Food Storage

  • How to Organise Your Kitchen Storage in 5 Easy Steps

    Happy New Year! Yes, it's finally 2018; a whole new year and, for many people, it's the starting point for a whole new outlook on life. There's always so much to do around the home, and one of the tasks you'll no doubt find yourself doing is managing all that food storage you've accumulated.

    It doesn't matter if you wish to store any leftover bits and pieces from Christmas/New Year or just so you can start the year on a clean note. In the leap into the new year, we at Poundstretcher are here to assist with 5 easy steps in managing your kitchen organisation.

    Step 1

    Okay, don't cry at the sight of all the 'organised' chaos that's clogging your cupboards. First things first, remove everything from the storage area you're trying to tackle and place them on a predetermined surface (i.e: a dining table, a sheet on the floor).

    Just gut it all out so you can see what you have to work with.

    Step 2

    Start to sort all your plastic storage pieces into sections/piles. You'll soon realise that whilst you thought your kitchen/storage was small, it's more the fact you've accumulated too much stuff!

    Organise them however you wish, be it: small tubs, large tubs, their purpose, if lids are missing, if only the lids remain, if they're broken, if they are wonderfully unique, if you just hate the sight of them, if you realise they belong to someone else and have been meaning to return them to their rightful owner, anything! Just start separating them so you can visibly see the end goal (it's true)!

    Step 3

    Now it's time to decide which ones you wish to keep from each individual pile, and the ones that can get tossed out/recycled. You can decide this by thinking, 'Do I really need all of these massive tubs when I hardly use any?'

    If you don't wish to simply toss them out, then you can always give them away to family and friends (providing they're not broken and they haven't got lids missing). Clean out your own space whilst clogging up someone else's! Either that or find a creative way to store/use them. They can make interesting storage containers for other areas of the home, or even used for growing plants.

    Step 4

    Clean the surfaces! Yes, it's time to break out the multi-purpose cleaner and give that area a good scrubbin' before putting everything back (might be a good idea to give some of the long-lost tubs you've decided to keep a bit of a wash too).

    Step 5

    So, now you've got all your plastic storage containers in their neat, tidy, little piles, you can start putting them all back. However, make sure everything has a place. Put small tubs within larger ones, keep the less likely used ones pushed a bit to the back, and always keep lids with their respective counterpart.

    You might also be able to find you can now store additional food items in your cupboards, maybe even a few little countertop storage containers that were taking up some visual space.

    And there we have it, folks! A few quick (dependant on how much you've managed to horde) and easy steps in organising your kitchen food storage spaces. A clean home is a happy home they say!

  • Get Ready For Back To Uni Season With Poundstretcher

    It's finally that time of year; uni is now looming ever closer. Whether you're a fresh-faced student straight out of college/a gap year, or a mature student, it's always a good idea to have a checklist of the university essentials, and Poundstretcher is here to help!

    Items including your passport, driving license, documents regarding your student loan, clothes, bank card, laptop, TV, and all the other essentials to student life are a given. You’re bound to take all of them, right? However, how about the rest of the things you’re going to have to pack? All the items you'll need to buy especially for student life?

    Doesn't matter if you're going to be a fresher moving into Halls or returning and living with friends in a rented student house. The below checklists are ideal for your uni survival.

    If you are entering Halls of Residence or even some student accommodation, then you may not need certain items (a toaster, iron, ironing board, and even the cleaning supplies are usually provided when in Halls). If in doubt, it's best to consult the university residential services.

    Uni Checklist: Stationery

    Uni Checklist: Bedroom

    Uni Checklist: Toiletries & Bathroom

    Uni Checklist: Cleaning Supplies

    Uni Checklist: Kitchen

    Uni Checklist: Groceries

    Miscellaneous

    And there we have it. Everything (and then some) you may need whilst at university. Some of the above can be altered or removed to suit your own personal preferences and needs. Splitting the cost between flatmates and university friends is also a great and affordable way to go about things.

    Wondering where your nearest Poundstretcher is exactly? Well then, check out our handy Store Finder to see Google Map directions and opening times.

