I think we need to consider the best foods you need in your pantry more often. If you have gone to the grocery store lately, you have seen the shelves are not as full as they used to be. That’s why I wanted to update this post from a few years ago before we were experiencing some of the food shortage challenges we see now.
If you watch the news there are various reasons why the shelves aren’t as full as they’ve been in past years. Please don’t panic. Let’s talk about what we can do to get through this rough patch.
I may come on a little strong today because we must teach our kids and grandkids to cook from scratch. I’ll be honest with you, I have never been rich, but I have been poor.
Growing up I didn’t realize we were poor. I look back now and can see my mom did the best job raising three girls alone with the cards she was dealt. My mother could cook anything from scratch.
We ate homemade bread, homemade dinner rolls, and the best biscuits on the planet. My mom was a survivor as a single mom doing the best she could, and she did it well. She taught her daughters to sew, cook from scratch, and how to work.
In case you missed this post on how to make a sourdough starter and bread, How To Make A Sourdough Starter + Bread
What You Need In Your Kitchen
- Cookie Sheets
- Muffin Tins
- Cake Pans
- Bread Pans
- Rolling Pin
- Dough Cutter/Scraper
- Biscuit Cutters
- Parchment Paper
- Measuring cups and spoons
- 12- Inch Whisk and 9-Inch Whisk
- Danish Whisk
- Pizza Cutter
The Best Foods You Need In Your Pantry
Of course, there are more items we can stock, but today it’s about teaching our kids and grandkids how to bake, which I feel is critical.
1. Flour (bread, all-purpose, or gluten-free 1:1)
Here’s the deal, with this list I have today if you can make tortillas, biscuits, dinner rolls, or bread, you can survive. Please teach your family to make bread of all types. You can serve it with homemade soup to fill the belly.
I’ve grown to love bread flour. I find it works great for all the things I make using flour as an ingredient. Thank goodness we don’t have any family members with gluten issues, so I’m good to go with what’s in my pantry.
I try to use the bread flour I buy within 12 months. Costco is usually where I get the bread flour to use. I do store wheat as one of my pantry staples for its long shelf life, and I have a wheat grinder as a backup plan if the flour isn’t available.
2. Cornmeal and Maseca Corn Flour (store in the freezer)
There’s cornmeal for cornbread, and if we have Maseca cornflour (they make it gluten-free), you can make the most delicious corn tortillas on the planet. In case you missed this post, How To Make Homemade Corn Tortillas
This one is simple, make oatmeal for breakfast, make oatmeal muffins, and use oatmeal as filler to stretch ground beef in meals. Oats have been a whole-grain staple for generations. Learning to cook with oats adds a whole new opportunity to cooking from scratch.
You can make bread, dinner rolls, pancakes, pizza dough and so much more. My favorite is SAF Instant Yeast (please keep it fresh by storing it in the freezer).
5. Wheat Gluten
In case you don’t know what Wheat Gluten is, in a nutshell, it improves the texture of whole wheat bread, as well as the elasticity of the bread dough when making it. If you ever had hard red wheat bread made by grandma (we called them BRICKS), you will love this stuff. I only use hard white wheat, it has less protein than hard red wheat but it tastes much milder. Please store it in the freezer to keep it fresh.
6. Dough Enhancer
I use Dough Enhancer in my wheat bread, my white bread, dinner rolls, and my cinnamon rolls. It makes your end product soft and fluffy. It’s optional, but I always have it. Please store it in the freezer to keep it fresh.
7. Baking Soda
We need baking soda because it’s a leavening agent and helps make our cakes, cookies, and muffins, light and fluffy.
8. Baking Powder
Baking powder increases the volume of what we’re baking and lightens the texture. It makes the batter expand and bubble through leavening it.
Honey, need I say more, it’s a great sweetener for our whole wheat bread. I love it when I have a cold coming on in warm green tea with a lemon squeeze and a bit of honey. It’s perfect on a bowl of oatmeal and spread on peanut butter and honey sandwiches.
For sweeteners, I also use pure maple syrup in many of my recipes.
We need it for baking, coffee, tea, dessert recipes, and sprinkled-on cereal.
11. Brown Sugar
Brown sugar adds so much flavor to recipes, we can’t live without it. And we can make our own Brown Sugar!
12. Powdered Sugar
When I think of powdered sugar, I think of making frosting and sometimes sprinkling on cookies, candy, and gingerbread!
My mother used molasses to make her “brown bread.” I need to cut down her recipe and share it with you. You can mix molasses with white granulated sugar to make your fresh brown sugar at the last minute!
14. Cocoa Powder
Oh my, chocolate cookies, hot chocolate, hot cocoa, chocolate frosting, chocolate cake, brownies, and muffins!
15. Chocolate Chips
I can never, ever, run out of chocolate chips. I love to make chocolate chip cookies and eat chocolate chips in a bowl as a snack. Don’t forget pumpkin bread with chocolate chips, oh yeah, pumpkin with chocolate, great combination!
Do you love raisins in some bread, dinner rolls, muffins, and oatmeal? I sure do! Some of my family members are not fond of them, but I eat them as a snack!
Salt is added to enhance flavors in meals, and most recipes. It’s an inexpensive food item to stock. Please remember to not use oxygen absorbers in salt. The salt will become a brick. Keep it dry and cool and it will last many years. My favorite salts are Redmond Fine Salt, Redmond Coarse/Kosher Salt, and Himalayan Pink Salt.
We all need to store oil if we cook or bake. The biggest function of oil in baked goods is to keep your product moist, such as cakes, muffins, or cookies. Plus, who doesn’t love to make their homemade salad dressings? I realize everyone has their favorite oil for baking, cooking, and frying food. I store olive oil, coconut oil, and vegetable oil. They say that extra virgin olive oil is more healthy, so that’s what I buy for my cooking needs.
