Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Pantry Purge Tip 4: Pantry Triage

Week 4 (Mar.12 -19): Pantry Pare-Down, Pot luck, and Food Drive.

The Pantry Purge Challenge   I'm a bit off schedule with my own pantry purge, but I've planned my pot luck and I've decanted my flour so expect a few more tips , and then we'll be wrapping up with a pot-luck and food drive. Don't forget to Enter the Challenge by March 23rd! See prizes and entry here! All you have to do is follow this blog to enter, you won't miss any tips and you'll be eligible for one of the drawing prizes.

If you're like me you're shelves are getting bare and you'd really like to be done with this already. Hopefully you've gotten into the habit of making meal plans to help with using the food you have already and generating a good shopping list. As you start clearing and organizing your shelves you will likely encounter cans jars and boxes with mysterious codes and dates. I'm going to help you with what to do with all of them with the next tip.

Pantry Purge Tip #4:

Pantry Triage.  Things will fall into three categories: toss, keep (and plan to use), and donate. It seems simple toss out of date or spoiled food, and below are some links that can help with that. Don't feel too bad, with your new less cluttered pantry and meal plan food won't be going bad as often. Next keep the food that you plan on using. If you have been pantry purging with us for a couple of weeks you will have an idea of what your family actually eats. Which leaves you with, in my case 3 cans of perfectly good re-fried beans. I've stopped trying to give them to my son, and my husband not really a fan. So I will donate them, and I'll tell you how to do this too.



Food to TOSS:

the USDA has food dating and safety guidelines online, but I found it a bit dense. I was genuinely surprised to learn that only baby formula is required to have a "use by" date. Which leaves you to wonder how long you really can hang on to those dry lentils before you decide its best to just use them for bean bag filling. This is the most strait forward guide to pantry storage times that I've been able to find on the web and was prepared Kansas State University and adapted from materials prepared by USDA and by the University of Missouri Extension Service. So you know its researched but it is written in plain English. Dow load the PDF and hang in on the back of the pantry door. If you can or preserve your own foods check out Cornell's Evidenced Based Living site for the latest and best research.

custom jar tags from DillyBags

Food to KEEP:

I found this to be the hard part. I like having a full pantry. I like having choices right at hand, but I decided to purge my pantry so that I actually have a good idea of what there is to eat in the house, and to make sure it was the kinds of things I want my family to eat. I took the time to decant my flour (I like to bake so there were 4 varieties) and line up my cans. You will soon realize that a little organization and labeling will go a long way. In fact, I am smack dab in the middle of this process right now. Even after weeks of being in purge mode,  I still have a lot of food!  I'm fortunate, even blessed. This very blessing, however, had become a cluttered, impenetrable mess that caused me to waste money on duplicate purchases and time looking for staples. Ultimately, more will have to go.

Food to Donate:

There is a point when I had to realize that that double club pack of mustard will not be used by its expiration date. So I started a donate box. I will be donating my food to a my local food pantry: Food Bank of WNY and you can locate your local food bank via Feeding America.  I was going to include a list of what they need but if it is non-perishable, they probably need it.  If not a food bank consider your place of worship, neighbor, or friend.  Why not ask around before wasting that 95% full jar of peanut butter, just because you discovered your kid is allergic. I'm sure someone will use it.

My Pantry Purge Progress

I'm getting to the fun part around here. I'll be posting pictures of my newly organized pantry very very soon. My Pot-luck won't be until next week but I did get some prized lined up for you guys. Enter the Challenge by March 23rd! See prizes and entry here.


 Join the Pantry Purge!

Its Easy!
First Subscribe Here:  Subscribe in a reader or Subscribe by Email

Next, leave a comment (or two)!
We want to hear all about your purge trials, tips, triumphs and furry Asian fruit. :)

Don't forget to Enter the Challenge by March 23rd! See prizes and entry here

Last, take a look all of the past Pantry Purge Post!

Don't for get to grab a Pantry Purge Button for your blog. ============>>

<===Last Tip #3: Conquer the Clean Out

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