Food & Drink

Pantry Edition: When to toss that?

Organizing your pantry won't seem like a challenging chore once you know what to toss and what to keep

So, you're ready to get started on your pantry purge! But unlike your annual spring cleaning, pantry decluttering is more than finding what you're emotionally attached to or what takes up space.

You have to think about perishable items, sensitive items, and best-by dates. It can be hard to figure out how fresh or expired that tin of baking soda is. And you can't risk taste-testing the jars of food lurking in the back.

Here are some tips to help you successfully clean out your pantry:

Preparing for the Purge

Before anything else, empty out your pantry. Why waste time and energy on dusting off every jar and bottle if you're not going to keep it in the first place? Clear out your shelves and wipe them down with a non-toxic cleaner. If you don't have one at hand, you can always DIY them.

Determine Shelf Lives

Even though pantry essentials like rice, beans, and grains have extended shelf lives, they eventually have to go. Check each item for best-by dates and toss all expired items. Next, think about the items you haven't used in the last six months.If you haven't and don't expect to in the near future, it's time to let them go.

Check if the Baking Soda is Active

If your baking soda has gone bad, everything you bake will turn out deflated. Luckily, you can use a quick trick to find out if it's still active. Simply combine a ¼ teaspoon of baking soda to 2 teaspoons of vinegar. If it fizzes and bubbles, the baking soda is still good. If there is no reaction, your baking soda has retired and time to toss it out.

The Two-Year Toss Rule for Pasta

Store-bought pasta usually comes with a "best before" label.But if you shifted yours into a different container, there's no way to know how long it's been there. Try cooking a handful of pasta to check if it's going stale.

Stalepasta has a sticky, chewy texture when cooked. If it's been sitting in your pantry for more than two years, discard it immediately. If it's fine, try this delicious pasta recipe and put it to good use!

Jars of assorted pasta placed in front of a window.

Preserve Cottage Cheese and Sour Cream

If the cottage cheese and sour cream in your fridge doesn't smell funky, don't throw it away just yet. Instead of opening a big tub of cream repeatedly and exposing it to air, move the product to smaller containers. This way, you free up fridge space, and the products stay fresh for longer.

Herbs and Spices

If you love cooking, you know that meals made with stale spices don't have the same pizzazz. Herbs and spices, especially if they're dried, don't go bad, but they do lose their flavor every few years. So if you feel like your meals are starting to taste bland and boring, consider getting fresh replacements for your dried herbs and spices.

Check out more recommendations, cleaning tips, and guides at Calle Ocho News. We share the latest on events and activities in Miami. Make sure you sign up for our newsletter to stay updated!

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