap them in foil and put them in a plastic bag to protect from freezer burn and seal in flavor.
- Get Electric – Often crock pots, fondue sets, rice cookers and slow cookers get stowed away in the summer, but they will be needed for the cold days ahead. If you have room, have them at the ready on your countertops. In any case, it pays to check that the electronics all work before you depend on them for a meal. Electronics can fail without notice, so plug ‘em in and check ‘em out!
- Refresh and Repair – While you’re moving things around, if you use shelf liners, now might be a good time to replace them. And if you don’t, now might be a good time to start. In any case, any repairs or refreshing that need to be done in your pantry are best done now, while you are in there reorganizing anyway, and not when the holidays frenzy sets in.
Enjoy your holidays and if you need help with creating a new pantry or storage solution, get in touch!