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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Saturday, May 04, 2013

A Bit of a Pantry Update

It is hard to believe we have only been in this house nineteen months!  It is amazing how much the house has changed in such a short time especially when a total of 4 of those months were spent at our vacation home.  For the past month, I was busy preparing for the arrival of our new bedroom furniture.  What this really meant was furniture and things being moved about affecting the master bedroom, guest room, and office.  However, since I had to do a bit of shopping for accessories that spilled into the kitchen, upper bathroom, laundry room and pantry.  It never fails, as soon as you change one thing in the house it snowballs!

storage totes
My pantry is always evolving to meet the current needs.  When I first starting setting up the pantry, we knew mice were getting in.  I bought four large wheeled totes to store boxed and packaged foods to protect them from any rodents until we had the problem under control.  Thank goodness it took very little time for the exterminator to solve the rodent issue, still I want all food protected just in case.  It did not take long to realize the storage totes while protecting the food, created a couple more problems.

Two of the storage totes (pictured) were stacked beside the industrial shelf unit on the west wall.  One was on a shelf on the industrial shelf unit on the east wall and one was under a serving table in the games room.  I started dismantling the tote setup before remembering to take a picture.  The wire racks on top of the totes hung from hooks on the rack.  Five larger plastic shoe box containers sat along the back of the top tote with a few odds and ends in front and four medium sized plastic containers on top of the shoe boxes.  The immediate problem was having to move everything to get into the lower tote.  The second problem was food easily became hidden ergo the potential for spoilage.  I decided that a one storage locker of some sort would be an excellent solution.

new pantry filled
Last Wednesday I went to Jysk which is a bed, bath, and home store similar to IKEA but on a very smaller scale.  They had a one door pantry on sale for $59.99.  I had a couple of specifications I was looking for aside of size.  There had to be a back on pantry and I wanted the door to close in such a manner that there were no gaps a mouse could get through.  I found that the pantry at Jysk would work nicely.

I brought the pantry home and my husband put it together that evening.  The pantry measures 15¾" W x 16" D x 70½ H.  It  has three adjustable shelves plus the bottom shelf.  The door fits inside the frame ensuring no gaps wherIe a mouse could get in.  I may put a snap strap on the door just to be sure there is no give.  The back is smooth so there shouldn't be any leverage for a mouse to chew through either. 

I immediately started organizing the new pantry cabinet that night, surprised at how much the unit held.  All three plastic storage totes were removed from the pantry freeing up a surprising amount of space both physically and visually.  What I really like is I can immediately see what is in the cabinet. 

The new pantry cabinet gives a nice sleek look to that small bit of wall space.  It takes up less floor space than the two totes did plus I gained that storge space on the east wall unit for more filled boxes of home canned foods.  There is now another pail on top of the two pails to the left of the cabinet. 

I spent a bit of time the next couple of days tidying and organizing but there is still more I would like to do.  The window well is about a foot deep so I could gain more storage space by hanging mini blinds in place of the curtains.  It would be a good spot for some items that aren't used a lot.  There is room over the small freezer (south wall from where picture was taken) where a small cabinet or open shelving could hang.  I also need to find a new storage location for the drying and cooling racks but that is minor.  

At this point, all food in the pantry is protected by glass, metal, plastic and now the cabinet.  The exception is one squash and a half bag of potatoes so I need to make a rodent proof storage locker for holding these types of foods.  If a rodent were to get in which is unlikely given the measures we have taken but with our location (farm field behind) still a possibility, I can rest assured it won't get fed!   The pantry is on the lower lever so partially below grade.  Our house is in a location where flooding is possible.  While we have a sump pump and back-up sump pump system (runs on municipal water), I took the extra precaution of storing in glass and plastic as much as possible.  Insects have not been a huge problem other than carpenter ants graciously left behind by the former owner's woodpile but the exterminator took care of that problem as well.  I am rather pleased with this as it is surprisingly more difficult to keep all the foods stored in a pantry protected.   Any food stored in mason jars that could be affected by moisture (humidity) is vacuum sealed.  I am rather pleased I have been able to get the pantry to this stage of preparedness. 

I'm gearing up for the heavy canning season just around the corner.  I've been testing out the 4ever Recap canning lids while getting enough things like stocks and dried beans canned to last until the end of the heavy canning.  I'm also working on emptying one of the freezers for our 2013 beef on the hoof purchase and prepping for our vacation home plans this year which is looking to be over two months total there.  I'm also trying to finish up a bit of the inside decor before turning my attention to outdoor landscaping and gardening.  It's busy times here but all in all very enjoyable!

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