All the work we’ve been doing around the shop launch has made us realise that we’ve got into some bad habits at home.
I’m a horrendous packrat when it comes to spices, flours and interesting things for cooking with but then when I try and find anything, it’s all in different places or it falls out of the cupboard on my head and it’s all just too overwhelming.
So, as it’s been a Bank Holiday this weekend here in the UK, we decided to put sorting out the kitchen cupboards at the top of the list. The plan was to go through the spices cupboard and throw away anything that’s not sealed properly and/or not been used recently or doesn’t smell of anything.
I’ve always used jars for storing stuff for years and years, ever since there used to be the old Weigh ‘n’ Save shops back in the 1980’s although obviously I never really thought about the plastic, it was more about being able to buy it loose in less packaging. Also, I really do love a nice Kilner-style jar with a flip top lid but I’m also quite fond of the rather handy coffee jars that Dowe Egberts instant coffee comes in.
The only shop locally at the moment is across the river in Lancaster at Single Step which has been going since 1976 and they do have a fantastic selection which you can buy loose. However, it had got to the point at home where I didn’t know what we actually have and then because I can’t find it in amongst all the mess, I’d buy some more. Neither zero waste or cost effective!
So, on Saturday morning, after sorting out the order for my step-kids new school uniforms, we were off to IKEA in Warrington. I specifically went for some of the little flip-top jars to sort out all my herbs and spices although I picked up a few of the larger jars as well.
Then, instead of spending Bank Holiday Monday on the car park known as the M6, we cleaned, sorted and labelled everything and put them all in a big tray that I can pull out of the pantry and look in, instead of it all falling on my head and then giving it up as a bad job.
We decanted all the same spices into a proper jar instead of having 3 or 4 of the same one and properly labelled them. In the process I’ve discovered I’ve got enough tumeric, cinnamon, cumin and coriander to drown in but no ground ginger! Also who actually needs 3 jars of paprika?
Imbued by a sense of achievement and feeling somewhat smug, we then moved on to do everything else.
We quickly did the grains, pulses, nuts and seeds. I’m already inspired to bake now I know where all of them are and what we have.
Then came the flours, this is probably what I’m more upset about than anything else.
I love experimenting with all different types of flour and get somewhat excited if I come across a type I’ve not used before or a mix that might be interesting.
Inevitably the cupboard has ended up just full of open paper bags of different flours. When we went through them, we had to throw out most of them out because moths had got in there and they were full of mites. So they will all have to be replaced. The maddening thing is, there were actually jars of the same flour in the cupboard, I just couldn’t see them all because of the mess.
We haven’t quite finished yet as we have now run out of jars, even after raiding the recycling but for the first time in ages we know exactly what we’ve got and there is space on the pantry shelves and in the cupboards.
We’ve also got alot more space on the worktops because everything else was able to be put away.
I have even started a shopping list to pick up what I’m missing next time I’m over the river in Lancaster or we go visit one of the other semi-local zero waste shops in Kendal or Ulverston. Normally I just guess and that’s how I ended up with 3 jars of paprika & the motherload of cumin and coriander!
Of course, it would be much easier to just buy from our own shop but that will have to wait until we launch.