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Even in the best of times, keeping a well-stocked supply of non-perishable foods in larders is a smart idea, and it's especially critical in emergency situations. However, there is never a good reason to hoard. Others require food as well, and not everyone can afford to fill their cart entirely at once.
First and foremost, you must understand what you are purchasing. As a result, you should start reading the ingredients on everything you buy.
Overall, the most important thing to know when trying to restock your pantry with healthy foods is how to detect common food additives.
Put all of the products that didn't make the cut in a box to donate to a local food bank. Unfortunately, not all food is created equal, and the food business is to blame for this disaster. To put it another way, I think it's a waste to throw food away. It's probably better to donate it to a food bank that helps individuals who don't have access to food. Whether or not you give away food is entirely up to you!
Don't join the throngs of people waiting in line at the supermarket without a shopping list. To store your larders for at least two weeks, print and use our handy list above as a guide.
"What do my family and I like to eat?" is the next question to consider. Make sure you're purchasing items that you already enjoy. No one will be helped by stocking up on Vienna sausages or canned asparagus that no one wants to eat. Instead, seek for foods that may be transformed into a favorite meal or used as a stand-alone element.
Determine how many people will be dining and how many meals, including snacks, each person will require each day before preparing the grocery list. If you're self-isolating, you'll almost certainly be preparing all of your meals. A simple 15- to 16-ounce can of beans, for example, may be divided into four servings, which is ideal for a household of two adults and two small children. So, if beans are served once a day for a week, you'll need seven cans.
Take this into consideration if someone likes peaches but despises canned pineapple. When only one person enjoys chicken noodle soup, there's no need to buy ten cans. Also, if someone is a vegetarian or has dietary restrictions, please sure to mention it when purchasing items to stock the pantry. Consider the pantry space you'll need to store everything. If there isn't a dedicated space for it all, overstocking the pantry can lead to a lot of food hanging around where kids, animals, sunshine, moisture, and anything else can get to it.
Some canned vegetables are better than others in terms of taste. Canned tomatoes, for example, taste like ripe tomatoes, whereas most canned peas are mushy and bland. When tossed into a casserole or stew, canned corn or green beans work nicely, but the carrot version may be too soft for even cooked applications. It's also a good idea to check the ingredient list on canned foods to see whether there's any extra salt or sugar.
Food in jars will keep for a long time, especially if kept in a dark, cool place. Peaches are delicious cooked this way, and they lend a sweet fruitiness to a kid's meal or a bowl of oatmeal. Jams and marmalade will last for years, and if you add peanut butter to the mix, you'll have a simple lunch for weeks. Don't forget the pickles; this way of preservation gives meals a vivid saltiness. From beets to garlic to okra, almost everything may be pickled.
Carbs should always be on hand. Many of them can be kept in larders for a long time. This type of food not only keeps for a long time. For bread and baked items, you should have adequate all-purpose and other flours. Pasta is inexpensive and comes in a variety of shapes and sizes, such as spaghetti, farfalle, shells, rigatoni, and so on. Don't ignore orzo, a wide grain of rice-like pasta that's easy to toss into soups, combine with roasted vegetables, and season with Parmesan and pepper.
It's never a bad idea to keep a large bag of rice on hand. It lasts a long time and can serve a large number of people. There are a variety of rice varieties to choose from, including wild, forbidden, brown, and basmati.
Oats are a great option because they can be sweet or savory. Cornmeal is great in cornbread, pancakes, breading, and polenta, to name a few.
Grains can be stored in the pantry as well, although they don't last as long and must be kept in a sealed container. These require more of a strategy to use, such as granola or porridge.
Proteins from the Fridge
While canned beans are excellent, dried beans keep better if kept in a cold, dry place. Stock up on a variety of different legumes and prepare chili, stews, dips, and cassoulet while hunkering down at home. Keep a can or container of tahini on hand with the dry chickpeas so you may make protein-rich hummus whenever you want.
Though it may appear strange at first, meat performs well in larders as well. In a dry, dark environment, aged salami and jerky can last months, and even longer in the fridge. Stocking up on canned or jarred seafood is also a good idea. Tuna is a natural choice, but canned salmon, smoked oysters, sardines, and anchovies can all be used to add solidity and umami to a variety of pasta and rice dishes.
Not to mention SPAM, canned ham, canned chicken, and other deviled meats in cans. On the shelf, all of these last a long time. Also look for tinned corned beef, which can be tossed into a frying pan for a quick and easy hash right out of the pantry.
Fresh foods should not be overlooked.
