Food Cupboard Labels

Labelling items in the kitchen is very important when you’re blind especially as one tin feels much like another. You would not want to pour chopped tomatoes on your Weetabix when you really wanted to pour baked beans on them now would you, but other items that can easily be labeled are the containers you put cooked food in in the freezer and also the bags of frozen vegetables and frozen meat you buy from the store.

In this article I will explain how I do this and I suppose most of you follow similar practices but then again you might find something that gives you a good idea and can make use of it.

At the end there is what I call a Blue Peter moment which is a tip I heard on a radio station a few years ago which helps to label bottles and plastic containers that will only be used for a short time.

I use the following items when labeling containers of all types:

  • RNIB pen friend and labels
  • Elastic bands
  • Band-it rubber bands
  • Sealing clips used to keep items secure and fresh once the bags have been opened
  • plastic milk bottle cut up into 2 cm squares.


the problems with the tins that grace my food cupboard is that they all feel basically the same. Taking a snapshot of the tins currently in my food cupboard they fall into two categories, those with ring pulls and those without. The tins of baked beans, red kidney beans and the tins of soup have ring pulls whereas the tins of chopped tomatoes do not. This means I do not currently have to label the tins of chopped tomatoes as they are easily identified because of this difference. I always purchase my baked beans in packs of four so they come with cardboard or plastic wrapping so I leave them in this wrapping and just remove one tin at a time when required, this also means no labelling is required. I place a Band-it rubber band around each of the tins of red kidney beans so logically I do not have to specifically label the tins of soup but for safety reasons I place two elastic bands round each of them. If you require to know the flavour of each soup please refer to my Blue Peter moment towards the end of this article. Of course this is very simple labelling and the tins and their configuration may vary according to manufacturers so just use this as a guideline.

Food containers

I generally use food containers when I have done some bulk cooking and need to place individual portions in the freezer. This is when penfriend labels are extremely useful. They are very durable and can be re-recorded upon numerous times. I used to have problems locating the labels on the container lid when the container was frozen so I now always place the label in the corner where the tab of the lid is, though obviously these containers come in different formats so it would be best to choose Your Own Personal location and always stick to it. By doing this you will avoid the problem I have had when two labels have been on the same lid and I have managed to read an old label and have been in the position where after heating up the contents I had got chilli con carne rather than the chicken vegetable casserole I was expecting.

Bags of frozen and unfrozen items

this is when I make use of the sealing clips. I have a pen friend label on each of the sealing clips and then place the clip on the corner of the bag as soon as it arrives and record the contents on the label. This serves two purposes, I will be able to identify the contents whether the bag has been opened or not and that when the bag is opened the sealing clip is already in my possession to close the bag.

My Blue Peter moment

I heard this a few years ago when somebody was discussing how to label single use items and not waste penfriend labels. This method could also be used to identify different varieties of a single genre of foodstuff such as soups.

Take a small square of plastic cut out of something like a plastic milk bottle and make two holes in it, one on each of opposite sides of the square. Thread an elastic band through one of the holes and then loop it through itself so as to tighten it against the plastic Square. This will leave you with a loop you can place over a tin or a plastic bottle such as hair shampoo, shower gel or even a tin of soup if you want to label it as a specific variety. You can then place a pen friend label on the plastic square and record it as appropriate and when the container is empty you can unloop the tag and place it on another container and re-record on the label. For a more secure fitting of this plastic label you can also thread an elastic band through the other hole so as you can also loop this over the container. I find this particularly useful when labelling small items such as spice jars.

You will find complete descriptions of the RNIB penfriend and the Band-it rubber bands at the RNIB online shop.