When's the last time you cleaned out your pantry?
For me, that question didn't come soon enough. We have such easy access to fresh ingredients from our local supermarket, deli, and Wholefoods that we tend to ignore all of the items lining our pantry. It's an incredibly well-stocked area, thanks to my husband's 'stockpile' mentality. He's not quite as bad as the end-of-the-world types who have five years' worth of canned beans and tuna at the ready, but he's not far off.
For the most part, this is fine. It's nice to have another bottle of ketchup at the ready when we give up pounding on the bottom of the current one and chuck it out. Unfortunately, I discovered the downside of this stockpiling two days ago... on Thanksgiving.
I had decided to make apple crumble for dessert and add oatmeal to the recipe. So, there I am, assembling the ingredients, and when it's time to add the oats, I pick up the container, open it up, and "AAAAUUGGHHH!!!" There was a whole ecosystem of bugs in there!! So gross. So I threw that out, and thought, "Well.. this is where it comes in handy to have a stockpile of food in the pantry!"
Smugly, I picked up the spare container of oatmeal, fully sealed as it had never been opened before. I peeled back the plastic, plucked open the lid, and, "AAAAAAAAAAAAAUUUUUUUUGHHHHHHHHHHH!!!" THIS one was even worse than the first!! There seriously were at least 3 different kinds of creatures in there.
Luckily, my recipe didn't call for oatmeal- it was just something I was thinking would be nice to add. I did, nonetheless, decide to add 'cleaning the pantry out' to my list of things to do this weekend. Sure enough, there were weevils in the rice, some of the noodles, ant critters in the popcorn (don't know how they got through the plastic, but they did!), and one fat spider enjoying it all.
The moral of the story: Don't keep too much stuff in the pantry that you never use!
Next, we'll be tackling the freezer. Does anyone know how long is too long for meat left in the freezer? :-)