Pantry 101

Given the size of my 1940’s era kitchen I knew I’d need more storage, so turning the awkward small closet in the basement into a walk-in pantry was a no-brainer. It was a simple project in terms of time and money and one of the first I tackled after purchasing my home.

0926_pantry01The space is approximately 8 foot by 5 foot; a door, ceiling light and one shelving unit were already installed. After painting the space I added shelving to two more walls and a second row beneath the original. The door opens under the small window and adding shelving would have made entry difficult. I often consider adding a third row, but prefer using not-in-use furniture as additional “shelving”.

0926_pantry02The key with a pantry system is making sure you rotate goods – use the oldest first. The long wall holds my “use first” jams and tomato products on the lowest shelf; the upper is the current year’s edition of the items and other frequently used goods.

The shortest wall is all tomato products. Sauces (spicy red curry, enchilada, salsa, pasta) are on the lowest shelf; quartered tomatoes are on top.

0926_pantry03The third wall is this year’s batch of apple jam. I scored a great deal on apples (10 pounds for less than $5) earlier this year and finished that chore quickly. It’s my go-to addition to oatmeal so having a large amount on hand is vital. I’ve tried using other jams in oatmeal (strawberry, cherry) but apple was always my hands down winner.

I love canning for many reasons – but popping open these jars throughout the cold winter days is such a thrill. It’s so simple to prepare meals if (when!) snowstorms arrive and I just don’t feel like leaving my home.

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