Here are my 21 pantry essentials for the kitchen. I realize we are all trying to eat less processed food, but in my pantry I cannot do without some items. I have to be real here. It would be wonderful to have only fresh fruits and vegetables I gather from my garden every night for dinner. Well, I live in a desert. Yes, I try to buy organic as much as my budget can afford, but the fact is I cannot afford to buy everything organic, but I buy it when I can. Today I really just want to show you my pantry essentials for me to make my everyday meals. If I can pull something I have canned myself, or a can from the local grocery store, from my pantry I am good with that. So let’s get started…..
It seems every night there is some new update on the EBOLA situation and I feel the need to shout out to the world to please get bleach, fill your pantry with food and water. You might need to stay in your home if a pandemic were to break out.
Here are my 21 pantry essentials:
Cream of chicken, cream of mushroom, chicken noodle and tomato are my favorites. I am pretty fussy and only buy the Campbell’s brand. Are they healthy, probably not as much as we’d like them to be, but I do not want to fill my freezer with food that will go bad in an emergency.
I store some white enriched flour, but I mainly use freshly ground hard white wheat flour. I store a lot of hard white wheat in six gallon buckets. Sometimes I grab a bag of coconut flour and almond flour. I am still learning how to use those flours. I do not personally have gluten issues, but I would like to know how to make a good loaf of gluten free bread or muffins.
I store pasta in #10 cans and bags of pasta from the grocery store. I buy spaghetti, linguini, bow tie, corkscrew, elbow and lasagna pasta noodles.
I store white rice, limited brown rice (too oily for long term storage) and every color of quinoa. I love that quinoa has a high protein content.
I love tomatoes…any kind of tomato, fresh or canned. I buy diced tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato flakes and #10 cans of freeze dried tomatoes. I can make soups, lasagna, pizza you name it if I have tomatoes.
7. Canned Vegetables:
I love fresh more than canned vegetables, but here’s the deal….you can eat the vegetables right out of the can if you have no way to cook them. My favorites are green beans and corn. I make a salsa with some corn so I buy this sweet white corn for that recipe.
Olive oil and coconut oil are the main oils I buy. Olive oil does not have a great shelf life…6-12 months at most. So I buy it only for that period of time. Coconut lasts longer so I store more of it.
Some of my favorites are basil, oregano, cinnamon, vanilla, chili powder, salt and pepper, parsley flakes, garlic powder, onion powder, nutmeg and sage.
I must admit here I love Balsamic vinegar…every flavor. They taste great on salads with a little olive oil. I store white vinegar and cider vinegar. There are so many healthy reasons why we need to store cider vinegar.
Mayonnaise, mustard, Miracle Whip, pickles, bread and butter pickles and dill pickles can be added to so many recipes. I can make salads with these as well as tuna or chicken sandwiches.
12. Peanut Butter:
Peanut butter has a longer shelf life than almond butter so I store more peanut butter. I still cannot believe I used to buy #10 cans of peanut butter when my kids were little. WOW! Fun memories!
13. Jams & Jelly:
I like to buy smaller jars with more fruit than sugar and they are hard to find. But in an emergency peanut butter and jelly sandwiches will taste fabulous.
My husband loves cold cereal every morning so we buy at least three months of cereal at any one time. They would be great for children in an unforeseen emergency as well.
15. Baking Basics:
Baking soda is good for baking, cleaning and indigestion, as well as brushing your teeth. Other critical items needed for baking are baking powder, cornstarch, salt, condensed milk, nuts, dried fruit, chocolate, butterscotch chips, peanut butter chips, mint chips, and vanilla extract. If you only bake during the holidays buy these in small quantities. I for sure need chocolate in my pantry essentials!
16. Canned Beans:
I store beans in #10 cans, both regular beans and instant beans. The instant beans cook in 20 minutes with water added. I also buy canned beans of every kind possible. I can make salads, soups, tacos, burritos and more with beans. WooHoo! I also buy bags of beans. A variety of beans is what a pantry needs. The next time you go to the grocery store throw a few cans of beans in your basket.
17. Instant Milk:
I always have instant regular milk and instant buttermilk in my pantry. I make my salad dressings and muffins with instant buttermilk. Instant regular milk can be used if I run out of regular milk in the refrigerator. Just another one of my pantry essentials.
I rarely buy real store potatoes because they usually go bad by the time I remember I have them. I buy dehydrated potatoes, #10 cans of dehydrated potato chunks.
19. Canned Meats:
My favorites are chicken, tuna and beef. They are a bit pricey, but that’s what my husband and I eat for lunch. One can goes really far in our budget. If we did have an unforeseen disaster I could eat this meat everyday for weeks or months. I can make soups, sandwiches and casseroles. Canned meats are part of my pantry essentials
One of my favorite things to buy is Better Than Bouillon because all I have to do is add water. I do store a few cartons of regular broth, beef and chicken only to use for certain recipes.
21. Spaghetti Sauce:
I buy tomato paste and make my own spaghetti sauce, but I still like a few jars of ready made spaghetti sauce for last minute company that drops by to visit.
Please Note #10 Cans
What are #10 cans? They are cans that are 6 inches in diameter and 7 inches tall. They are commercially processed cans filled with foods that typically have a longer shelf life. For example, milk, freeze dried fruits, vegetables, dehydrated foods, etc. Some community groups use a “dry canner” to process #10 cans of various items. These cans if available at your local grocery store are on the food storage aisle.
What’s in your pantry? P.S. I would love to hear your favorite pantry essentials! I promise this is not an ad for Costco, I just love their canned meat.