If you do much stir-frying, consider using sesame oil made from sesame seeds.
19. Canned Pumpkin
There have been years we couldn’t get pumpkin in a can. We need it for muffins, cookies, cakes, and so many other recipes!
20. Eggs (refrigerator)
We all know eggs can provide structure, leavening, richness, and color, and enhance the wonderful flavor of our baked goods. Of course, eggs are for scrambled eggs and so many other recipes.! You can purchase commercially prepared dehydrated and freeze-dried eggs and I’ll use them as a baked goods ingredient.
21. Butter (refrigerator)
Need I say more, we need butter. I freeze my butter in the packages they come in. I stock up when it’s on sale. But you can’t beat Costco’s price on butter where I live. I always buy salted butter, it’s my favorite to stock.
22. Milk (refrigerator)
Most people stock their refrigerator with milk, almond milk, or coconut milk. There are so many reasons we all need milk, for cereal, cooking, and baking food items.
You can buy commercially prepared instant milk for longer-term storage. Just be sure to check the expiration dates from time to time.
23. Cream Cheese (refrigerator)
I always have cream cheese in the refrigerator. I tried freezing it, but I didn’t like the texture. You can save money sometimes if you buy double packs (2 in a box).
24. Sour Cream (refrigerator)
Well, I confess I love dips and chips. I know, it’s not a healthy snack, but at my age, I love them. I love recipes with sour cream, including cookies, casseroles, and even a dollop on top of soup. In case you missed this post, Soft Cream Cheese Frosted Sugar Cookies
25. Evaporated Milk
My mom stocked a lot of evaporated milk. I use very little, but I do like to have about 5 cans in the pantry ready for when I need to make something. The nice thing about shelf-stable evaporated milk is that it stays good for about 2 years unopened in your pantry.
26. Sweetened Condensed Milk
My favorite way to use sweetened condensed milk is for my Caramel Popcorn recipe. I don’t overstock this item, but I do like about 5 cans in the pantry to have ready.
27. Nuts (freezer) almonds, pecans, and walnuts, and pine nuts
There are so many recipes where we can use various nuts. If we freeze them, you always have some available when needed. Bonus, they are great snacks. I love pine nuts in salads as well. I buy them once a year at Costco (without the shell). Yes, they are expensive, but you use very little in spinach salads and the crunch is the best!
28. Coconut (freezer)
I freeze my coconut to keep it fresh. It’s ready when I need it. I have the best coconut recipe, but this one is my favorite, The Best 7-Layer Bars. There are so many ways to add coconut to a muffin recipe. Sprinkle it on whipping cream frosted cakes, and so much more. Now I want to make a cake!
29. Vanilla Extract
Vanilla adds flavor to whipping cream, pie fillings, cookies, and cakes.
30. Spices (cinnamon, ground ginger, nutmeg, ground cloves) & Herbs
Baking or cooking with spices is critical to making the perfect cookies, cakes, and many other recipes! In case you missed this post, 25 Items I Recommend For Your Spice Rack
You also need a variety of herbs in your pantry. I have a spice rack where I can store my parsley, onion powder, chili powder, garlic powder, red pepper flakes, oregano, thyme, cumin, bay leaves, curry powder, cayenne powder, and more.
31. Cream of Tartar
Cream of tartar helps stabilize whipped egg whites, prevents sugar from crystallizing, and also acts as a leavening agent for so many baked goods.
It’s used when pickling liquids, making vinaigrettes, and other salad dressings. We use it as an ingredient in sauces, such as hot sauce, mustard, ketchup, and mayonnaise.
33. Pineapple (Crushed or Chunks)
I was reminded to add pineapple, oh, how I love it! You can add crushed pineapple or pineapple chunks to so many recipes. This is my favorite recipe with crushed pineapple, Pineapple Cream Cheese Dip Appetizer
You should also have other fruits and veggies as canned goods in your pantry. I like to buy my canned goods in the fall when many of the local grocery stores have “case lot sales.” You can get vegetables like corn, peas, onions, tomatoes, black beans, broccoli, and other favorites in non-perishable form as canned goods.
I also buy canned fruits, like apricots, peaches, pears, blueberries, mandarin orange slices, fruits, and cherries.
Canned meats are also good sources of protein. I have canned chicken, tuna fish, beef, and pork. It’s also wise to have some broth on hand, like chick broth. This is in case you don’t have access to fresh meat but you want that flavor in your meal preparation.
34. Chocolate Lots of Chocolate (thank you, Chris)
Dark chocolate-covered raisins, chocolate-covered peanuts, chocolate truffles, peanut butter for cookies with chocolate Hershey kisses in them. Chocolate ice cream, Chocolate M&M’s, Dark chocolate for the coconut in the freezer. Chocolate advent calendars. A day without chocolate is worse than a day without sunshine.
Pasta is a shelf-stable food that comes in so many shapes and sizes. We love spaghetti and make it at least once or twice a month. There are many options when it comes to pasta meals, and you don’t have to have an Italian background to love them.
Like pasta, rice is great for longer-term storage, and it has so many possibilities when made part of your meal planning schedule. This week, I used rice as a base and smothered it with gravies, sauces, and meats for different meals. Rice is a family favorite for us, and I’m sure yours is too.
I hope you enjoyed my thoughts today on the best foods you need in your pantry. So many families know how to bake and cook from scratch, but many don’t. I love to bake and cook, it’s my passion.
I love new recipes and new ideas. If you see something I need to add to this list, please let me know. May God Bless this world, Linda
Copyright Images: Bread Dough AdobeStock_274791136 New Africa