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Quite often, my students ask me about how to store garlic, or they come to their cooking lesson with chilled onions. I explain to them how to properly store items for longer a longer shelf life. Perhaps this list will take some mystery out of how to store certain items in you pantry.

– Store potatoes in a cool, dark place with good air circulation. Never store them next to onions, as potatoes give off moisture and they will shorten each others shelf life. Do not store potatoes in the refrigerator.

– “Fresh onions” are Vidalia, Walla Walla and they have a higher moisture content. Store only these types of onions in the fridge and use within about a week. You can extend their shelf life by not letting them touch while storing.

– Store dry onions in a cool, dark place and in a single layer to prolong shelf life. Never store them in the refrigerator. Do not store next to potatoes, as they will shorten each others shelf life.

– Store garlic (see earlier blog entry on garlic) in a cool dark place, not the refrigerator.

– Store dried herbs and spices in your pantry and away from your stove or oven.

– Store honey at room temperature and in a dry, dark place. Cooler temps may encourage crystallization. If you already have crystallization, put your honey container into a pan of gently simmering water (remove lid of the honey bottle first), and heat until crystals are gone.

– Transfer flour from its’ original bag into an airtight container. Store at room temperature for up to 6 months. If the temperature warms above 75 degrees or so, set the flour in the fridge or freezer, as weevils like to appear in warmer weather.

– If you use cooking oils on a regular basis, store them in a cool, dark place for up to 6 months. I like to purchase mine in smaller jars to help avoid spoilage or going rancid. For longer storage, store oils in the fridge for up to 1 year. If any oil has solidified (such as olive oil or walnut oil) in the fridge, simply bring it to room temperature before using.

– Nuts should be stored in a cool, dark place. Shelled nuts should be wrapped tightly and refrigerated for up to 4 weeks or frozen for a few months, unless they are in a vacuum-packed style can (then store at room temp).