Fresh meals are still available and can be preserved for weeks or even months if properly handled. Look around your store: the non-refrigerated vegetables are the ones to rely on here. Root vegetables, potatoes, onions, garlic, hard squashes, lemons, and apples are the most common. All of these foods will stay in a cold, dry, dark place for a long time. This was once known as the root cellar, but since most modern homes lack one, potatoes, yams, and shallots can be stored in the pantry.
Ingredients for Baking and Cooking
While the foods listed above can all be eaten raw, it's also a good idea to have items in the pantry that can be used in cooking or baking. When unopened or stored in an airtight container, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and spices can keep a long time (here's how to tell if they're still good). Olive and vegetable oils should also be stored in the pantry. Don't forget the vinegar, both a good balsamic or apple cider vinegar (for salads, finishing a dish, or mixing into beverages) and white vinegar (for anything else).
Ree Drummond believes that having a well-stocked pantry, freezer, and refrigerator is a must—a truth that every homebody will appreciate. "Because I never like to get in my car and go anyplace (don't be like me; I have issues, man), I try to structure things such that I have a stockpile of basic staples that I buy in bulk occasionally, twice, or three times a year," she says. "Then I just add fresh items as needed (milk, bread, eggs, fresh veggies, meat, etc.)."
Even for those of you who are fine with leaving your house every now and again, a well-organized pantry is a necessary. In fact, it's your secret weapon for cooking experiences that are both quicker and more cost-effective. After all, no one like having to dash to the supermarket to prepare a meal that could have been prepared in 30 minutes. Those frantic, last-minute trips to town will be a thing of the past with all of the necessary supplies, sauces, and condiments already on hand.
It's vital to remember that each chef and home cook has their own approach to things, and that every household must account for specific dietary constraints and lifestyle patterns. After all, it's your pantry! Still, with a few modifications here and there, Ree's personal requirements list could be a great place to start.
You'll want to make sure you can actually find all of those delicious necessities now that you've packed your larders with them.
That's when a system of organizing comes in handy. Remember that after you start cooking and baking with these goods, your pantry will appear a lot different than it did when you first started putting it together. To stay usable, it'll need all the aid it can get!
It's a good idea to "decant" (or, in this case, "de-can") your items into clear glass or plastic bins so you can see the contents more clearly. This will not only speed up the process of finding the proper ingredients, but it will also serve as a built-in stock indicator. When the limited quantities of flour, sugar, or dried beans are sitting there in plain sight, you won't be able to ignore the fact that you're running out.
Finally, if you want to keep your new larders system in good shape and avoid becoming bored with it, sprucing it up a little can help! Yes, making your pantry attractive is more than a pleasant afterthought; it may even motivate you to keep it organized month after month. Installing old drawer knobs, painting on a neat chalkboard wall, and other ideas include adding shelf liners for a splash of color and charm, and so on. You'll be amazed at how much of a difference it makes.
This list of pantry essentials not only tells you what should be in your pantry, but it also gives you ideas for how to use those pantry staples for healthy eating. We've also included helpful information for a gluten-free pantry, a paleo pantry, and a vegetarian pantry, so our advice can be used by almost anyone.
Have you ever returned home from work with the intent and motivation to prepare dinner at home, only to discover an empty cupboard and no ingredients? Cooking at home can seem doable at times, but it's when I make that extra stop at the grocery store on the way home that I lose steam. Making ensuring you have a few pantry staples on hand can be the difference between making something from scratch and ordering from Postmates once more.

Larders Staples to Stock Your Kitchen
This is a list of pantry staples that I prefer to keep on hand to help me prepare meals quickly. They're common, basic, and flexible ingredients that are usually inexpensive and have a lengthy shelf life (pantry, refrigerator, or freezer). As you begin to cook on a regular basis and establish favorite dishes or flavors, your unique list will take shape. In the meanwhile, utilize this list as a guide to gradually stocking your pantry. You are not need to purchase everything at once! Purchase one or two products as needed, but check to see if you need to refill these items before doing your weekly shopping.
The least expensive and most adaptable products in your kitchen are usually dry commodities. If at all possible, I prefer to purchase these things in bulk bins to reduce packaging and to purchase any number required. Don't worry if you don't have elegant storage containers for your dry products. A heavy-duty food storage bag with a zip closure would suffice. Simply keep them dry, cold, and out of direct sunlight because flavors and freshness do not endure indefinitely.
Oils, vinegars, and sauces are necessary for bringing your cuisine to life. They give flavor and zing to any dish and can be used to make a million different dressings and sauces to liven up even the most mundane dishes. Again, these are quite simple and affordable goods, and the majority of them have an exceptionally long shelf life. When you're just starting out, don't worry about spending a lot of money on high-quality items. You may not be able to discern the difference between generic and high-end until you gain more experience in the kitchen and your taste develops. Stick to what you can afford and you'll still be able to prepare delicious meals!
