Cleaning out your Pantry

It's that time of year where I begin to finish up my loose ends and prepare for the new year that seems to be approaching at the speed of light.  This practice takes many forms, I finish half started books, file all the loose ends piled in my physical inbox, bottle the dried herbs I've harvested, cull through my calendar to find ideas I jotted down and want to follow through on, and a new much needed task: clean out my pantry.  

Through out the year I organize my pantry in terms of glass jars that I buy at the grocery, think pickles, canned goods, think tuna fish and coconut milk, and bulk dried goods which I store in glass jars.  Of course the crackers and rice cakes and nut butters are in there, with the occasional Larabar and dark chocolate and sea salt treat.  I like to be able to see what I need and what I have at a relatively quick glance, it makes preparing for the grocery store so much easier and cost effective.  

I recently cleaned my pantry out for my first whole 30.  I took all the dried grains and legumes out.  Anything with sugar had to go.  The cheez-its I bought in a moment of snacking weakness = gone.  My pantry was empty.  I realized how good it felt to have a clean slate.  It made me think twice about cluttering up my pantry with various sundry items, that would eventually make their way into my body.  Clean pantry=clean body.  So now I am adding this practice to my repertoire of healthy habits in the kitchen.  

Think twice about cluttering your pantry with various sundry items.  Clean Pantry=Clean body.

Please understand that I am not advocating to throw away food that you have.  I am suggesting that you take it all off the shelves.  Clean those shelves.  Look at what you have, is it something that serves your bigger purpose in the kitchen, whatever that may be?  Organize the food.  Donate, what you don't want to eat, to a shelter or a canned food drive.  As you put what you are going to keep back in the pantry, keep track of what you have, on paper or in your mind, so that the next time your at the grocery store you don't buy more of what you already have.  This is a great opportunity to save some money.  Use up what you have in the pantry.  Research recipes that use ingredients you already have.  

This task requires you to take stock of what you have already, a close examination is always an eye opening experience.  I found lots of random things that I really never use but had purchased for a one off recipe like the jar of dried currants I bought for stuffed zucchini I made over the summer.  So I am adding dried currants to stir fry's and salads in an attempt to use them all up.  Anyone got a good recipe with dried currants in it?  I'd love some new ideas.