Recently I was asked “How do you stock a pantry?”. I was caught off guard, realizing some people actually have never developed an extended pantry. Nor do they even know where to start. They live day to day or meal to meal. In the economic climate we are in, many people are wanting to prepare their homes, and families to sustain longer term, they just don’t know where to start.
My inspiration for my pantry came from people like this lovely lady at the Seasonal Homestead
It can seem very daunting, overwhelming, costly – So how do you stock a pantry? Where do you start when you don’t have one?
Few easy steps
- Location- where are the new items going to be stored, easy access and somewhere you can easily take inventory
- Inventory – what do you already eat- likes/dislikes
- List non perishables you regularly eat & buy. Donate non perishables you already have that you don’t eat. No point in wasting if someone else can use it.
- set a reasonable weekly budget (ex: $5 extra) to spend on stocking pantry. Doesn’t need to be huge just enough to buy an item or two.
- Read the flyers- Get what’s on sale from your pantry list during a regular trip to the store. Slowly check off that list of regular non perishables DONT buy what you DONT eat.
- Low on cash, use gift cards, or points many credit cards, grocery, aeroplans use point systems – save them up and stock your pantry essentially for free with points.
- Lastly use the pantry, no use in letting food sit for years. Use the first in and first out rule and rotate your food into your kitchen when your in need – so your food stays fresh.
This is what I call the groundwork for basic working pantry. Once you have you basic pantry up and running, nice set of regular meal items on hand. Then you can extend it.
When stocking your extended pantry it is important for it to be well rounded.
Ensure your extended pantry includes items from all food groups. You never know what circumstances will make your extended pantry become a staple- having it well rounded with as natural ingredients as possible – ensures good healthy meals. Remember – buy only what your actually going to use.
Below are examples in my own pantry. i home can my produce from local farmers. But canned produce can be found at grocers if needed. Use the food you enjoy, that is local, to create an inexpensive well rounded pantry for yourself.
- Vegetables – example : canned carrots , peas , squash, potatoes
- Fruit- apple purée, canned peaches, cocktails etc.
- Grain- flours, pasta, oatmeal,
- Proteins – beans, lentil, peanut butter, canned fish & meat.
- Dairy, powder milk (for dry baking mixes) , evaporated milks,
- Other – baking supplies, food storage supplies, teas/coffees,
It is not difficult to start an pantry or even maintain and will benefit you and your family. It just takes a bit of space and dedication to building. Soon you will reap the reward and you will be able to “shop” in your own well stocked extended pantry.