Ina Garten is a fan of organization, from her extensive dinner party planning, to her tidy kitchen workspace. The Barefoot Contessa star shared some of her tips for organizing a refrigerator and pantry that can help reduce clutter and ensure ingredients don’t go to waste.
Ina Garten shared how she connected with her fans
When Garten spoke with Domino’s Design Time podcast in November 2020, she was asked about how she connected with people during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic by sharing, of all things, what she keeps in her pantry.
She said she thought that “maybe on Instagram, I could ask people what problems they’re having with the white beans that are in their pantry that they don’t know what to do with,” she explained. “So I just posted a picture of my pantry and the response was just astonishing! It was so warm and so heartfelt… They bought all these staples but didn’t know what to do with them.”
The Barefoot Contessa star found that giving fans some advice provided “a real connection to people that was very satisfying.” She explained, “And then I started thinking, ‘Well maybe I’ll make something every day and post it and then people will know what to do with what they have.’ And it became not just a conversation, but it became kind of a helpline for everybody. It gave me purpose and order every day.”
The ‘Barefoot Contessa’ star shared her tips for refrigerator organization
When the interviewer asked Garten how she organizes her refrigerator and pantry, she offered some easy tips that make a big difference.
Her past career as the owner of a specialty food store gave her an appreciation for organizing shelves and inventory. In her home, Garten organizes milk and dairy on one side at the top of the refrigerator, has eggs stored neatly on another side, and puts her vegetables in a clear drawer. She also offered some tips for keeping produce fresh — by wrapping carrots in a damp paper towel and storing them in a ziplock bag and trimming asparagus and standing it in a glass of water.
She also puts reusable containers to good use in her refrigerator and freezer. “I have a lot of, what I would call deli containers. Pint, half-pint, and quart containers. And I just use them over and over again, and they go in the dishwasher, and they’re great,” she explained, noting that she labels the containers she stores in the freezer.
Garten has pantry organization tips, too
In her pantry, Garten shared that a little organization goes a long way so she knows what’s in her inventory. “I have like-minded things together. All the oils and vinegars together,” she explained. “I have all of the sweet things, like honey and Karo syrup and molasses, all of those are together. All of the pastas are together, the grains are together, chocolate and vanilla and things like that, the baking supplies are together. I have them grouped.”
The Barefoot Contessa star continued, “I have a pretty big pantry, you know, I cook more than most people do, so I can’t make a shopping list if I don’t know where everything is. Otherwise, I keep buying the same vanilla over and over again and one day I realize I have 12 things of vanilla!”
Garten is also a fan of keeping some of her ingredients on the countertop at room temperature so that they’re within reach when she’s cooking. She shared that some things, like eggs and lemons, are better at room temperature. “It’s not just decorative, it actually is purposeful.”
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