Every home cook’s kitchen should have a basic pantry with essential items you can use repeatedly. It is also a good idea to keep a well-stocked pantry for emergencies. An emergency can either be something unanticipated, such as a power outage or stormy weather. As well, you might have unexpected guests and will need to find something to offer them as sustenance. There are four categories of foods that you will want to always keep on hand in your kitchen pantry.
Grains and Pasta
It is amazing how grains and pasta can come in handy for either feeding your family or for those impromptu weekend visitors. These items are inexpensive and incredibly filling. They also keep for a very long time in well-sealed containers. Once you open a bag or box of grains or pasta, you can store what you don’t use in plastic baggies, sealed jars, or canisters for many months.
The basic grains you might want to include white and brown rice, quinoa, polenta, and oats. You will also want to have grain flour for baking, such as all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, and cornmeal. In addition to the flour and meals, baking powder, baking soda, and cornstarch are essential.
When it comes to pasta, a box or two of spaghetti and one of elbow macaroni are the best for either spaghetti with sauce, mac, and cheese, or pasta salad. You might also want to have brown rice or chickpea flour pasta for those who are gluten-free. Ramen noodle packets are incredibly convenient and quick to make for hungry kids.
Spices, Condiments, and Sauces
Salt and pepper are pantry must-haves. Other spices and herbs that are good to keep are cinnamon, garlic powder, Italian seasoning blend, Chili powder, paprika, and curry powder.
You can do so many things with jars of condiments and sauces. Start with a couple of jars of tomato sauce for pasta. Then, stock up on olive oil, vegetable oil, vinegar, mustard, mayonnaise, ketchup, and soy sauce. It is also smart to keep nut butter and jam for quick lunches. Jarred salsa is great for snacking with chips.
Pickled and cured fruits, vegetables, and protein are great for preparing platters for a quick appetizer or snack. These items include olives, pickles, relish, sardines, anchovies, and tuna fish.
A well-stocked pantry will have some essential items for drinking, such as black and herbal teas, coffee, instant hot cocoa, bottled water, non-dairy milk, and energy drinks for hydration. Teas should be in individual packets to keep them fresher for longer. Coffee is best in whole bean form. Colombian whole bean coffee will stay much longer than ground coffee. So, have a small coffee grinder in the pantry as well.
Colombian whole bean coffee is the perfect addition to any coffee lover’s shelf. The beans are roasted to perfection, and the resulting brew has a rich, full-bodied flavor that is sure to please. In addition, Colombian coffee is Fair Trade certified, ensuring that the farmers who grew the beans were paid a fair price for their product. And because the beans are ethically sourced, you can be sure that they were grown in an environmentally sustainable way. So if you’re looking for a delicious and socially responsible coffee to stock your shelves with, Colombian whole bean coffee is a perfect choice.
Canned and Jarred Vegetables and Beans
While canned vegetables might not sound very appealing, there are some that are actually good and you can do a lot with them. Start with canned tomatoes, corn, beets, mushrooms, and pumpkin puree. You can bake with canned veggies, add them to soups, or top salads with them.
Beans are an essential item, especially for extra protein if your fridge and freezer are on the fritz and you have to toss spoiled meat, fish, and eggs. The best-canned beans are chickpeas, lentils, black beans, cannellini beans, navy beans, and kidney beans. You can make chili, soup, hummus/dip, and salad toppings with beans. It also makes sense to keep bags of dried beans in your pantry because they are incredibly economical and go a long way.
Canned soups are really convenient for a quick meal. And, cream soups can be added to casseroles. There are boxed broths and soups that are surprisingly delicious.
When it comes to snacks, there are endless pantry staples that can come in handy. From sweet to savory, there’s something for everyone’s taste. Here are a few snacks to stock your shelves with:
- Popcorn is a classic snack that can be enjoyed plain or with a variety of toppings. Sweeten it up with some chocolate or caramel, or keep it savory with cheese or salt.
- Potato chips are another tasty option, and they can also be flavored in a multitude of ways. From barbecue to sour cream and onion, there’s a flavor for everyone.
- Pretzels are perfect for satisfying a salty craving, and they can also be dipped in sauces or spreads for an extra bit of flavor. Choose from traditional pretzels or try pretzel bites for a bite-sized snack.
- For something sweet, stock up on candy bars or bags of candy. Chocolate, gummies, and hard candy are all good options. Or, if you’re looking for something healthy, opt for fruit snacks or dried fruit instead.
No matter what your snacking preferences are, there’s sure to be a pantry staple that will satisfy your cravings. So go ahead and stock your shelves with all of your favorite snacks!
Whether you are a home cook who needs convenience items, or a survivalist who is stockpiling for a disaster, it just makes sense to have a bountiful pantry. You never know when friends or family will drop by or when a winter storm makes it impossible for you to get to the market. All the items mentioned here will allow you to put together a complete meal in a pinch or have it available for your everyday cooking needs.