Stock a Smarter Pantry
Over the past few months, we’ve shared some essential tips for grocery shopping and keeping your pantry well-stocked, but we’re not going to stop there. Along with being smart in the grocery store and well-prepared at home, there are a few frugal things you can be doing at home to make your groceries and your budget last longer. No one likes to see food or money go to waste, so to keep yourself on a budget, follow these 10 tips from The Daily Meal and Whole Foods Market for stocking a smarter pantry.
FIFO (First in, First Out) — It’s the number one rule for professional kitchens today because it helps chefs organize their pantry so that they’re not wasteful. With the first in, first out method, you’re using the older products first so that you’re not letting them go to waste. So remember to put the freshly bought milk behind the already opened carton in your refrigerator.
Know Your Produce — Whenever you’re buying fresh produce, make sure you know the proper ways to store it. Many people throw tomatoes in the refrigerator when they get home, when really they’re better off right on the kitchen counter at room temperature. Nothing’s worse than wasting money or food due to negligence, so educate yourself.
Freeze and Save — The freezer is a great way to be resourceful about your pantry. Having frozen loaves of bread, protein, and vegetables will always keep them on hand and make sure they don’t spoil.
Shortcuts — Use shortcuts whenever possible when grocery shopping. My favorite one? Whole Foods suggests that when you’re serving a salad for a small amount of people, use the salad bar at grocery stores to get your ingredients, rather than buying them in bulk.
Gardening — Growing your own garden of fresh herbs is the best way to keep the flavorful greens at your fingertips. Rather than having to buy a whole package of thyme for that one breast of chicken, you can just rip a few stems off your homegrown plant.
Freeze-Dry Herbs — If you do start a garden, or even buy that whole package of thyme, you can still be savvy and save by freeze-drying the herbs to preserve them longer.
Get Creative — When you’re past the point of freezing leftover produce, get creative and transform it into something that’ll last. Greens like spinach and basil are great in pesto, and leftover bread may not last by itself but will go farther as dried breadcrumbs.
Canning and Pickling — Learning these two essential techniques can help you save a ton of pantry items. See our article on pickling for tips and suggestions.
Plan Ahead — Even if you consider yourself a "fly by the seat of your pants" type of person, planning in the kitchen can work wonders when trying to save and be efficient. Keep a list in your pantry and write down something whenever you've run out of it, and plan meals a week ahead of time so you’re smart about grocery shopping.
Cooking Well — Last but not least, the best way to not let things go to waste in the kitchen is to cook it well. Whole Foods Market 365 Everyday Value products are inexpensive and are great pantry staples, and they can make mouthwatering and flavorful meals at little to no cost. Here are three recipes from Whole Foods that transform your pantry staples into a fulfilling meal.
Three-Bean Salad with Quinoa Recipe
"Summer green beans are here! Perhaps other beans, too, so substitute any of the three beans with what you can get on sale or from your garden..."
- Whole Foods Market
"A great way to serve this salad is to slice a 9-inch round focaccia in half horizontally, fill itwith the tuna, and press a plate..."
- Whole Foods Market
"Cooking dried beans is low maintenance and a great value. Make sure to plan ahead..."
- Whole Foods Market
Anne Dolce is the Cook Editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @anniecdolce
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