    Good luck!

  • Start Your Day Well – All You Need To Know About Cereals

    cereal-and-strawb

    Breakfast. Well, what can be said that you haven’t already heard before? It should be the first meal you eat upon waking up and is claimed to be the most important of the day.

    They are convenient foods that go hand-in-hand with our bustling and busy society.  It's something quick and easy, that can be shovelled into your gob before you grab the keys and head out the door to work/school.

    With the vast importance placed upon it, it’s no wonder how popular cereals are nowadays and how much variety we have! Being one of the most popular and common choices for our morning meal, cereals have boomed through each passing generation, coming in all sizes, shapes, and flavours. Yes, cereals truly dominate breakfast time.
    choco-hoops-stars

    When Were Breakfast Cereals Invented?

    So, to this day we have breakfast cereals that go from borderline sweets in a box, to health-foods, to everything in-between. In fact, it might surprise you to know that the concept of breakfast cereal is actually quite new in the grand scheme of things, having only been around for 150 years.

    But, where did it all start?

    jame-caleb-jackson

    In America. That’s right, in 1863 a man named James Caleb Jackson (pictured above), a devoted religious vegetarian, created the basis of what we now know to be breakfast cereals. Running a popular wellness retreat in western New York, Jackson was an advocate for healthy living and saw the idea of eating pork chops and other red meats for breakfast was terrible for one’s health.

    He decided to provide his guests with a ‘better’ alternative; Granula. No, not Granola, but Granula. It was a type of grain cake and built like a brick. It was essentially a large block that was so solid you needed to soak it in milk overnight, and then the next morning you’d break bits off and crunch into it. It tasted as good as it sounds.

    John_Harvey_Kellogg

    The flavour only really improved once John Harvey Kellogg (pictured above), a skilled surgeon and someone as big on health as Jackson, decided he liked the idea of Granula and took Jackson’s concept.  Kellogg made an oaty wheat biscuit, incorporated a rolling process to improve the taste, and used it in order to further promote the benefits of a healthy lifestyle (as well as one promoting sexual abstinence, but that’s a tale for another time).

    So what of Granola? Well, to avoid being sued for using the name Granula, Kellogg decided to change the name… to Granola (very original, right?), and from there his success snowballed. Despite the taste, Granola was sold to those outside his retreat and was soon selling almost 1.8 tonnes a week. From there Corn Flakes were invented shortly afterwards due to a stroke of serendipity, and the rest is ancient cereal history.

    Where Do Cereals Grow?

    As wide a range as breakfast cereals there are, it also means there are various cereals, or grains, out there. Different types of cereals can grow in different environments, like all plants. Some are well-versed in surviving the frigid subarctic and Siberia, such as Barley and Rye, whilst some can withstand the ups and downs of British weather, where one moment it’s content and warm, the next it’s cold with a strong wind.

    corn-coffee-grains-wheat

    How they are cultivated is also quite diverse. They’re usually annual plants, where one would produce one yield for harvest. Though, as mentioned before, there are many different types; wheat, rye, barley, and oat, to name just a few, are “cool-season” cereals, meaning they’re hardy enough to grow in grim British weather, but not very well in anything slightly hot (30 °C, but it depends on the plant). Essentially, these plants are just like the Brit humans who grow them, once the heat gets turned on a tiny bit it suddenly becomes a chore to do just about anything.

    Wheat, one of the major cereals we use in breakfast cereals, can be cultivated in many different soils and can be grown with ease around the world. That might have something to do with the vast amount of it and the ease of obtaining it. However, to grow it successfully it requires extremely fertile soil, and that means it needs a good amount of humus content (soil that’s had slightly decayed organic stuff in it). However, barley and rye, for example, can be grown in soil that's less fertile.

    cereals-wheat

    One similarity barley and wheat do share, is that that both have a winter and a spring variety. The winter one usually produces better crops, more likely to have side shoots, and can allow new shoots to form before any cold weather comes around.

