Buying food items on sale and stocking food in your pantry is not frugal if you don’t get the food used on time. One of the biggest reasons for food loss and spoilage is that it doesn’t get rotated and used fast enough. A food pantry or shelves of food can lead to costly waste if you have to throw away outdated food.
How to keep a pantry of food updated.
It all starts in the grocery store. Be a date reader. I look at the date (on cans its usually on the top or bottom) and if the food is not dated for close to 2 years beyond the current date, I don’t buy it. But Sherry, if its on sale I should buy it! Not unless you are going to use it right away. If a canned or packaged food is on sale, the FIRST thing to do is check the date. Grocery stores shouldn’t sell products that have reached the “used by date”. But, they can run a sale on products close to the date. I have gotten nipped on this before. By the time I reach for the product to use, its past the due date.
Moving it forward?
In an ideal world, I would put the newly purchased canned or packaged items to the back and bring the older dated products forward to the front. I’m human and this just doesn’t work out for me. I come home and put my groceries away, usually without putting the newest products to the back of the line.
What’s a person to do? Pick 1-2 dates a year. We are going to use that to clean and update our food pantry and shelves. I pick tax paying time. I don’t know why, I just do. Maybe I take out my frustration from taxes on cleaning out my pantry!
How to clean and update your pantry or food shelves.
This depends on how you feel and how much time you have. If you cannot work for a long period of time, just do 1 or 2 shelves the first day. If you are feeling good and have the time, go for the whole pantry!
First make a spot on the table or floor. Pull out all of the food items and set them where you can sort them later. Next wash the shelves off with hot soapy water and dry. You will be surprised at the dirt! Now pick a food item such as baked beans. Look for the date. If it is past the “use by date”, toss it, throw it away. Now you are left with food dated as still usable. Wipe off each product with the hot soapy water and set it back in the pantry. Put the oldest dates at the front and the furthest out dates to the back. Simple, but time consuming.
Food that needs updated other than canned.
There are food products that we sometimes don’t think about as going out of date or that need to be used by a certain date. Cake mixes have been in the news for making people sick after they go past their use by date. Did you know that flour, baking soda, baking powder and corn starch can go out of date? These food products usually have their use by dates on the top and bottom too. My flour has it on the side panel. If your baking hasn’t been what it usually is, it could be that one of the products mentioned is out of date.
Now pick a date. Pick a food pantry or shelf and start updating! You’ll be glad you did.