Behind the Doors – The Pantry Part V
Once you do start buying in bulk, you need a way to store your items. Cans and items that come in individual packages are obviously easy to handle, such as mac n cheese (boxes), broth (boxes), pasta (1 lb. bags). Even the sugar we buy, while a large bag, has a good reliable way to reseal it.
Other items like flour, rice, brown sugar, powdered sugar, and nuts come in large bags that do not reseal and are just cumbersome to store/use. For these items I store them in food safe bins. I keep nuts in airtight containers, like OXO Pop Tops, in the refrigerator, so they do not go rancid as quickly. Flour and rice I keep in large bins on top of the refrigerator (space is limited in our kitchen). I also store brown and powdered sugar in airtight bins in the pantry.
When we do make a trip to the bulk store, I make sure to rotate any items I still have to the front, and put the new items in the back. It’s also a good idea to clean any storage bins before you refill it.
I still seem to never have the exact number of containers, so anything extra often gets stored in zip top bags. This often includes beans, dried fruit, and other whole grains, which I buy in much smaller quantities. Once I open a package, I pop it into a plastic bag. Not my ideal solution, but sometimes it’s all I have available.
Another option could be to store items in large wide mouth Mason jars, however we only have the small 8oz. ones, which don’t really hold enough. You can get them in 1 quart and half gallon sizes. They are relatively inexpensive, airtight, and glass, so no need to worry about plastic chemicals leaching into your foods. Many hardware stores carry them. These jars would be great to store beans, rice, grains, dried fruit, even nuts, and much less expensive than other food safe options. Hmmm….I think it’s time I made a trip to pick up some larger jars.