Image credit – Peter Bernik/shutterstock.com
Author – Jerry Robinson
If you’re a self-confessed food nut like me you’ll know how frustrating it can be to run out of something when you’re in the middle of cooking a meal. It’s an experience that’s happened more times than i’d care to admit. About a year ago I finally decided to stock up – and I love it! So i’ve put together this article to give you some tips on what foods to include in your pantry and how to keep them organised.
Instead of grabbing a bowl of cereal in the morning, I usually spend forty-five minutes cooking the most important meal of the day. I often miss lunch since I tend to eat a late breakfast but dinner will be an event most of the time. However, there have been times I did not have the benefit of being able to keep everything stocked to the hilt. It is during these times, a person needs to reevaluate what the necessary basics are and what one should have on hand to cook up a nutritious meal. Even though our appetites vary, keeping certain staples around is a must; a well-stocked pantry can prevent catastrophe!
The items kept in the pantry can be the basis of any good meal. I cannot help but think of the old west when chuck wagons always had beans, flour and salt so they could make something on the go. Meat was often a luxury. These prairie meals did not include the four basic food groups, but they did take away the hunger pains of the crew. Thankfully we’ve come a long way since then!
Today there are at least five types of foods you should always have available:
- Canned goods
- Flavourings like garlic, salt, oil (olive or vegetable), sugar and flour for breading or baking
- Condiments such as mayonnaise, ketchup and mustard.
Ideally, you will have some sort of protein or dairy products in the fridge to use with your pantry items; these could include ground beef, chicken, eggs and milk. Also, with the right canned goods, you could make a nutritious and flavourful meal. I can envision dishes like chilli, Spanish rice, spaghetti, tuna casserole; the list goes on. Keep in mind these are just the basics – for those who really want to stay ahead of the game a well-stocked cupboard, pantry, fridge, freezer and dry vegetable bin is the way to go.
To your canned goods section you would have your assorted beans like kidney, white, chickpeas and black. I’d also recommend whole and chopped tomatoes, a nice broth, and some long lasting fish like tuna or salmon. These are especially handy as they can last for years and are packed full of protein and healthy fats.
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Spices are a must for any pantry and can accumulate over time. If you’re just setting up there are some basic ones you should always keep on hand. Of course, salt and pepper need not be discussed. Depending on your palate and your preferred type of cuisine, you may want to consider a few from the list below:
Thyme, rosemary, sage, bay leaves, oregano, cumin, ground and whole coriander, curry powder, caraway and fennel seeds, sweet and hot paprika, red chilli flakes, cayenne pepper, and chilli powder. Saffron, one of the most expensive spices on the planet, can cost more per gram than gold if you go with a high quality producer.
In your dry bin, you would want to have some varieties of potato, onions, shallots, and garlic. Pretty basic and simple.
Now your pantry is packed full of tasty ingredients, you’ll want to make sure that everything’s organised. The image below shows a good example of a well organised food store. There are numerous articles on what items to put where, how to add or adjust shelving, what types of containers to use and so on.
(Image credit – theorganisedhousewife.com.au)
- If you need some motivation to tackle a messy pantry, this guide should help – about.com
- This article has a few money saving ideas that will make the room a lot easier to use and navigate – quickquid.co.uk
- Finally, this one has all the basics covered and is good for an overview – theorganisedhousewife.com.au
Once everything is in place and you’re well stocked, the fun can begin. I usually buy two of everything to start with, and then replace an item once I use it. I try new recipes at least once a week so that I can build up my own recipe list. It seems every other television programme is a new cooking show so there is no shortage of ideas. However, if you’re ever stuck we’ve got a few of our own here.
Here at EatBig we would love to supply you with any of your pantry needs. We are a bulk retailer based in the UK that specialises in case-packed or catering sized items. We continue to expand our range of items to accompany our core of customers that have offered tremendous support since we started. Visit our online shop and give us a chance to fill your pantry at the most competitive online prices in the UK.
Finally, i’d love to hear from you – Is there anything i’ve missed? Let me know in the comments below.