Three ways to rotate your canned food storage

Three ways to rotate your canned food storage

You've got your food storage and don't want to waste any of it. You'll want to rotate it as you eat from and restock your inventory. With varying time frames that depend on the type of food and packaging, it's easy to forget when foods expire. By rotating your food storage and keeping the dates nearing expiration at the front, you set yourself up for zero waste. Even better, you'll eat your food at its freshness and highest nutritional value. Yum.

There are a few different ways to do this.

Our favorite:
Take from the front
If your shelves are deep enough to store multiple rows of food, put the newest items in the back and move the older items to the front. This is known as the "first in, first out" method. It ensures the oldest can is always in the front, and nothing gets lost in the back. The easiest way to start using this method is to have canned food storage shelves that automatically do the rotation for you. All you have to do is load the new cans in the front as you get them, and the shelf does the rest.

Take from the right
If your shelves are shallow, a great way to keep your canned food organized and see your entire inventory is to use risers. Typically, 2 or 3 levels fit on most shelves. To use the "take from the right" approach, you put the newest cans in place furthest to the left. When you take your food, you always take it from the rightmost position. When you reload, you push all the food to the right and load the new on the left. As long as you don't confuse your left and right, this method implements the FIFO, first in, first out way.

If pushing cans isn't your thing, there's a smaller rotating shelf that fits smaller and shallow cupboards.

Do it in bulk
You can swap your canned goods in bulk if you have a larger pantry and secondary storage location. Instead of putting the entire stock of an item in your pantry at once, only bring in a specific amount and leave the rest in your other storage location. Once you've used all the stock from your pantry, restock with the same amount from your storage. For example, let's say you eat 10 cans of beans each month. Instead of putting all 30 cans in your pantry and then having to rotate them all when you buy new ones, create three containers in your secondary storage that each hold 10 cans. When the 10 cans in your pantry run out, you get one of your containers of 10 from your secondary storage and place it in your pantry. When you purchase more, you restock the location you pulled from. That way, you're rotating 3 containers instead of all 30 cans. Just remember to organize your secondary storage items with the oldest in front and the newest in back to maintain a first in, first out method.

Using the FIFO (first in, first out) method and choosing a rotating process to carry it out helps you get the most out of your canned food storage. You'll eat your food at its freshest and get the biggest nutritional bang for your buck. You'll also avoid discovering cans lurking in your pantry for years beyond their expiration date.

What is your favorite way to rotate your canned inventory? Do you do yours differently?

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