Friday, July 29, 2011

Cupboard mess

I have been cooking from scratch for several weeks. For the most part, it's been great! Most of the food has been good and I've added a couple of meals to our favorites list.

Cooking from scratch requires that I buy a lot of food from the bulk bins: nuts, seeds, flours, rice, beans, dried fruit. Because of this, I am running into two problems.

1 - I'm slowly killing the environment with all of these plastic bulk bags. It's ironic, as I use reusable shopping bags to carry my groceries home!
2 - My cupboard is overflowing with ingredients and it's hard to find anything.

Help! Does anyone have any suggestions as to what I could do to eliminate at least one of these problems?

My scary cupboard


T.R. Gallegos said...

Yep yep...if you watch Jim and Sally Hohnberger's "Our Resting Place"...when she shows us her pantry, you can see how she keeps it organized. It's awesome. Sealed glass jars with labels. Very neat and efficient. Here's a link to the video.

The part with the pantry is about 16:55 - 17:05...somewhere in there. :-)

make.share.give said...

Maybe some Glad containers with nice tight lids? They stack up nicely and are reusable. They were on sale yesterday at Kroger. Very proud that you're cooking from scratch. That was my goal for summer break. Today, we're having pork chop fajitas- a yummy dinner I invented to use up leftovers. Now, my little boy asks for them all the time.
Happy Saturday!

Ann@His Grace To Me said...

I use glass canning jars of all sizes. I like the glass because it does not stain or hold the smell of the contents. Mainly I use the quart and pint sizes, but I'd like a few 1/2 gallon jars. You can buy plastic lids that fit the canning jars so you don't have to use the two-piece lid and ring. Make sure to label the jars, though, once I had jars of soymilk powder and egg replacer that looked exactly alike - I had to taste them to find out which was which!

Cassandra said...

T.R. Gallegos - Thanks for the link! I like the Hohnberg's writings so it will be interesting to see a video.

make.share.give - I'll check out the next sale! I like the idea of stackable containers if possible. I'm hoping to find something glass, as it's better for the environment, but we'll see what I can find.

Ann - Thank you for that idea! I hadn't even thought of that idea. We buy some products that come packaged in glass (spaghetti sauce, pimientos, and a few other things). Usually I just toss them into the recycle container but I should have been saving them! Oops! I'll save the next few to see if that works. I like the canning jar idea...

Anonymous said...

Hmmm... You are welcome to borrow my son, - he's very good at emptying cupboards - problem solved. - I tend to decant most of my beans, rice, nuts etc. into plastic tupperware and similar tubs... unfortunately PLB now knows how to open those so he "helps" me by pouring rice, pasta etc into his little pots and pans. He also seems particularly fond of aduki beans that are still in the plastic packaging - he uses his teeth and bites into the bag thus releasing the beans and eating them - I then release a scream or two and spend weeks finding aduki beans in strange places (he is never where I can see him when he tries this trick - it has happened twice but now they have been decanted into a storage container and placed on top of the highest cupboard!)

bekahcubed said...

Looks like most everyone is giving suggestions for your second dilemma-but I've got an idea for you first! I found myself in the same situation and finally just whipped myself up some reusable bags.

I made a little tutorial along the way. You're welcome to check it out and ask any questions you'd like! I'll try to answer as best as I can.

Anonymous said...

Cassandra ~ just noticed you on MPM. Interesting to see another Adventist blogger ~ I enjoyed looking over your menu. I too store all my bulk foods in glass (other than the large quantities that I keep in 5 gallon buckets). Gallon jars hold about 5 pounds of most things and quarts hold about 1 pound. They stack really nicely in the cupboard and I love the way it looks! You can see what is in the jar and how much you have... Happy to meet you ♥ BlEsSiNgS, Kelsey

Cherie said...

I use glass canning jars too. Quarts for most things, but for oats and wheat the 1/2 gallon size works better for us.

Alisa said...

Use the plastic bags as bags for your bathroom garbage cans. If they are too small, buy smaller garbage cans ;).

Reusable bags are nice for produce, but not so great for herbs and spices. For those you can either reuse the plastic bags over and over (shake a bit of baking soda in them to clean them out after use) or get them in plastic bags and use the bags in idea number 1 above.

For the storage of small miscellaneous herbs/spices/sauces/etc. try to find a drawer that most of them will stand up in. Label the tops of the lids and alphabetize them in groups (sauces and condiments in one area, spices and herbs in another, etc). If you don't have a drawer available, invest in (or build) a stair step in the cupboard and install a click light so you can see the things on the back stair.

You reduce waste so much just by cooking from scratch. Keep up the good work!

Alisa said...

Oh, and I second (third?) the 1/2 gallon canning jars for storing dried beans/grains. I buy in bulk bags and store what doesn't fit in the jar in the freezer to keep bugs at bay.