How to Create a Well-Stocked Pantry
Not so long ago, a kitchen pantry was stocked with several weeks worth of food. Our grandparents understood the need to prepare for unexpected complications, whether such complications came in the form of a hurricane or sudden employment. In today’s culture of instant gratification, we’ve abandoned the well-stocked pantry in favor of the 24-hur grocery store. This is a pity, because keeping the pantry stocked remains an important skill.
A well stocked pantry has all the basics you need to several meals without going shopping. In today’s world of instant convenience, people often neglect to stock their pantry. Neglecting your kitchen pantry can leave you missing that one ingredient you forgot to pick up at the store, or even worse, leave you without food in a disaster.
Stocking the Pantry
When you stock a kitchen pantry start with basic ingredients such as flour and canned tomatoes. Think of these ingredients as “foundation” materials. You use them often and they’re at the base of many different types of recipes. Foundation ingredients include food such as:
- baking soda and baking powder
- canned beans
- canned broth (chicken, beef, or vegetable
- canned fish (tuna and salmon)]
- canned fruit
- canned soups
- canned tomatoes (tomato paste, tomato sauce, puree and diced tomatoes)
- oils (canola and vegetable)
- sugar (regular and brown sugar).
Once you have your basic ingredients, add items that add flavor to dishes or increase your cooking options. such pantry staples may include:
- barbeque sauce
- balsamic vinegar
- bread crumbs
- chocolate chips
- herbs and spices
- mustard (dried, yellow and Dijon)
- peanut butter
- soy sauce
- white vinegar.
While most perishable food belongs in the fridge or freezer, some perishable items can survive for long periods in a dry pantry. Onions, potatoes and whole garlic cloves last for long periods, although they must be periodically checked to make sure they haven’t gone off.
Instant Pantry Food
Sometimes, let’s face it, no one in the house wants to cook. Canned chili, instant noodle cups, canned pasta sauce and instant breakfasts are ideal for a those days when making a meal is the last thing on your mind.
Emergency Pantry Items
A well-stocked pantry offers more than convenience. In the event of a disaster you could be cut off from local stores for several days. Snowstorms, hurricanes, earthquakes and even long power outages can leave you fending for yourself. Most disaster preparation manuals recommend you have enough food and water to last for at least seven days
Water is often overlooked by people when they stock the kitchen pantry. After all, water is only a tap away most of the time. In a disaster, however, water supplies can be cut off or contaminated. You can buy large containers of water at most grocery stores that will last almost indefinitely. Store them at the back of your pantry in case of emergency.
In an emergency, you may find yourself without power. Could you live off the ingredients in your pantry without heating food? If you’ve already stocked your pantry with the basics, you’ve already got several types of food you can eat without preparation, including canned beans, tuna and fruit. other emergency foodstuffs can include:
- fruit bars
- granola bars
- nuts and raisins
- protein shakes
- trail mix.
When looking for emergency foods try to avoid items that are high in salt, sodium or MSG. if you don’t have access to safe tap water, you want to avoid eating food that increases thirst.
One other note on stocking emergency pantries. Buy an extra can opener and stick it in the back of pantry. You’ve probably already got one in the kitchen, but you don’t want to face several days of emergency food without a can opener!
Organizing the Kitchen Pantry
Stocking a pantry is, admittedly, a bit of a lost art. You need to learn how to rotate foodstuffs. as you buy new food, put it to the back of the pantry and bring older food forward. for instance, if you find a good deal on baked beans, make sure your new purchase goes behind any cans of beans you already have. some people date can labels with a sharpie pen so they know when the can was purchased.
Non-Edible Pantry Items
You can stock your pantry with more than just food. paper towels, toothpaste, razors, and other essentials can be biuyght on sale or in bulk and stored for later use. batteries, torches, matches and candles come in handy if you lose power, and if you store them all in the same place you won’t have to stumble around in the dark looking for them.