Anyone who has cooked Indian food will know the sheer number of ingredients and spices that go in making a single dish! Due to the nature of Indian cooking; a spacious kitchen and storage space or pantry was essential for me when we were house hunting. Luckily, we totally hit the jackpot with this home on that count. With lots of counterspace for all our appliances and a pantry under the stairs for all our supplies- we’re eating so many more home cooked meals! So, here I am with a blog on a perfectly organised Indian Pantry
My first step was to organise all the different lentils and flours that we use on an everyday basis. Being vegetarian, lentils are a high source of protein for us and I make it a point to make a lentil soup or curry every 2-3 days. I bought Ikea containers for all the lentils and different rice (puffed rice, basmatic rice, jasmine rice, quinoa etc). These are plastic -but not the cheap quality, air tight, clear- so they are perfect to display all those colourful lentils and best of all- totally reasonably priced!
I, then was on the lookout for flour containers. I was obsessing over the Martha Stewart tin collection, unfortunately at $25 a piece, it was pretty pricey! That is, until Thanksgiving Sales (!!) where they were half price from Macy’s and I grabbed 5 of them for the pantry. While $11.99 is still pretty expensive for a container, I cannot emphasise just how beautiful these look in the pantry and they are the perfect size to fit an entire bag of flour. I just figured I would spend a little on these beauties and then cheap out on other containers 🙂
My next step was to find a practical and pretty way to organise all the different spices that I use. Many Indian spices come in larger bags and I just needed to get rid of those pesky plastic bags. Previously, I’d just remove as much as I needed in my spice box and then leave the leftovers in their original bags in a basket. But with the luxury of a pantry, I bought air tight mason jars from Walmart (on sale) and emptied the contents of the spices in the jars. They look so much neater and so organised! I then added personalised kraft stickers from Evermine to all the jars just for that extra prettiness!
After organising the main contents of the pantry- flour, spices, lentils, rice, canned tins and pasta; I used leftover shelf space to organise the smaller foods and packets into baskets from Target and the Dollar Tree. Instead of buying larger baskets and dumping all foods in that, I found it helpful to categorise my foods and then add each to the appropriate (smaller) baskets. For example, Dry fruits in one basket, then ready-to-eat food packets (totally useful for days when you’re just too lazy to cook!) in another basket and so on…I haven’t added label tags to each basket but I’m sure will get there eventually. Until then, I have captioned the image to let you all know how I categorised the baskets!
Same way, I used the Dollar Tree baskets as fruit baskets- some people prefer to mix all their fruits together but I find that fruits stay fresh for longer when not mixed with other fruits and this is especially true in the case of bananas! Finally, after organising all the containers and baskets, I placed them on the shelves in the most practical and space saving way. The images below show the final look of the pantry from both sides.
While organising the pantry may seem a lot of work, all it really takes is picking the right containers to store food and the rest will just follow. Picking the right containers can drastically help in saving space even when you have a small kitchen and less cabinet room! Ultimately, finding what works best for you and testing different ideas is key to keeping your kitchen organised.
Complete this look: (All prices are current retail prices)
Lentil & Rice Containers $3.99 each – Ikea
Flour Containers $11.99 each- Macy’s
Spice Jars (Pack of 12) $7.68- Walmart
Personalised Spice Jar Stickers (40 labels) $17.98 – Evermine
Black and White Tray Baskets $3.99 each- Target
Fruit Baskets $1.00- Dollar Tree