Saturday, March 22, 2014

Living the Pantry Lifestyle - Searching for past their prime dates

Today's post does not have new information, just a gentle reminder of a job we schedule in Spring and Fall.  At least I think it is Spring.   :)

We had one day of very nice weather yesterday before the temperatures plunged again.  This Polar Vortex is like a boomerang that keeps returning even if it is not wanted in March.  Although I'd rather have it too cold than too hot.  Two years ago when we were experiencing a very warm March, we ended up with a hot and drought ridden summer.

I have begun a necessary "chore" that all of us who keep even the smallest of pantries must perform and that is checking the dates on boxed and canned goods.  Working just a little at a time, it does eventually get done.  It is also a good time to organize and change around the shelves that hold the items I use a lot.  The shelves that are an extension of my kitchen shelves.

By doing this a couple times a year, it also gives us a good idea what items we use a lot (so they need to be a priority in our budget) and what items have not had much of a turnover.   Some items will not need to be checked carefully for they already have a date written on them or their flat.  They only need to be rotated with older dates brought to the forefront.

We started checking dates yesterday and any very old dates (more than 1-1/2 years for canned goods) get tossed.  Then those which need to be used immediately go into the box on the shelf by the garage door leading into the family room.  Once it is full, I always stop there first when looking for an item to cook with.

We don't have the very deep pantry we once did but the shelves also hold some items brought home from food pantries.  When everything in it was purchased, we weren't as likely to have past date items on the shelf.  But if you go to a food pantry, so often those items are near or even past the date when brought home so we always have to check.

Recently I opened two different cans that were a little over 1-1/2 years past their date.  The green beans were fine.  I don't think I've ever had a non-acid veggie go bad in a can.  But the peaches had an off taste so I didn't use them.

I never test if a food is good by tasting first!  I always give it the whiff test and then if it smells fine, I will take a little taste.

I don't know about you but time seems to be flying by and I'm astonished to find items it seems I just purchased are now on or past their use by date.   But part of living a Pantry Lifestyle is being diligent about using older items first.  It is so worth it in the long run with savings in money and time.  Not to mention food security in an emergency (like a job loss).

It will be good to have every date checked and, of course, we are organizing all the shelves while we are at it.  For they not only hold our pantry items but act as storage for off season items, canning supplies, etc.  It is never a pretty sight after a long, cold winter.

So... my goal is to get the garage and the pantry shelves organized soon.  Before the lawn and garden needs our attention.  But that's another pantry story.  :)


Anonymous said...

Good advice, Brenda. We did this more often when my daughter was still at home. Wow - once she moved into her new house with her hubby there was nothing left in the fridge or pantry! Ed and I eat sparingly and very narrowly so we get just what we need each week. Pantry and fridge always look so clean!

lynneinMN said... IS cold here in the polar Midwest! the sun is nice to see, but oh so deceiving. the thermometer says 14. it is a good day to organize the basement pantry shelves!
God Bless, and spring HAS to come soon! Lynne

Deanna Rabe - Creekside Cottage Blog said...

Good reminder!


Vee said...

I am using your method and it works really well. If it's "in the box" it must be used first before digging back. I was so excited to find a box of canned fruit in what I thought was an empty box in the basement (the first two cans had been used); It's like finding treasure.