Your kitchen is the place where you spend a large chunk of your time rustling up meals for your family and friends. One of the key factors in quick and easy cooking is to know where you can find any ingredient for a recipe. Having all the ingredients in hand, helps in cutting down the cooking time to almost half. Imagine, you are all excited about trying out a new recipe, but you have to spend 15 to 20 minutes in finding and gathering the ingredients and required utensils in the kitchen. You will be all frustrated and annoyed by the time you have gathered the ingredients and will lose all inclination to cook. This is where an organized and well stocked kitchen pantry comes in useful. A kitchen pantry can fulfill all your requirements for storing dry food stuffs and other miscellaneous stuff that you cannot store in the refrigerator. From cans of tomatoes, pickles and sauces to super-sized packs of pastas and rice, you can store anything and everything in the pantry. You can even store wine bottles and pots and pans that are too big to fit into your kitchen cabinets in the pantry.
Ideas for Designing a Kitchen Pantry
There are many kitchen pantry design ideas that you can choose from, according to your family's needs and the dimension of your kitchen. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
Walk-in Pantry or Freestanding Pantry
The first thing to remember while designing a kitchen pantry is to consider how much space you can allocate for the kitchen pantry. The kitchen pantry can be as large as a small room (known as walk-in pantry) or as small as a compact bookcase. It all depends upon how much space you can allocate for it. Normally, a kitchen pantry is just next to the kitchen or is an extension of the kitchen. This makes sense, since having the pantry near the kitchen will help you in streamlining your time for prepping your meal and also help you to keep a track of things that need replenishment. Good kitchen pantry designs are those where the space has a relatively cool temperature, with low humidity, low light and also good air circulation.
Shelves and Cabinets
Next decide on the kind of shelves and kitchen cabinets you would like to install. Installing sturdy wood shelves along with overhead cabinets for storing unused china are smart kitchen pantry ideas. Make the shelves wide, but not too deep, because you will have difficulty reaching for the ingredients. For greater flexibility and ease of storing ingredients, install adjustable-height storage shelves. These shelves with adjustable-height comes in useful for storing large and irregular shaped items. Use the space above the pantry cabinets to store wine bottles by installing a wine rack. If you have a very small kitchen, then one of the smartest kitchen storage idea is to opt for a pullout pantry.
Another smart kitchen storage idea is to invest in large wicker baskets that can be placed under the shelves. These baskets can be use for storing root vegetables like potatoes, sweet potatoes and also onions and garlic. The hard to reach corner cabinets can be used for storing essential non-food items like candles, baskets, serving trays, light bulbs etc.
Utilizing Pantry Space
One of the best kitchen pantry ideas is to store frequently used food items at an eye level in the shelf and also group ingredients from favorite recipes together to save time. Use every inch of space available for storage. You can install a recessed shelf on the back of the pantry door for holding spice bottles and containers. Installing hanging racks for storing your delicate and expensive stemware is also one of the most innovative ideas for organizing a kitchen pantry. This way they are safe and are also out of reach from children.
Ideas for Organizing Your Kitchen Pantry
Just having a great kitchen pantry is not enough if you don't know how to organize and store your kitchen staples. A messy and disorganized pantry is an eyesore, and worse you will never be able to find an item you need quickly.
Appraise the Contents
The first thing that you need to do is take stock of all the food items that you have got. Separate items into two categories; those that you use frequently and those that you do not use very often. Throw away any expired cans and bottles.
Clean out Shelves and Cabinets
If you have not decluttered your pantry for a long time, then your shelves might be dusty and dirty. Clean the shelves thoroughly with a dry cloth to dislodge dirt and crumbs. Next wipe the shelves with a damp cloth and allow the shelves to dry. Finally, line the shelves with kitchen liner.
Store Food Smartly
Food items that are used frequently, like cooking oil, flour, salt and tinned tomatoes should be stacked at waist level for easy access. Items that are used less frequently like canned fish and pickles should be stored on lower shelves. Store spices in carefully labeled, airtight tins or jars which are transparent. These jars of spices can be stored on the inside door of the pantry. Lightweight food items, such as packets of cereals and pasta, are perfect for stacking on the higher shelves.
To make pantry design ideas work, you need to plan carefully and think creatively. There are many small kitchen pantry ideas for those of you who do not have the space for a walk-in pantry. The next best thing to do in such a situation is to create extra shelves for storage in the kitchen and install hooks for storing more items. Whether your kitchen is a tiny space in your one bedroom apartment, or a large sprawling one, you can fit in a kitchen pantry with a bit of planning and ingenuity.