    Importance of Cereals

    But what am I talking about? As interesting as hearing about how grains are cultivated is, I bet you want to know the practicalities of breakfast cereals. What cereal can do for you and your health!

    berries-granola

    I’m being super cereal when I tell you that they’re an important part of a balanced diet. Whether you wish to believe it or not, the fact is that having breakfast in the morning is more important to your mental health than it is to your physical. Sure, you will have the energy and the boost in physical fitness from a hearty breakfast, but without it, you will most likely find yourself feeling “hangry” and a bit glum too.

    With cereals like Alpen Oat Granola, you can see they’re high in fibre, and also low in saturated fats. That is exactly what you want to be putting into your body in the early morning. Like adding fuel to a fire, adding good nutrients that can be found in cereals fuels your own body to seize the day!

    Most cereals are low-fat and full of nutrients and vitamins, such as iron and B vitamins; you also can find the power of grains within cereals, as wholegrains provide you with so many benefits it could warrant its own blog post.

    bowl-of-cereal

    Wholegrain provides you with fibre, and lots of it. An adult needs around 25 to 35 grams a day, which you can get a kick-start to with a bowl of Quaker Oats or Weetabix. Fibre has been known to control blood sugar, lower cholesterol, and actually can promote better bowel moments (gross but important). Also, due to wholegrains containing lactic acids, it allows stronger digestion, which means you absorb more of the good stuff into your body, boosting your immune system which then can help fight off nasty diseases, especially in the colon.

    Also, cereals make you feel incredibly full. So, there’s no need to have a muffin or light snacks shortly after breakfast once you’ve had a bowl of Shredded Wheat, meaning a better breakfast can help your weight too.

    When to Eat Cereals

    To make a long story short; in the morning, that moment after 8+ hours of not eating anything. Want a more detailed and serious answer? Well, there are many great times to eat breakfast, and all of them can be worked into your daily life, be it on weekends or weekdays; it all depends on what you want to gain from it. Breakfast is important for your metabolism to get kick-started, so eating it right after you wake up is a good start.

    girl-in-bed-eating-cereal

    However, if you exercise in the mornings and want a high athletic performance, then the best time to eat breakfast would be an hour or so before you hit the track. It will mean that you won’t fear any sort of cramp, and by that time the nutrients and energy from breakfast will be coursing through your body.

    Also, make sure you eat within one hour of waking up. Eating at that point allows your energy levels to go right up and gives you more energy for an active morning. Due to having been in a sleeping state for so long, your blood sugar is naturally going to be low when you first begin to rise, so eating before that 60 minute window closes means you won’t suffer a blood sugar crash.

    Where Should Cereals Be Stored?

    Now, you may know when to eat breakfast, where cereal came from, and so on; however, storing cereal is a major part. If you don’t store it right, then what happens? Nasty, manky, soft cereal that will end up getting binned, that's what. What a waste of money and food that would be, right? So, here are some quick tips to better store your cereal, which is perfect if you buy in bulk.

    mason-jar-cereal

    It’s always best to store an unopened box of cereal in a cool, dry place, such as a cupboard. For how long? Well, until the expiration date is the basic answer, but usually you can store things that way unopened for about a year; it’s at that point the taste starts to deteriorate.

    But, what if you’ve opened the cereal bag already? You don’t want air to get in and soften those Coco Pops or Honey Monster, right? Well then, just seal it with a plastic clip after rolling the top down a tad. Voila, now you can keep it this way for about a week without fear of it ruining. Either that, or store the bag, box, and all into an air-tight storage container, making sure to put it in a cool, dry place as always.

    If you follow those tips, every member of your family will have great tasting, crunchy, delicious cereal.

    cereal-spoon

    Where to Buy Cereals?

    So, where can you buy all these great tasting cereal delights? At Poundstretcher of course! We have a wide range of branded cereal products, such as Nestle, Kellogg's, Quaker Oats, and many more all with different tastes and varieties. No matter the age, we have a cereal to suit everyone!