In the larders, I have an armory of herbs and spices. They have the ability to transform bland, flavorless food into a mouthwatering dish. Spices have a long shelf life if maintained in an airtight container away from heat and light. Although there is no definite expiration date for herbs and spices, sniffing them is an useful way to gauge their effectiveness. If you can't smell your spices, chances are you won't be able to taste them in your dish. Look for spices offered in bulk (which is becoming more popular in grocery stores) and international grocery stores for exceptionally fresh and inexpensive spices.
I like to maintain a variety of frozen vegetables on hand instead of trying to keep a variety of fresh vegetables on hand (keep dreaming, Beth). Frozen vegetables are the next best thing to fresh because they don't include any added salt or preservatives (just avoid the ones that come with a sauce). They're always there, ready to be tossed into a soup, casserole, pasta dish, or even pizza, without having to worry about them going floppy and stinking up the fridge.
Having well-stocked refrigerators and larders is equivalent to having money in the bank. You'll be equally prepared to create a family-friendly meal or a last-minute dinner for friends if you have basic items on hand. The secret is to figure out what to buy in bulk and what you'll probably never use.
Consider the list below a basic guide; only you can decide what's vital according on your preferences, repertoire, and needs. Trying to eat less meat? Instead of Italian sausage, use frozen wild-caught shrimp. You don't care for peanut butter? Instead, pick up a tub of hummus. The goal is to have enough protein and robust veggies to make several substantial meals, as well as some tasty condiments and seasonings to keep things interesting (even on a school night).
Whatever you choose to put in your cart, you can feel assured that you'll never have to call spaghetti with butter dinner again — unless that's exactly what you want.
Even though life is hectic, supper does not have to be. Even on the busiest weeks, when going at the grocery store isn't possible, a well-stocked pantry is the best way to assure you'll have everything you need to create a healthy and flavorful supper every night. To keep your kitchen dinner-ready, mix classic pantry mainstays (like canned tomatoes, chicken broth, and canned beans) with flavor-boosting convenience items (like herb mixes, soy sauce, and jarred pesto). There's no need for pricey takeout when you have everything you need in your pantry to create a healthy dinner at home.
Many of the products you'll need to produce healthy recipes are included in our kitchen pantry list, as well as a few extras that will make impromptu dinners easier and more enjoyable. Start with the fundamentals when constructing a healthy pantry from scratch, then as you explore new recipes and cooking techniques, gradually expand your pantry with some of the additional "Beyond the Basic" goods.
Don't have a lot of space in your pantry to stock? You may narrow down this list to your go-to foods, the ones you'll most likely utilize in meals again and again. You can store a smaller kitchen pantry cabinet in this manner without crowding your restricted space.
For quick marinades, salad dressings, pan sauces, and more, they're essential. This selection of cupboard and larder basics will help you replace convenience meals that are often high in sodium, sugar, and other unneeded components if you're a health-conscious cook. (We're talking about you, bottled salad dressing.)
Extra-virgin olive oil, for example, is best used in raw dishes like salad dressings or drizzled on cooked poultry and fish. (Olive oil has a low smoke point, so it will burn quickly on a hot pan or grill.) Canola oil, on the other hand, is a high-quality oil that can withstand high temperatures. When it comes to extending your pantry or larders, flavorful nut and seed oils are next on the list; they provide a unique flavor to salad dressings and stir-fries.
This list of seasonings also contains aromatics, which are the foundation of many cuisines. Onions and garlic, for example, are the first foods you put in the pot (with canola oil) to begin simmering. They give depth of flavor and heaviness to a variety of meals, including quick ones, so having them on hand can help you quickly transform a simple tomato soup into a satisfying tomato-y veggie-grain soup.
They also keep well, so you can keep them on hand for a long time, and they transition from season to season—in winter, in soups and stews, and in spring and summer, in light grain sides. You can turn simple chicken breasts into crispy oven-fried pieces, leftover steak into a filling burrito bowl, or make black-bean patties in a pinch using some of these cupboard and fridge staples.
The word "kitchen pantry" or "larders" refers to both cold and dry storage in the kitchen. These ingredients should be kept on hand in your refrigerator because they can be utilized for a variety of quick dinners. For example, yogurt is a delicious snack, but it may also be used as a dipping sauce for fish or pig, or as a dressing for falafel or shawarma. Eggs are a common ingredient in many recipes, but they may also be the star of quick omelets and frittatas.
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