You might consider taking a good look into your pantry… what you’ve got on hand, what do you use most often and what’s lacking?
Then, if you have them, take a look at your most recent grocery receipts – most stores give enough description for you to cipher what’s on the receipt. This is probably the easiest way to start a food pantry shopping/stock list. A well stocked pantry is invaluable for many reasons — not only does it save you a great deal on so many levels, you also have many more options for mealtimes, unplanned extra dinner guests and a “rainy day” stash. So, stocking a pantry really makes ¢ents bcz good planning really will save you time and money. Now, you may already do this, and if so, you know what I mean. But, on the other hand, but if you haven’t done this, or don’t have much experience or incentive to do so, maybe I can encourage you a little bit, prod you along a little bit — it’s really easy to get started and to build little by little here and there — you’ll be pleasantly surprised how easy this is (and how glad you’ll be to have it underway). It’s sort of like another idea I’ve shared from time to time regarding building a freezer meal reserve (by occasionally doubling or tripling recipes: serving one and freezing one or two). As you’re able, whenever you grocery shop, buy an additional item or a few additional items. With this in mind each time, you’ll be shopping more wisely as you’ll be more apt to shop from a prepared list. Occasionally you might plan to buy two of each item: storing one, using one.
Now, the quantities of the foods in your pantry will be entirely up to you and to your family’s needs. Stored in large glass jars or Food-Saver bags or Seal-a-Meal bags and/or other food storage containers (of course, commercially packaged or canned goods will have a longer shelf life, for the most part). Any or all on the following list (use it as a springboard to make your own!) — depending on your family food preferences and other dietary needs and what you/they really do like and really will eat. It’s foolish to simply stock up on what lasts longest or stores best if you/your family will not actually like or eat it… and you’ll regret it. This is not a TEOTWAWKI (the-end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it) list — it’s a “consider the ant” list, it’s a prepared mother’s prudently planned pantry list. Thus, when you shop, think: PPP :o)
- Rice, Quinoa, Couscous, Assorted dry beans (navy, pinto, kidney, black, red, pink, garbanzo), Lentils, Assorted noodles – pasta (think of a variety your family likes)
- Tomatoes (sauce, whole, stewed, pureed, diced)
- Chicken, Vegetable, Beef, Tomato stock (home canned or purchased)
- Canned meat – tuna, salmon, beef, chicken chili, turkey (home canned or purchased)
- Canned sauce (home-canned or grocery) Spaghetti, hollandaise, marinara, flavoured oils
- Canned vegetables, pumpkin, peas, navy beans, chili beans, black beans, pintos (I don’t store too many canned beans since we have all these in dry form — saves space, etc).
- Additional canned items such as olives, water chestnuts, artichoke hearts, capers, peppers, chiles, etc.
- Canned fruits (home-canned or grocery) peaches, pears, plums, applesauce, pineapple, etc.
- Seasonings, Sea salt, Pepper, Assorted spices — (consider what you most commonly use in your recipes) cinnamon, cayenne, curry, garlic salt, dehydrated onion and garlic, etc., etc.
- Sauces, hot sauce, salsa, ketchup, mustard, pickles, mayonnaise
- Vanilla, Almond, Peppermint, Lemon, Maple extracts
- Honey, Agave nectar
- Olive Oil, Vegetable Oil, Coconut oil, Shortening, Balsamic Vinegar, White Vinegar
- Powdered milk, buttermilk, evaporated milk
- Jelly and Jam — so easy to make
- Cereals (package well for freshness) oatmeal, farina, rice
- Dried fruits, fruit leather, raisins, chocolate chips, coconut, Jell-o, pudding mix
- Baking Cupboard supplies: Wheat berries (if you have a grinder — highly recommended), flour, cornmeal (rotate often), sugar, baking soda, baking powder, cornstarch, condensed milk, raw sugar, golden and dark brown sugar, powdered sugar, condensed milk (sweetened and unsweetened), molasses, sorghum, corn syrup, gelatin, tapioca
- Peanut butter, Almond butter, Nutella (be sure to rotate these often)
- Nuts and seeds — also rotate frequently as these tend to spoil more rapidly due to the oil content.
- Coffee, teas, hot-chocolate mix
- Paper products, towels, napkins, plastic bags, wraps, foil, etc.
- Well stocked first aid kit: Aspirin, tylenol, Grapefruit-seed extract, Garlic extract, Alcohol, Hydrogen peroxide, swabs, gauze, bandaids, teatree oil, soap, tweezers, cotton, bandages — this list could include many more items, tinctures, etc.
- Prescriptions, baking soda, apple-cider vinegar
- Personal toiletries, toothpaste, deodorant, etc., toilet paper, fem products as needed, essential oils.
- Basic cleaning: Soap, Vinegar, Baking Soda, Ammonia, Bleach, scrub-brush bucket
- Matches, Kerosene for Oil Lamps (remember wicks), Flashlights/batteries, candles, lightbulbs
- firewood, kettle, water, propane (if you have a campstove)
Keep the shelves wiped down, the jars and containers clean so that you don’t attract pests (and this gives you an opportunity to examine your ‘stock’ from time to time.
Then… be sure to have some very basic items on hand: