Spring is a time of renewal, so it’s a great time to give a refresher to your kitchen. I’m eager to share with you my top 4 tips for creating a fresh and healthy vegan pantry.
1. Discard old spices – check the dates on your dried herbs and spices. Older spices are going to lose potency and flavor so you’re going to want to replace them with fresh ones. Buy larger quantities of spices you use more frequently and less of those you only use on occasion. As economical as it may seem to buy a huge container of herbs, unless you’re cooking for an army, chances are you’re never going to get through it all before their taste becomes lackluster.
2. Store your grains, beans, nuts, seeds and flours in glass jars. This will not only keep them neater and allow you to easily identify them, but will also provide an air tight container to maintain longer freshness. Most of my flours (especially the gluten free ones), nuts and seeds get stored in my refrigerator or freezer. As the weather starts to get warmer, it’s an especially good time to transfer any high fat ingredients to a cooler storage area to extend their shelf life.
3. Stock up on longer lasting veggies. The further we get from winter, the fresher our fruits and veggies become, and the shorter a shelf life they tend to have. As the seasons shift, I like to keep longer lasting veggies like carrots, onions, garlic, ginger, lemons and other citrus on hand for quick meals and tasty beverages. I’ll also stock up on some pre-packaged frozen vegetables, or freeze them myself, so that I’ll always have something to make for dinner when I don’t have time to go shopping or plan a meal.
4. Get new baking soda! Technically baking soda lasts just 30 days after opening–so for perfect cakes, it’s best to keep track of freshness. Re-purpose old baking soda to clean your kitchen: run the dishwasher (empty) with baking soda and distilled vinegar to get rid of buildup and mold. You can even use the same combination for clogging drains.
As the days get longer, we all want to spend a little more time outside and a little less time in the kitchen or the grocery store. It’s great to take the time now to spring clean our kitchen, the same way we would any other room in our house, to keep things fresh.
Do you have other ideas for how to spring clean your kitchen or pantry? I’d love to hear them! Please share in the comments below.
Also by Christine: Hearty Vegan Ginger Beet Burgers
More in Healthy Eating: 10 Super Useful Kitchen Tricks
Photo: Christine Oppenheim