Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Minimizing My Pantry: Oil and Vinegar

The oils I had in my pantry before minimizing.
 Back in January, an article by Mark Bittman* in the NY Times about decluttering one's pantry caught my attention, and I've been saving it as a reference for when I reorganized the pantry which had been on my "to do" list. This week I finally got around to purging my pantry following his advice and advice of others that have blogged about the Minimalist Pantry. 

I took everything out of the pantry and put it on the bed in the guest bedroom (we're not expecting guests this week).  Then I started categorizing everything and in this post I will discuss oils and vinegars.

I had seven different vinegars, most of which had been used perhaps once for a special recipe.  My vinegars were tarragon, apple cider (2 bottles), champagne wine, rice, red wine, white vinegar and balsamic (2 bottles).

The seven different kinds of vinegar in my pantry before purging. 
Bittman* suggests two vinegars: balsamic and sherry vinegar.  I use balsamic a lot so naturally I saved it, and I kept the champagne wine vinegar as a substitute for the sherry vinegar.  But I have put sherry vinegar on my grocery list.  A good balsamic vinegar is Trader Joe’s Gold Quality Balsamic Vinegar of Modena.  The remaining vinegars I gave to Wayne, Bea's husband, who cooks a lot of special dishes.  We do keep a large bottle of white vinegar to use as a cleaning product, but this is kept with cleaning supplies.  That's all we ever use to mop our hardwood floors. 

Balsamic vinegar.

White vinegar for cleaning.
The oils in my pantry.

The oils were more numerous---nine. I had extra virgin olive, canola (3 bottles), sesame, coconut, roasted walnut, roasted hazel nut, roasted pistachio, black truffle olive oil, and peanut.  The roasted oils were in a set---a Christmas gift.  I'm keeping extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), the truffle flavored olive oil (great for drizzling on mashed potatoes),canola for cooking, and the three roasted oils.  After I have pared this down by use, I will keep only EVOO and canola on a regular basis.  When buying olive oil, make certain it was pressed in the last 18 months---freshness is important.   I will refrain from buying flavored oils that I am likely to use only once in a recipe.  
Kirkland's (Costco brand) Toscano is our favorite olive oil.
This is great for drizzling on mashed potatoes in place of butter.  Tastier and healthier.
Flavored oils, a gift from a friend.

My oil and vinegar shelf now looks minimal. 

Stay tuned to see how I pare down other ingredients in the pantry.

* Check out Mark Bittman's article here.

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