Updated: 4/10/2010 (briefly)
We purchase most food stuffs in quantities that will last for 1 or 2 or more months. I don't have a pantry — though I wish I did! I wouldn't enjoy my time in the kitchen if it weren't at least somewhat efficient, so it is important to me to find workable storage solutions that fit our bulk food purchases, cooking habits and space. I've had to be creative — to spread out the pantry to incorporate several cupboards, even storing a few things in the laundry room and in my bedroom. I've taken some pictures of what we've found to work. Please realize that this is a work in progress… our needs change and so must the pantry.
I don't have many store-bought trinkets or storage aids, with the exception of 2 lazy susans. I use what I have. I collect large containers and jars which come in handy. I admit to having an “extra” supply of jars stored in the barn… anyone need any jars? 😀
Spice & Baking Cupboards. These two cupboards are side by side. I purchase these items in 1 or 5 pound bulk increments. I keep a jar-full of each item handy in these cupboards. The little jars (bottom right) fill up 2 lazy susans for easy access. The bigger jars are stacked up 2 high in some cases. I don't stuff the cupboards; that way, I have plenty of room to reach in and gain access to something in the back. (Update: There are no longer supplements in this cupboard!)
Grain & Bean Bucket Storage — Kitchen View. I purchased used food-grade buckets from a local source. Some of my buckets I got at a grocery store in the bakery department (those were free). They are filled with: rolled oats, spelt, kamut, wheat (soft and hard), millet, lentils, garbanzo beans, and pinto beans. I store them under the breakfast bar counter in our kitchen. We don't use this counter for eating, so it makes a great place for the buckets.The picture that follows shows the bucket storage under the counter as it opens up to the kitchen.
Grain & Bean Bucket Storage — Dining Room View. To hide the buckets from view in the dining room, I made a curtain from a remnant of green fabric I found at the thrift store. It is held up in the recess under the counter by a curtain tension rod. The first picture shows the curtain as it normally is. The second picture shows what it looks like if the curtain is pulled back (which it rarely is).
The dining room view of bucket storage, with the curtain down
The dining room view of bucket storage, with the curtain pulled back
Official Pantry Cupboard. I have one tall cupboard unit containing 4 cupboards to the right of the sink, probably intended for pantry storage. The cupboards are each deep and tall. I probably could use the space much better if I would buy some internal shelving structures, to help me fill up the space higher. But since spending our money on this isn't a priority, I make do and use the space as best as I can with what I have. The 1st cupboard (not shown) stores infrequently used items like soap-making and wool-dyeing supplies. The next cupboard stores canned goods. The 3rd cupboard stores more bulk food items that I don't purchase in the same quantities as the items which fill the buckets. Finally, the 4th cupboard stores jugs and buckets of oils and vinegars.
Canned Goods Cupboard
Bulk Food Items Cupboard
Oils and Vinegars
Update (4/13/10) to the pantry cupboards: The top cupboard (not pictured) is still holding soap and dyeing supplies. The 2nd cupboard still holds canned goods, along with smaller containers of vinegars. The 3rd cupboard is now full of gallon and half gallon glass jars of items like sea salt, raisins, nutritional yeast, cocoa powder, loose tea, and 2-1/2 gallon jugs of olive oil, honey, and 2 gallon pails of coconut oil. The bottom pantry cupboard stores all my empty gallon, 1/2 gallon, quart, and pint size glass jars.
A Couple of Other Places for Storage. I have one more kitchen cupboard where I store backups of spices and herbs. The laundry room holds some carry over large buckets/pails that don't fit in the kitchen. In my bedroom (which is usually cool year round), I have a five shelf wire rack, where I store extras of the grains, beans, and supplies that will eventually refill containers in the kitchen.
Freezer. In the freezer, I store butter, cheese, grass-fed beef, wild salmon, nuts, seeds, dried fruits, and other odds and ends.
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