    Why not nip on down today and stock up your cupboards with tasty cereals featuring cartoon wolves, a cockerel, or heaps and heaps of grains and fruit? Ideal for when you and your family need that fuel to get you through the start of each and every day.

    You can find your nearest Poundstretcher using our handy Store Finder! So, with your new quick guide to cereal, you can hunt out the best bargains and deck yourself and your mornings out the right way!

    morning-poundstretcher

  • The Great Budget Bake Off!

    The Great Budget Bake Off!

    It’s the moment we’ve all been baking for ladies, gents, and everyone in between: The Great British Bake Off is returning to our screens!!

    A lot has happened since Nadiya Hussain won the last season:  Mary Berry’s infamous floral jackets are now the height of high street fashion, Nadiya has a book epically titled ‘The Chronicles Of Nadiya’, and Paul Hollywood is… well he’s still being Paul Hollywood really.

    Slices of a pecan pie

    On August 24th we’ll get to see the next batch of contestants bake off for the prestigious title of the best baker!

    To celebrate the return of our favourite show, we thought we’d get in on the fun and hold our very own ‘Great Buyer Bake Off’!!

    Five members of our buying team have bravely volunteered to put their baking skills to the test for the next three weeks to be in the running towards become the best buyer baker.

    But how will we decide the winners without Mary Berry?!

    A slice of Victoria sponge cake on a plate next to a cake with the buttercream and jam filling showing

    That’s why we need you lovely VIPs - Very Important Poundstretchers!

    Every week we’ll be posting pics and videos of each cake on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

    Our office will do the tasting though – sorry guys, technology has not advanced enough for us to send you a cake slice through social media!

    You can vote by telling us your favourite cake from our bake off by commenting on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

    We feel bad that you can’t eat the cakes so every voter will be automatically entered in to an online prize draw to WIN a £20 Poundstretcher voucher!

    We will pick one person at random each week, good luck to all who enter!

    Cherry topped muffins with pink frosting

    Our buyer bakers’ first challenge is to make a classic Victoria Sponge.

    All of the cake tins and accessories used are Poundstretcher’s very own! Because let’s face it, home baking on a budget tastes amazing and we wanted the buyer bakers to get creative (as well as cause chaos in the kitchen) to show that you can bake cheaply.

    So while you wait for your bread to rise and your cakes to bake, why not log on to our social media profiles and vote for your favourite Poundstretcher baker?

    Visit our Instagram, Twitter and Facebook to drool over the buyer’s cakes for this week – don’t forget to like, share, and comment on your favourite to be in with the chance to WIN Poundstretcher vouchers!

    A raspberry cheesecake seen from above on a black background with a slice cut out

    Got baking on the brain? Pop in-store and check out our fantastic value range of home baking accessories from cake tins to whisks to self-raising flower and icing sugar. Find your nearest store here to get all your baking essentials!

  • Get That Summertime Saladness With Mason Jars!

    Get That Summertime Saladness With Mason Jars!

    British Summertime officially starts on June 21st … and knowing our luck it’ll probably still rain!

    So while you’re waiting for the sun, why not do a bit of Summer meal prep?

    After all tis the season of the salad and June 16th is the official Fresh Veggies Day!

    This lightweight healthy wundermeal is just what we need for a lunchtime pick me up when it feels like we’re roasting like rotisserie chickens.

    They’re ridiculously easy to make and with the right ingredients you can have a tasty low calorie meal.

    Let’s face it, nobody likes a soggy salad but with the help of our new BFF and favourite 2016 trend: the Mason Jar!

    Why should I start using a glass jar for my salad?

    Multiple Mason Jar Salads with the fork tied to the glass

    Other than a Mason Jar salad looking really cute and colourful, there’s method behind this Mason Jar madness.

    An air tight glass container will keep your food fresh by keeping out as much air as possible, while plastic lunch boxes can sometimes make your food taste like… well, plastic!

    To get the perfect salad, it’s all about how you layer your ingredients in your jar.

    The ingredient at the bottom of the jar, layer 1, is always your dressing. When you tip your salad in a bowl or on a plate, the dressing will cover the top without being soaked up.

