Monday, March 2, 2009

5 reasons to dig into your pantry

Over the past few weeks the fact that people are digging into their pantries (and freezers and fridges) more often to create their meals has become obvious to me. The Wall Street Journal had a piece about the sale of food being down, and attributed part of it to people using up what they have instead of buying new.

I saw two blogs over the weekend that talked about using up what you have, too. The Green Phone Booth had a post called Eating Out the Cupboards that chronicled one woman using up the stuff in her cupboards for a week and making brownies and pizzas from stuff that might have otherwise gone bad.

On La Vida Locavore blogger Jill Richardson made Pot Luck a.k.a. Let's Clean Out the Fridge.

Maybe it's time we all started digging into our food stores and using what we have. Here's five good reasons why.
  1. You'll waste less food. Food waste is a big environmental problem.  Whenever you waste food, you also waste all of the water, resources, and fuel that went into growing, processing and transporting the food. 
  2. You'll get to flex your creative culinary muscles. Figuring out how to use that can of black beans that you bought for a recipe that you never made (and now don't remember what it was) can help you discover all new recipes.
  3. There's a good chance you'll eat a little healthier. Let's face it, you've probably got some dried whole grains in your cupboard that you bought with good intentions, but passed over when you chose to make something a little less healthy. Chances are a good deal of the foods you pass over are healthier ones. At least that happens frequently in my family. 
  4. You'll get your cupboards, fridge, and freezer cleaned out. Once they are a little less full, you can refill them with more healthy foods. For some ideas on healthy, organic foods that won't break your budget, check out this post I did over at MNN on how you can afford some organics.
  5. And speaking of budgets, if you use foods you already have, you won't need to spend so much on groceries. At least for a while. It can help you lower your weekly food bill for several weeks, and you can save some much needed cash.

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catalangardener said...

I've been doing this for the last month in a bid to save money and reduce food waste.

It's been great to have an excuse to find new recipes too as its easy to get stuck in a culinary rut!

Green Bean said...

You lay out all the benefits very nicely. Especially like the mention of flexing our culinary muscles. I would never had found some new favorite recipes had I not been cleaning out our food stores.

thewholegang said...

I love your many reasons besides just saving money for eating what we already have. This is definitely a hot topic as I just posted on this same topic on the 21st. My goal is to get folks to plan their menu starting with what's on hand. It would be fun to see what the most creative meal people can make with their ingredients.

Linda said...

I plan on doing this in March because my husband has to take a week off without pay. We'll need to cut costs and I figure I can save food money this way. Your other points are good reasons too.

Robin Shreeves said...

Looks like this post brought out some new commenters. Glad to have you all here. It also looks like this is a subject worth giving more attention to. I'll see what else I can do with it. said...

I have to credit my mother for teaching us back in the 70s how to live a bit more frugally in tough times. Every time my dad's union went on strike we had Clean out the Freezer & Fridge events. At the time I dreaded them (I hate lima beans, which I swear she only saved for these "events" and nicknamed them "humble beans"), but having been taught to make do with what you have has saved my single-mom butt more times than I can count! :)