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Do you have no idea where to begin when it comes to stocking your pantry or simply want some pantry-packing and organization advice? You've arrived to the right location.
A well-stocked pantry is the cornerstone for stress-free cooking at home. Having the necessary equipment and supplies on hand makes it easier to get meals on the table. You'll also be more relaxed, less overwhelmed, and able to prepare more delicious meals at home! Let's get started.
On the other hand, perhaps you're the type of person who sees the staple list in the pantry and feels overwhelmed and stressed. Don't be alarmed (this is how we've felt in the past). If this sounds like you, start with our 10-recipe starter package (described above) and gradually expand your pantry and kitchen gear.
How to Organize Your Life
I used to buy odd packages of lentils, flours, and grains and utilize them furiously throughout the week when I first started cooking. By the time I opened my pantry on Friday, the items were strewn about like a jumbled mess. I'd frequently forget when an ingredient was nearly depleted or if I had an excess hidden in the back corner of my cabinet.
Does this ring a bell? Disorganization leads to tension and overwhelm, which makes it difficult to get into the kitchen to cook.
What is the solution? Many products, such as rice, quinoa, gluten-free flours, beans, nuts, and seeds, should be moved from your pantry to glass storage containers.
It not only looks nicer and is more organized, but it also saves you money by allowing you to buy in bulk (which minimizes the amount of plastic used!) and have a precise understanding of how much of each element you have and require at any given time.
We recommend labeling anything that could be confused with other things once your ingredients are at home in their new containers (such as cornstarch and arrowroot starch). Create labels for your jars using a label maker (try our initial model or our new go-to option).
And there you have it: an Instagram-worthy, well-organized, and easy-to-navigate pantry. Swoon.
Three Easy Steps to Stocked Larders
1. Before going grocery shopping each week, scan your pantry and make a note of how much you'll need to fill your jars (especially your go-to staples).
2. Fill your jars with the amount you purchased from the bulk bins.
3. To avoid deterioration, start a new jar with the freshest ingredient at the bottom and the oldest ingredient at the top (OR wait until the jar is empty before refilling) for less-frequently used goods. If you need to, make a new label for your jar.
4. Even in the best of circumstances, having a well-stocked fridge, freezer, and pantry is a good idea. However, in an emergency, whether it's due to illness, storms, or simply bad luck, having a well-stocked pantry can assist keep your family nourished and secure if you have to stay indoors for a few weeks.
5. It's crucial to understand the difference between panic shopping and being prepared. Yes, in case of quarantine, you should have enough food and supplies (including medications) to last two weeks. No, you don't need to stockpile toilet paper and other necessities.
6. We chatted with nutritionist Frances Largeman-Roth, RDN, nutrition expert and author of "Smoothies & Juices: Prevention Healing Kitchen" and Lainey Younkin, MS, RD, LDN, dietitian and founder of Lainey Younkin Nutrition about the best alternatives for stocking your larders, fridge, and freezer. Here are their suggestions, as well as a few of our own.
What you buy matters just as much as how much you spend. While it may be tempting to stock your cupboard with indulgent meals, try to stick to foods that are abundant in nutrients. A stronger immune system equals a stronger you.
"The most important thing is to consume plenty of vitamin C from canned and frozen fruits and vegetables, as well as protein and zinc from canned beans and seafood. Cereal, popcorn, rolled oats, and other whole grains play a role as well. Preparedness, not panic, is the key "Frances Largeman-Roth, RDN, agrees.
The Larders are a group of people who are known for their
Beans, dried or canned
Beans and legumes have a long shelf life and are high in protein and fiber, which help you stay full. Fill your cart with canned beans including black beans, chickpeas, and kidney beans to make bean salad, chili, or vegetarian quesadillas. Dried beans make an excellent base for pureed dips, soups, and stews after an overnight soak. For up to a year, store dried beans in airtight containers in a cool, dry pantry.
Recipes for beans and lentils are also available.
Grains and Rice
For ages, nations have relied on the magical mix of rice and beans to maintain tummies full of complete protein and nutritional fiber at an affordable price.
