One of my New Year's resolutions for 2009 is to rid my kitchen of useless clutter. Just in time, the New York Times has an article on clearing your pantry and refrigerator shelves of those long-standing items that either you don't need or that taste better fresh. I was truly fascinated by the list of ingredients that should be replaced or thrown away for ever and ever...
Here are a few items that the article suggests to replace/discard:
1. Packaged bread crumbs
Why? Bread crumbs are easy to make as needed (toasted in oven or cooked in olive oil) and taste so much better.
2. Boullion cubes, powder, or canned stock
Why? A carrot simmered with celery stalk and half an onion in two cups of water for 10 minutes is monumentally more tasty than industrialized versions. Hallelujah! I HATE the taste of canned stock.
3. Bottled salad dressing
Why? It's cheaper and (most of the time) more healthy to make your own using oil, vinegar, and lemon juice whisked with such ingredients as dried herbs, salt, pepper, Dijon, garlic, soy, noney, etc.
4. Spices older than a year
Why? I've always heard you should throw away spices older than a year. But this can get expensive. According to the article, you can discard of spices if and when they smell musty.
5. Canned beans
Why? This was news to me. Apparently, dried beans are cheaper, more tasty, and come in different varieties. True, they take longer to cook, but the article suggests you make a large amount all at one time and freeze smaller portions in a little bit of water.
6. Canned vegetables
Why? Because frozen vegetables taste so much better.
7. Tomato paste in a can
Why? I hate opening a whole can, especially when I only need a few tablespoons of paste. If you use the version in the tube, you can use only as much as you need and save the rest for later.