Halloween treats, tailgate dips, Thanksgiving pies, Christmas cookies, hearty chilis and soups, pumpkin everything — all of these holiday treats have one common ingredient: a well-stocked pantry. As the potluck, Friendsgiving, and cookie exchange invitations start rolling in, these tips will help you stay organized for all your holiday activity in the kitchen.
Compile the essentials
Before you start your holiday cooking, make sure you’re stocked with the staples. Use our Tasker-approved shopping list as a starting point.
Check expiration dates
Most of the items on our essentials list have a long shelf life, but that doesn’t mean you should keep using the same baking soda in your pumpkin pie year after year. Check your dry goods at the start of each season. Spices like cinnamon, ground ginger, and nutmeg can last up to four years, but you’ll want to replace flour, baking powder, and baking soda at least once a year.
- Replace every 6-12 months or by use-by date
- Mix 1 tsp with ½ cup hot water and check for immediate bubbles.
- Replace every 9-12 months
- Mix ¼ tsp with 2 tsp vinegar and check for immediate bubbles.
- Replace white flour every 12 months
- Replace whole grain flour every 6 months and store in freezer
- Crush a small amount into your hand and test freshness by taste and smell. If the flavor is weak, it’s time for a replacement.
Get creative with storage
We bet the last thing you want to have to do when you’re elbows deep in pie dough is to rifle through a cabinet for the right spices. Get creative with pantry storage to make sure your ingredients are readily accessible. Some of our favorite everyday objects to repurpose include pencil holders, magazine racks, shower caddies, Lazy Susans, and shoe organizers.
Use clear containers and labels
It’s easy to overbuy or forget what you have in your pantry when everything is in cardboard boxes or paper bags. Store bulk dry goods in clear glass containers labeled with the contents and expiration date. You’ll know exactly what you’re reaching for and how much is left. Bonus: it’s much easier to neatly measure flour and sugar from a container than a floppy bag.