An Ode to my Larder
November 5, 2023
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I promised back in July that I’d write the follow-up to the Kitchen Essentials blog with an entry about my larder and so, a few months later, here it is!
The first question you may be asking yourself is, “what IS a larder?”
A larder is a cupboard, a cabinet, a closet or a room, usually near the kitchen, where dry goods are kept. Some people around here call them “canning closets” or the often-used “pantry” or “kitchen closet” or “provision room”. My larder/pantry is essential to my home and the most-visited room in my house (yep, my teenager is in there grabbing snacks even more than going to the restroom!). I’m going to share a few of my essentials for home storage in the blog post because I believe in order to run your kitchen most efficiently you need organization and a place to store all the things.
The first few items on my list are HOLDING items. When I bring items home from the grocery store I take them from the cardboard boxes and place them in storage containers. I use all sizes of Ball’s cans - you can easily store them, stack them and see what’s in them. I use them for pasta, oatmeal, flour, sugar, spices and all my baking goods. These one-gallon jars I use for flour, oatmeal, granola, sugar and cornmeal. They are simply amazing and have lasted years and years.
These smaller jars I use for spices, pasta and baking goods I don't need in such large quantities. These 4-ounce jars are perfect for dried spices and I just write the names of the spices on top. You can easily tell what you have and what you need, especially if you keep them alphebetized.
Here are some bigger jars I keep pasta and chocolate chips in:
You'll notice I try to keep large mouth jars on hand. There's a reason for it, actually. When you use these jars for storage you start using them for all kinds of storage (like freezing) and when you freeze you should always freeze liquids in wide mouth jars because the regular most jars can't allow the liquids to expand as they defrost and your jars will shatter which creates a terrible mess (ask me how I found that out). So I always recommend just buying wide mouth jars and lids. That way you don't have to look through all the inventory to find the lid you need for the jar you're using. Just use all the same size if you can (the 4-ounce will be regular mouth but since you'll use the same spice each time you don't have to replace them).
The next thing I think you’ll need that I LOVE is my label maker (insert all the Seinfeld memories here of Elaine Benes and her label baby). I have had several of these Brothers label makers and always had good luck with them. I put labels on the shelves of my pantry to remind people where things go and that way I can easily see when I need to buy more potato chips, crackers, oatmeal, etc.
I also have buckets. Yeah, I know that sounds weird. But I do have buckets that sit in the floor for bags of chips and canned drink holders. Each week I have multiple groups of kids of varying ages at the house. I teach some, a friend teaches some and sometimes they just come to hang out so that means I need snacks ready and ready to travel to the barn, field, tractor or just outside on the porch. Having one bucket filled with snack-sized bags of chips and another for ice-cold drinks makes it easy to grab and carry and keeps the muddy boots out of my kitchen. Also these particular buckets can hold ice for the drinks. This is perfect for all the get-togethers, classes, hang times, bonfires, etc.
I have trays I use for things that might spill or drip, like oils, vinegars, honey and molasses. This way I’m just cleaning a tray instead of the floor. It just makes things easier.
And these baskets I have specifically for potatoes. (We eat a lot of potatoes people.)
And this is something I love. It’s a moveable shelf that hangs down from the fixed shelf above it for little things like plastic wraps or grab-n-go granola bars.
And then this - this is something I have loved since I bought it last year. It’s an organizer for different storage bags. I LOVE it! I can’t say enough good things about this organizer. (And yes, I know how old that makes me sound, but I am turning 50 this week so. . .)
And those are my holding and organizing items I use. Beyond that it’s mostly food items. My larder holds dry pasta, rice, any boxed cereal (rare) and my homemade granola cereal (which is amazing and easy and can be found on here as well as in the cookbook - seriously I make it probably once a week and it’s a fantastic substitute for boxed cereal which is not healthy at all and usually a sugar bomb). I also use the larder for my canned goods and condiments. (I do keep my most-used spices in a drawer beside my stovetop.) Y’all know I love this mayonnaise:
And this mustard is the very best around. It's also the secret ingredient when people say, "what's in this that makes it so good?":
And this crunchy garlic for all my noodle bowls (I need to make an important announcement here - this crunchy garlic is SO GOOD! But - and this is the important bit - you must serve it on top of everyone's bowl because you all must smell like garlic or it will be super awkward):
Okay! That’s probably enough of my ramblings about my most-used room in the house. I hope you click on a few of these and check them out for yourself. I really do believe they've all helped me become more organized and efficient in my kitchen.