stocking a pantry

Our kitchen doesn’t have very much in the way of cabinet space (yet!) and one thing I would love to have is a pantry. I visited my Gramma last weekend and while this is nothing new, I was particularly struck by her food storage capability. Not only does she have the typical fridge and kitchen cabinets full of spices, but she also has a garage with two freezers and several rows of cabinets that store dry goods. I suppose this comes from having been born during the Great Depression, and living through WWII, but like so many other things she does that my generation seems to have forgotten about, it’s a pretty smart tactic. Even if you’re not using it to store your own preserves, being able to buy in bulk or when things are on sale saves a lot of money.

(img via laboomeria’s tumblr)

So on that note, I saw a list of pantry staples over here on CheapHealthyGood and it got me thinking about what should be in mine. Here’s what I came up with, based on the above linked list. I’m concentrating on things that mostly can be stored for months.

Black Beans
Better-than-Boullion in ‘not-chicken’ and ‘mushroom’
Canned Tomatoes (mine! not the BPA laden variety)
Dried Mushrooms
Herbs & Spices: Basil, Red Pepper, Chili Powder, Oregano, Black Pepper, Garlic Powder, Cajun Spice, Tandoori Spice, Cumin, Onion Powder, Dill, Mustard Seed, Ginger, Nutmeg, Cinnamon, Lemongrass, Sea Salt, Coriander, Celery Seed
Olive Oil
Sesame Oil
Canola Oil
Rice (sushi, brown, jasmine and basmati)
Soy Sauce
Fish Sauce
Coconut Milk
Vinegar (white, apple cider, and rice wine)
Corn Meal
Corn Starch
Garlic (fresh)
Peanut Butter
Sugar: Brown, White
Vanilla Extract
Orange or Lemon extract
Rice noodles, Soba noodles
Spring Roll Wrappers
Pho base
Cocoa Powder

I know I’m forgetting some stuff, but this is a good place to start. What’s in your ideal pantry?


8 thoughts on “stocking a pantry

  1. Canned roasted red peppers.

    I described using roasted red peppers in a tuna recipe to someone recently, and she asked if those are the same as pimentos. I said I believe that pimentos are indeed what roasted red peppers were before the 90’s when they became self-important. 🙂

    But what else strikes me about good storage is that it seems to require investment in lots of containers, done properly that is. Like the picture you featured. Time, money, the inclination to stay in place for a while. All my friends move house a lot (or maybe it’s just me); I have to admit that I store a lot of dried spices in sticky, unlabeled plastic baggies with decomposing twist ties, which I then have to sort by sniffing the contents and guessing what they are. Yet I’m regularly inspired by the idea of an organized pantry.

    • I totally know what you mean about the moving house bit. I think that’s one reason my Gramma has that space, they’ve lived there since I was like 5?
      (and yes on the containers, lordy does that get expensive quickly!)

  2. Thanks for this great list! Also, I love those canisters in the photo, any idea where they are from or where one could get them?? I’m sure they are an investment, but great in the long-run.

  3. Oooh now I have to think about my own pantry. Also, homemade mustard that’s not too fancy (i.e. no shallots or other such ingredients) will keep for a month or two un-refrigerated. If you make it in small batches,which is easy to do, you could use it fast enough that by the time it’s gone bad, it’s gone.

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