    Layer 2 is something a bit chunkier that will stop the dressing splashing your leaves while layer 3 is usually the stuff you want to stay dry until it hits your plate. Usually it’s your crunch like croutons, nuts, or seeds but can also be a thicker ingredient too.

    Your leafy greens are always your final layer to create the salad bed when you tip the jar upside down to make it all fall on the plate.

    You can have as many layers as you like for a Mason Jar salad, as long as your first and second layers follow this formula you can mix and match your other layers.

    The Beetroot Blaster 

    A bowl of tasty carrot and beetroot salad

    Eat a rainbow for lunch with this blast of bright colours and sweet succulent flavours! Not only will your colleagues marvel at your desk dining art but your kids will love your glowing gourmet lunch too, so a this Mason Jar salad is a great way to get them eating healthy.

    Layer 1: A light balsamic vinaigrette will bring out the sweetness of those beets!

    Layer 2: Beetroot will make this sweet salad appear radioactive when tipped on a plate!

    Layer 3: Bacon bits – we hate to go bacon your heart (get it?!) carnivores, but these little crouton chums are vegetarian yet still full of deliciousness!

    Layer 4: A little grated carrot can hydrate your salad and stop it from being too sweet. Plus the purple and orange look really pretty together!

    Layer 5: Mixed lettuce leaves for a crunchy blend of flavours for your salad bed.

    The Edgy Veggie

    A bowl of broccoli

    Technically this isn’t a salad but we’re throwing it in here for an honorary mention! As well as keeping soggy salads at bay, your jar will also stop your veggies from turning to mush so you can tip them on the plate ready to reheat. If you're feeling cheeky, drizzle with a bit of gravy after you've reheated your roast! So if you have any leftovers from your Sunday roast this is perfect for making the start of the week Monday Funday!

    Layer 1: Roast potatoes or parsnips to soak up that gravy goodness on top!

    Layer 2: A little bit of chunky cauliflower will soak up any bits of gravy your spuds have missed.

    Layer 4: Leftovers like carrots add more moisture to your mix and a subtle sweetness to this vegetable powerhouse!

    Layer 5: Tender broccoli will give you protein, iron, and a slice of Sunday lunch while you work.

    The Protein Packer 

    Jars filled with colourful pulses like lentils, chickpeas and more!

    Breaking a sweat at the gym for those cheese grater abs? Then you need the protein packer salad! Filled with protein and fibre rich ingredients like chickpeas, seeds, and nuts, you’ll be energised ready to pump iron at the gym after work!

    Layer 1: A drop of balsamic vinegar or olive oil for flavour enhancement.

    Layer 2: Cherry tomatoes or sundried tomatoes for a burst of sweetness.

    Layer 3: A little sliced cucumber keeps your body and this salad hydrated!

    Layer 4: Subtle chickpeas that truly pack a hefty punch of protein.

    Layer 5: Turkey or chicken breast for a meaty sweetness.

    Layer 6: A light sprinkling of iceberg lettuce to keep you refreshed and watered before your workout!

    The Vampire Slayer 

    Chopped red onions in the shape of a heart

    This is the salad you should eat if your colleagues have no sense of smell and romance is off the cards for the evening! Full of our favourite pongy veg like spring onions, red onion with a chilli kick of jalapenos, it’s a tasty and tangy treat!

    Layer 1: Sour cream and chive or cottage cheese will cool down any heat. If that’s not your bag then a little garlic mayo will do the trick too!

    Layer 2: Sliced Bombay potatoes for a classier version of cheesy chips.

    Layer 3: Red onion and spring onion thinly sliced and mixed.

    Layer 4: Jalapeños if you dare to spice it up!

    Layer 5: A layer of cooked kale seasoned with ground garlic for extra flavour!

    Two Mason Jars filled with salad

    Have you made any Mason Jar salads with our fantastic jars? Send them to us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram with #Poundstretcher so we can drool over your delicious desk lunches!

    On a quest for a bargain? Find your nearest store right here and pop in to say hello!

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