Snappy Food Storage Containers
I love organizing and I particularly love all the gear that goes with it. Pantries are tight spaces so it is important to maximize every inch with an efficient arrangement.
Get started by discarding all the stale and expired food items in your pantry. Then, clean the shelves.
The best way to store pantry ingredients is in clear, airtight containers. It’s a rare pantry that has a window, but if yours does, keep food items away from light. Make sure your pantry doesn’t get too warm, and if there is a heat vent, keep food away from it. Food pantries need good ventilation and air circulation.
For small items (small jars, salts and peppers, flavorings like vanilla), put them on a tray, like the 10” square lacquered tray pictured below that is easy to pull out like a drawer.
Foods in pantries are kept at room temperature and need only to be stored in either their original packaging if airtight or other airtight containers. Easy access to what is stored in the pantry is also important.
Pantry food storage tips:
If kept out of the light, spices can last up to a year.
If you don’t want little insects in your pantry, Martha Stewart suggests dropping a dried chili pepper or bay leaf into each jar. They have natural insect-repelling properties and are non-toxic.
Dry baking ingredients in bags like flour, sugar, cornmeal, should be put into airtight containers as soon as you put them in your pantry. Tear off a piece of each label and put in inside the jar where it is readable.
Grains and rice should also be transferred to airtight containers.
Here is some of my favorite pantry equipment.
Oxo Pop Containers are made from clear plastic and seal up airtight by pressing a button. They stack on top of each other. They come in many shapes and sizes with an angular corner to make pouring easy.A 10-piece set is $99.95
These Grigio Glass Canisters by Guzzini are stackable. They have lift-off acrylic lids and clear glass for easy viewing. The lids have airtight silicone gaskets. The entire unit is top rack dishwasher-safe. On sale for $13.59 – $19.54 each.
These are Bormioli Hermetic Glass Jars with Chalkboard Labels. If you have similar- looking items, the labels are important. The jars are airtight so will keep dry foods like grains, coffee or pasta fresh. Hand washing is recommended. On sale for $3.39 – $8.49.
In the interest of having your pantry look like Martha Stewart just organized it, store all your herbs and spices in these identical 3 oz. acrylic spice jars. The jars have a tight silicone seal. On sale for $2.54.
Spin trays are handy. This one is 13” in diameter and can hold up to 100 pounds of evenly distributed weight and still spin! It is great for small jars, spices or condiments. On sale for $12.74.
This 10” square lacquered tray is handy to hold small items and allows a group to be pulled out at once. It has a food-safe lacquered finish. $12.99.
Heavy duty bins to hold weighty items like cans and bottles are good to put on the floor of the pantry. Add clip labels to them to keep them organized. These are made from water hyacinth over a metal frame and have handles. They come 10” square and 12” square. $12.99 – $19.99.
To reach the top shelves you will need a step stool. This is a slim folding step stool from the Container Store. It is heavy duty with two steps. It has a carrying handle and folds to 1 ¼” width for storage. $24.99.
These see-through wire baskets are good for a very top shelf. Store your extra and back-up food supplies. It measures 7 1/2″ x 10 1/2″ x 3″ and has handles.
Check out Real Simple’s pantry food storage guidelines.
Check out our earlier article about food storage containers for all types of foods – not just pantry – hot, cold, refrigerated and dried.