Rice and whole grains, such as quinoa, farro, barley, wheat berries, or bulgur, can be prepared ahead of time and used in salads and soups throughout the week, according to Younkin.
Rice and whole grains can be stored in an airtight container for up to 6 months in a cold, dry pantry or for up to a year in the freezer. Ground whole grains, on the other hand, will decay faster and can be stored in the larders for 1 to 3 months or frozen for up to 6 months.
Recipes for rice and entire grains are also available.
Vegetables with Roots and Hardy Vegetables
Many root and resilient vegetables, in addition to frozen choices, have a long shelf life and will give your family with much-needed sustenance for their larders. Potatoes of all kinds, whole carrots (baby carrots do not have the same shelf life), winter squash, cabbage heads, celery, and brussels sprouts are all good choices. Potatoes and other root vegetables should be stored in a cool, dry, dark place with plenty of ventilation. Refrigerate carrots with the green tops removed, celery wrapped in foil, and brussels sprouts on their stems for two weeks in an open plastic bag.
Stocks and broths are two types of stocks.
Cans, cartons, and space-saving bouillon pastes and cubes are all available for stock and broth. They're a versatile base for soups, stews, and risottos, as well as a flavor boost for sauces. Look for low-sodium varieties so you can adjust the salt and other flavors to your preference.
Fish in cans or jars for your pantry
If you don't have access to fresh meat or chicken, consider tinned fish as an alternative. Salads and croquettes made with tinned tuna and salmon are delicious and nutritious. As an appetizer on crackers or as an ingredient in pasta sauces or rice dishes, a tin of sardines offers a savory punch. In addition, canned salmon is high in zinc, which helps to promote immunity and is a good supplement to a heart-healthy diet.
Vegetables in Cans
Corn and peas are always good canned vegetables to keep on hand, but canned tomatoes are your pantry's hero in every situation. Purchase a variety of tomatoes, including diced, crushed, and whole tomatoes. Even in season, they are typically more flavorful and soft than fresh tomatoes, and they serve as the foundation for anything from soups to sauces.
Canned Soup Having canned soup on hand for quick and easy dinners is a terrific idea. Condensed soups save space in the refrigerator, but ready-to-eat soups eliminate the need to add water that could be used for something else.
Pasta Sauce in a Jar
A jar of pasta sauce can be used to make a dinner with just a pot of cooked pasta or rice, but it can also be used as a well seasoned base for other meals. For example, prepare minestrone with chicken stock and chopped veggies, simmer rice in the sauce for a rich tomato side dish, or top baked potatoes with it.
Dried pasta is one of the greatest items to keep on hand because it is shelf-stable, available in a variety of shapes and sizes, and has a diet-specific version. Furthermore, pasta pairs well with a wide range of flavors, allowing it to be used in everything from traditional Italian to Pan-Asian cuisines. It can be served hot or cold, as an ingredient in a bigger dish, or as the star of the show once it's been prepared.
Related: All pasta recipes may be found here.
Rice Cakes, Crispbreads, and Crackers
These pantry basics are a must-have snacking item. To avoid going stale, store them in sealed containers.
Condiments and Cooking Oil
Condiments like mayonnaise, mustard, relish, vinegar, spicy sauce, and soy sauce are essential to keep in your pantry. Read the labels to see which sauces can be kept in the pantry after being opened and which should be kept in the refrigerator.
To save money and space, learn how to make your own salad dressing.
Spices, salt, and pepper
Determine what you use the most and keep it on hand.
Garlic and onions for your fridge and freezer
To assist boost the flavor, buy aromatics like onions, garlic, ginger, and chili peppers, which will keep for a long time in your fridge or a cold area in your house. Onions and garlic should be kept in a cool, dry, dark place with plenty of air circulation. They should not be stored in plastic bags since the humidity can promote mold or rot.
Baking Ingredients
You'll have some free time to bake, so stock up on all-purpose and bread flours, as well as bottled yeast for baking bread, and make sure your baking powder and soda are current. Keep flour in the freezer in airtight containers for long-term storage. Get a lot of eggs because they're fantastic for meals and baking, and they keep for a long time in the fridge.
