Spring is a great time to let go of the extra baggage we’ve been carrying all winter, cleansing our homes and our bodies.
If you're feeling like it's time to revamp your home, the best place to start is in the kitchen, where there are likely more than a few expired cans of food in your pantry and jars hidden at the back of your fridge. But it can be difficult to know what to keep and what to toss, especially if you’re like us and feel guilty wasting food and money.
To help you make some of these tough decisions, Taste of Home, a leading food community online, has eight tips that’ll make the dreaded process of cleaning your kitchen a lot easier and faster.
Happy spring cleaning!
To Keep Or Not To Keep Canned Food?
Most canned food lasts about two years, which is plenty of time for it to get eaten, but it’s also easy to forget about food once it’s been in your pantry for months. Taste of Home magazine recommends using the mantra “when in doubt, throw it out” for this one. If you’ve had food for months or years that you haven’t used, but it’s still not expired, donating to a local food bank is always a great idea. If you have half-used ingredients, don’t throw them out without going online — you may find some surprising ways to use up those ingredients.
Make Your Pasta And Grains Last Longer
If you’re like us, you probably have at least three different types of pasta in your pantry, two of which are open packages. To make your pasta, grains, dried beans and rice last longer, Taste of Home recommends storing it in airtight containers. It’ll also help with organization.
A lot of food that you may not use for eating can be used for other household purposes. For example, if your baking soda is expired, use it to remove tough burned food from the bottom of pans. Simply sprinkle it on the pan, add some in the water and let it soak for a few minutes. You can also clean your sink with it. Several of your kitchen products can also be used in beauty treatments.
Test Oil With Your Nose
While some oils, such as extra virgin olive oil, can last up to three years in your pantry, others can only last for a few months. According to Taste of Home, simply smelling the oil can often tell you whether it’s still safe to use. Oils that have gone bad will have a noticeable smell.
Preserve Your Nuts
Most nuts last less than a year, but in the freezer they can last up to 2-4 years based on the type of nut.
Mark Your Spices
According to Taste of Home magazine, spices should only stay in your pantry for a maximum of 18 months. To remember when you bought a spice, write the date on the bottle or bag with a marker.
Keep Tabs On Your Freezer Products
It can be hard to remember all the food that’s stored at the back of freezers, which is why it often goes bad and ends up in the trash during spring cleaning. To prevent the foods in your freezer from succumbing to freezer burn, Taste of Home recommends keeping an updated list of all the products you buy and use.
Stick To The First In, First Out Rule
Whether your food is in the pantry, fridge or freezer, try to place newer items behind older ones so that you remember to use the older food first.