Joy the Baker

Pantry Check!

August 9, 2010

Clean Your Plate Pancakes

Wait… the title of this post almost looks like Panty Check… doesn’t it?  Awkward.

I’m going to ask you a question and I want you to be honest with me.

If you turned over your little container of baking powder and read the expiration date, might it say “Best If Used By January 2005″?

It’s ok.  You can tell me.  I have no judgements.

I ask because I found such a container in my pantry just yesterday.  2005!?  Geeeez.

Aaahh… aged baking powder.  As lovely as a fine wine… right?  Wrong.  Nope.  Silly.  No way.

Fresh baking powder and fresh baking soda is pretty essential to baking.  All that magical lift needs to be fresh.  It’s no joke.  Expired leavening ingredients can ruin your baked goods and leaving you scratching your head in wonder.

Clean Your Plate Pancakes

Because I found such ancient baking powder in my pantry I thought now might be a good time to boss you around.

Wait… how does that work out?

Let’s go through our pantries and freshen things up!  Mostly because I said so…. and it’s a good idea.

Clean Your Plate Pancakes

How long have you had that bag of all-purpose flour?  Do you keep it in a well sealed container or sealed up in the fridge?  Keep little critters out by double sealing  the flour or keeping it critter proof in the fridge.  In the fridge, all-purpose flour will last for about two years.  In an airtight container at room temperature, your flour will keep for a solid year.  Yay!

How is your brown sugar livin’?  Crusty brown sugar is such a bummer.  Keep it sealed in an airtight container to make sure it stays soft and moist .  Some people throw a slice of bread in with their brown sugar.  It’s supposed to become stale before the sugar does.  Pro tip.

Cast Iron

I love my cast iron skillet.  It can handle everything from scrambled eggs to a tarte tatin.  I bet it could also whack someone on the head in case of emergency.

Yea… I think about these things.

Do you have a cast iron skillet?  Season that sucker!

Simon Bakes

What going on with your oil?  Have you given it a good sniff lately?  If you store you oils on or very near your stove, there is a chance that they’ve passed their prime.  Rancid.  Ick.  Give them a big sniff and if you smell anything just the slightest bit off or stale, just replace it!

My nut oils… because I’m the kind of girl with nut oils… I keep in the fridge.

Carrot Cake Pancakes

Your nuts.  How old are those things?  Keep your nuts in an airtight container, at room temperature, out of direct sunlight for up to three months.

Ok?  Thanks.

Drippy Vanilla

I don’t have a problem with stale vanilla extract… it’s just that I can’t seem to keep enough of the stuff on hand.  Good heavens.  You’d think I drink it in the middle of the night or something.

Now I just make my own vanilla extract.  You should too… but maybe that just me being bossy again.

So!

Will you check your pantry?

If nothing else… just give that 13 year old baking powder a one way ticket to garbage town.

Amen.


105 Comments Add A Comment

  • Yup!!! Good thing to do!!! I think this pantry cleanse also works for the medicine cabinet. I found myself debating about whether to give my kids some expired product and, after doing a reality check and feeling appalled at myself, sorted everything and threw away TONS. Could not believe the stuff I had been holding on to.

  • Oh my – the only time my pantry is gone through is when I move! You made good points…i should do this more often.

  • Yes, according to my mother, a cast iron skillet is perfect for protecting yourself. Just sayin.’

  • Ever since the time I ate my yummy tofu burger dinner only to discover later, while washing up that the flour I had rolled them in was wriggling because it was weevil infested!!!… I keep my flour in the fridge and ignore the use by date. That includes wholemeal, rye, plain, self-raising, wholemeal self-raising, buckwheat, soy flours, all my seeds and pasta… I barely have room for anything else in my fridge… but at least I’m eating weevil free food. Ugh!!!!!

    I ignore the use by date on honey though. Apparently they found some honey in Tutenkhamun’s tomb and it’s still edible – that’s good enough proof for me.

  • Stop making me feel guilty! I’ll go clean out my pantry and season my stuff ok ? :)

  • I really need to do this. My mom and grandmother were notorious for using expired products. I can’t turn into them!

  • Awesome. A few weeks ago, I went to make muffins (from your maple pecan recipe!) and I was out of buttermilk – no worries, mixed the lemon juice and milk. Then I couldn’t find the baking powder. Anywhere. It turned out my boyfriend had noticed the expiration date (2004-2005 perhaps?) and had chucked it. No muffins for him that morning! Eventually I the refreshed my supply (took a while since they don’t carry it at Trader Joe’s), stocked up on buttermilk, and your muffins were a hit.

  • I think your baking powder is ok, the danger is that it won’t work as well as fresh one. I’m a bit like that too, I like to store up many products “for later” so I end up with full cupboards. But it doesnt matter since we use them anyway!

  • I saw something from Wilton that says you should throw out your opened baking powder after 9 months, the expiration date is only if it stays sealed the whole time.

  • Don’t you all wonder how it is that a little something always seems to slip behind something bigger in your pantry and you find it years later, feeling that you knew it all along that it was somewhere… I know, I should be more careful.
    I keep the nuts in the fridge, better be safe than sorry, just a little bit of stale nut has very unpleasant consequences.

  • My spices are due for a cleanout :)

    I was looking through my grandmother’s medicine cabinet and found four tubes of expired antibacterial gel. I also found “Alum” in a McCormick tin, which means it was At Least 15 years old, and probably a lot older than that! They refused to throw it out, because they still use it!

    I was baking in a friend’s kitchen, and threw away his vanilla extract. Old extract is great, but if it doesn’t smell like vanilla, then it will not taste any good.

  • I keep my opened brown sugar in the freezer, it stays fresh that way and it defrosts in minutes just sitting on the counter… My nuts stay in the freezer too, don’t like rancid nuts! And I am totally making homemade vanilla extract, it looks awesome!

  • I found a tin of custard powder in the back of my pantry last week stamped “Best Before 20-9-1977″. I was born in 1986, we moved into this house in 1994, so I’m pretty sure that makes no sense on any level…

  • I threw out a bunch of expired stuff when I was packing to move. It felt amazing.

  • Isn’t there a test you can do with baking powder involving dissolving it in water? If it bubbles up violently then it’s still good. …right?

    Wei-Wei

    • Yes. But, it should bubble up aggressively.

      Technically baking powder won’t actually lose it’s functionality as long as it has never come in touch with moisture. So, even if it is expired, it will still work as long as you’ve stored it properly.
      Christina.

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