Nuts for the pantry
Having a variety of nuts on hand will be a vital addition to your pantry, whether for a fast snack, a topping, or baking. Almonds, walnuts, and peanuts are all excellent choices, but so are cashews and hazelnuts. Because fresh nuts contain natural oils that degrade with time, it's best to keep them in the fridge or freezer.
Butters made from nuts
Peanut butter is an easy source of protein that is convenient to keep on hand, especially for youngsters or while you're on the road. Other nut butters to consider are almond butter, which is a nice variation, and tahini sesame paste, which can be used to make homemade hummus or salad dressings.
Snacks for the Larder that are more nutritious
Having a lot of sweets and junk foods on hand might provide a persistent temptation when combined with boredom. Pretzels and popcorn are healthier alternatives to chips for salty snacks, and instead of candy, consider dark chocolate squares or fruit leathers.
Milk that can be stored for a long time
Shelf-stable milk, whether dairy or plant-based, is an useful thing to keep on hand. Although some must be refrigerated once opened, always read and follow the packaging instructions. In your coffee, evaporated milk in a can can be a decent substitute for half and half.
Coffee/Tea If you're a regular at your neighborhood coffee shop or tea shop, make sure you have enough supplies at home to get your daily fix.
Frozen Vegetables from the Freezer
If you don't have access to a grocery store, you may still cook a well-balanced lunch with plenty of vegetables by shopping the frozen food section. Having a well-stocked freezer will help you maintain a diet rich in plants, from basic frozen veggies like broccoli or peas to beta-carotene-rich carrots and squashes and mainstays like frozen chopped onion. Because you'll be missing fresh lettuce after a few days, stock up on leafy greens like frozen spinach, kale, or collards for your larders.
Fruit that has been frozen
When you have frozen fruit on hand, you can create fresh smoothies with simply a blender, and there's no better time to learn how to make homemade pies and jam than when you're at home all day.
Recipes for frozen fruit can be found here.
Bread that has been frozen for use in larders
Whole unsliced sourdough loaves, fruit and nut loaves, english muffins, and bagels are the best breads to freeze. Specialty breads, such as Ezekiel bread, should be kept in the freezer in any case.
The Cheese Larders in the Fridge
Hard and aged cheeses like Parmesan, Cheddar, and Swiss, as well as cured meats like ham, bacon, and salami, will last a long time in your fridge if properly covered.
Eggs keep nicely in the refrigerator and can be used at any time of day. From your morning scramble to your lunchtime quiche, to your dinnertime fried rice, and everything in between, there's a baking project for you. You can keep some raw for cooking and some hard-boiled for snacking or making an easy egg salad.
Citrus and Apples
Fresh fruit might be tricky, but apples and citrus fruits keep well in the refrigerator. Dried fruits of all kinds are great for snacks and are high in fiber if you need a self-stable backup. If you're stocking up on canned fruit, look for ones that are 100 percent juice and not syrup, or all-natural apple sauce with no added sugar.
Cottage Cheese/Yogurt
These dairy protein powerhouses keep for up to a month in the fridge, make delicious breakfasts or snacks, and can even be used to make pancakes or sauces.
You don't want to run out of butter if you're going to be baking or cooking. Look for half-stick brands and keep them in the freezer, taking out what you need as you need it.
Medicines for Larders and the Rest of the House
Preparing your medical cabinet is just as important as prepping your pantry, so keep a two-week supply of any drugs or vitamins you take on hand, as well as your favorite flu and cold relief medications on hand for any seasonal illnesses.
If you have children, keep a supply of diapers, formula, and canned and bottled items like Pediasure and Pedialyte on hand in case they become ill and require a quick intake of protein or electrolytes.
Finally, if you are stuck at home for a few weeks, you will most likely be less active than usual, so try to get out as often as possible. Walking around the house, stretching, doing yoga, dancing around the room, or using an app or online workout video can all help you stay healthy and reduce stress.
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