A tidy kitchen for easy-to-plan meals!

22 April, 2019

Cleaning the pantry, fridge and freezer has several advantages! Of course, we all like to have a clean, tidy kitchen. But, the large household brings several other benefits, it allows among other things:
  • Reduce the proliferation of microorganisms, mainly in the refrigerator.
  • To limit the invasion of our food by insects. (ants and mealworms)
  • Learn more about our food inventory and avoid duplicate purchases.
  • Limit waste by putting forgotten foods on the menu.
A well-managed food inventory can significantly reduce your grocery budget, but most importantly, make it easier for you to plan meals. It will be even easier to cook because you will have all the basic foods at your fingertips to make quick recipes. You can download the list of staple foods right here. All you have to do is make sure you always have these foods on your shelves.

Cleaning the pantry and fridge in 4 steps

How do you do a spring food cleaning that has an impact on the efficient planning of meals and snacks? Following these 4 steps:  
  • Empty
Start by emptying the contents of the pantry, fridge and freezer. This step will allow you to group the food together, and then store it more optimally. You will be better able to perform an efficient inventory turnover.   It's time to reflect on the foods eaten at home. How many boxes of cereal, crackers or boxes do you have in general? They can be convenient for lunches but are generally overpackaged and more expensive than homemade snacks or fresh produce.  The idea is not to eliminate everything but to review the frequency of purchase or consumption. Two kinds of cereal a week is usually enough, as is a kind of crackers and a snack packed each week. Fresh or home-cooked foods are preferred.  
  • Clean, discard, replace
Once emptied, it's time to clean up. The MAPAQ suggests completing the cleaning with bleach, especially for the fridge. What foods are still good and which foods should be discarded? Let me take stock of the expiry dates. Is it necessary to throw away a food once as soon as it passes the expiration date? It all depends on the food. Meat, poultry and fish, as well as prepared meals or leftover meals, should be eaten quickly. For greater certainty, you can rely on the Thermoguide MAPAQ. Dairy products are also at risk, especially milk, cream, sour cream and fresh cheeses. To avoid waste, you can always get them back by adding them to a recipe that will be cooked like yogurt or sour cream muffins or cheese-gratinated pasta. For food in the pantry, do a visual and olfactory inspection. Whole grains may have rancid. In this case, they will feel strong and unfortunately it is better to throw them away. The rancid taste will be just as present when cooked and oxidation will cause significant nutritional changes. Grains and flours can be contaminated with mealworms. To prevent this contamination, it is important to store them in airtight containers. Sweet foods are popular with ants, especially in spring. Again, we use airtight containers, and we clean all the food backstage outside. There's nothing more annoying than running out of brown milk or oatmeal when it was planned to make muffins during the baby's nap. Be sure to replace food as soon as it is finished to avoid these situations. I particularly like the "Add to the Grocery List" section of the weekly family planner of Les Belles Combines. By immediately registering the food we have just finished on the planner we are sure not to forget it when we next go to the grocery store.  
  • Ranger by sections
Now is the time to tidy up. To facilitate the preparation of meals or the autonomy of children, the sections can be very useful. The main storage sections are pastry (flour, sugar, flakes and bran, baking powder etc), basic foods (preserves, rice, pasta, etc.), breakfast foods (nut butters, granola, cereals, etc.), snacks (fruit dried, compotes, dried cereals, crackers, etc.), spices and oils and vinegar. If you have oils used less often such as camelina or sesame, they would be better stored in the fridge. Make sure the sections used by the children are at hand so they can use themselves. It's a great way to empower. Don't hesitate to use the rangemen labelst of Les Belles Combines to identify everything!  
  • Putting forgotten foods on the menu
Everything is tidy, it's time to roll the stock. Too much coconut milk? Plan a Thai recipe and put it on the menu. Two boxes of All Bran? Make a double recipe for bran muffins. It's a great idea to buy food on sale but you don't have to have a large inventory. Large sales come back a few times a year and the food is not good forever. The goal is to have a nice variety but to manage to roll the inventory in order to avoid waste. And often, when there are too many choices, you don't know what to eat.