Spring Cleaning For Your Pantry

Now that you’ve reorganized the linen closet and cleaned out the refrigerator, it’s time to look in the pantry. If you’re afraid to even open the door, it’s definitely time for some spring cleaning in there. Take inventory to see what canned goods are hiding at the back of your shelves, and find a way to use them up before the labels fade. Here are some simple ideas for how to use canned goods up quickly.

Canned Corn

Corn has a crisp texture and nutty flavour that makes it a great substitute for fresh corn in almost all recipes.

Keep On Your Shelf: 2 to 5 years.

Use Up Quickly In: Cornbread, fritters, chili, you name it.


Canned fruits such as peaches are sweet, firm and uniform in size and flavour.

Keep On Your Shelf: 12 to 18 months.

Use Up Quickly In: Blend in sauces or use in desserts, such as pies and cobblers.

Condensed Milk

Sweetened Condensed Milk is significantly thicker and sweeter than regular milk, and has a buttery taste.

Keep On Your Shelf: 12 months

Use Up Quickly In: Pie fillings and dessert puddings. Condensed milk can be made into a caramel spread by boiling the entire can in water, unopened, keeping the can completely submerged for 4 hours. Mix condensed milk with a spoon or two of instant coffee powder as a spread on toast, for a morning jolt.

Cans of Beans

Canned beans are a great source of fibre and protein and can be used in a variety of dishes to add heartiness.

Keep On Your Shelf: 2 to 5 years

Use Up Quickly In: Soups, stews, salads and dips- the same way you’d use soaked dried beans.

Canned Fish

Salmon or tuna should be packed in olive oil, as opposed to water; they’ll then be moister and more flavourful.

Keep On Your Shelf: 2 to 5 years

Use Up Quickly In: Commonly used in sandwiches and wraps, both are great in salads and sauces as well.

Coconuts Milk

Coconut milk should not to be confused with coconut juice, which is the liquid that is strained after steeping desiccated coconut in boiling water.

Keep On Your Shelf: 2 years

Use Up Quickly In: Used mostly as a base in sauces and soups in Asian cuisine. Look for the thicker variety, usually labelled as premium coconut milk, for desserts.


Canned chipotles are dried and smoked jalapeno chiles, usually packed in adobo sauce (sauce of ground chiles, spices, and vinegar). It has a darker and more intense flavour than fresh jalapeno.

Keep On Your Shelf: 12 to18 months

Use Up Quickly In: Their smoky, sweet and complex heat makes them perfect for sauces and stews.


Tapioca is derived from fresh cassava root. It’s essentially flavourless and odourless, making it a great thickening agent that does not interfere with the taste of the dish.

Keep On Your Shelf: 12 months

Use Up Quickly In: Puddings, pie fillings and soups.

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