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Cleaning The Kitchen Cupboard - Can This Be Saved?

Have you looked -- REALLY looked -- at the foods in your kitchen cupboards lately?

Is it time to bid some foods a fond farewell?

Should others be moved to a better location and/or storage container?

Can you "revive" some aging foods so they still can be used?

Read on for tips to help you decide whether to toss, move or try to save common kitchen cupboard foods.

Storing Kitchen Cupboard Foods

The following storage tips are based on food stored at a room temperature of about 70° F. The times are those generally cited for maintaining best food quality. A range of times and the more conservative recommendations are given to allow for age of the product when purchased, how long it has been open, etc. READ LABELS CAREFULLY -- they often contain important storage information and recommended "use by" dates.

Baking Soda
Baking Powder
Canned Foods
Flour: White
Flour: Whole Wheat
Spices and Herbs
Sugar, Brown
Sugar, White granulated
Vegetable Oil

Kitchen Cupboard Management 101

Now that you've sorted, tossed, moved and/or repackaged and perhaps revived some foods, here are a few tips to take control of storing foods in your cupboard:

  • If you tossed portions of expired foods, buy a smaller container next time.
  • Keep a permanent marker pen in your kitchen and put the date -- month and YEAR -- you purchased the food on the container.
  • When in doubt about storage times, call the company (many have toll-free numbers), write to the address on the label, or check if the company has a Web site that might answer your questions.
  • If you can't determine how old a food is and the container contains no "use by" date, check for a production code on container. If it's not possible to decipher the production code, call or write the company or check if this information might be given on a company Web site.
  • Practice "first in, first out," or what foodservice professionals refer to as FIFO, for foods. If you have purchased several containers of the same type of food, arrange the containers so you reach for the oldest package first.
  • READ LABELS CAREFULLY for storage information and possible recommended "use by" dates.

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Last Modified: 11/28/11.