Friday, January 24

Pantry Stocking List

Easy and Doable Pantry Stocking List
My sister Julie Buskirk is my guest blogger today. 
She emailed me an idea for blog post a few months back about a list to stock a pantry or making a food “staples” list.  She had also sent her email to a local newsletter and they printed it. 
Here is her guest blog post:
Pantry Stocking:

These days, there doesn't seem to be many cookbooks talking about lists of basic "Staple” food items families should have on hand in the kitchen or pantry.  I have a few older cookbooks I started out my young married life with.  

Those cookbooks taught me what I needed to stock up on first, before teaching me cooking techniques and recipes.

So many brands we swore by in years past are now bad for us, but the good news is there are certain staple food items that still hold true and are still very relevant, with just a few little adjustments!

Teaching households that are on limited incomes how to stock staple food items in the kitchen, cupboards or a pantry should be the first cooking lesson a family learns.  It's a true life saver in these budget conscious times and is easy on the wallet.

I came from a large family of thirteen: 9 girls and 4 boys. Not all living in my parents 3 bedroom house at the one time, mind you.  Some of the older ones were either married, off to college or grown, living out on their own.  

Julie is in the flower dress, Elizabeth, the littlest one in underwear, yikes!

Growing up poor and living through the cold winter months in Ohio was not always easy.   It would be rough sometimes getting to the store in the snow, and many days we were lucky if we even had heat.
Our father worked for a large government company building aircraft and made an decent living, but the paychecks never seemed to go very far with so many kids.  He always said he made more than anyone on our street, which looking back, I now realize everyone else in that neighborhood was as poor as we were.
But somehow we were always able to scrape together enough food or a meal because my mother had stocked the "Staple" foods.  You can always make something out of nothing, when you know what to always have on hand is a lesson many families do not know today.  With all the fast food, processed foods and food on demand, families barely even know how to cook anymore. 

With the threat of more severe storms, food shortages, electrical outages, flooding and possible economic collapse, we need to know what to keep stocked in case of emergencies. 

These types of staple foods can be afforded by anyone, including people on fixed incomes, one income families, retirement income, government assistance or unemployment.
Families who make sure they have food staples stocked and ready will also be better prepared during an emergency situation.

Once when we were small, we were all home from school on a cold snowy winter day.   Being kids we always felt like we were staving, and that cold day more that any other.  We begged our mother to make us something warm and delicious.  We had very little money but our mother was able to whip up homemade cornbread and a huge pot of homemade potato soup.   All with ingredients she already had stocked in her kitchen and it was the most wonderful meal ever, to us anyways.

I found myself in that same situation years later when my kids were little and home from school. My kids still talk about that day, how I was able to make us such a good meal, when we had very little money and they didn’t see anything in the kitchen to cook!
Families need to be taught again how to buy smart and stock the staple food items needed to make meals to feed their families.  My children are grown now, but I still keep the "staples" on hand and am prepared if I need to whip something up or even if there's a storm or electrical power outage......but I may need to pick up a few candles.

Julie Buskirk,
Fort Lauderdale, Florida

So, I took my sister Julie’s pantry stocking list and compared her list to my own.  It was remarkably (and eerily) similar to mine!  I also ask for suggestions from a few other friends and family, and put together an easy list of pantry items or "staple foods".
Remember: there is no one-pantry-list-fits-all-type list.  Feel free to tweak this list with items you use most often.  Also, the list doesn’t usually state organic, natural or brand names, and although I try to buy organic, natural and items with few ingredients, I’ll leave that choice up to you.

It is also important to note that The Red Cross and other websites are recommending at least a 2 week stockpile of food, with 2 quarts of water per person per day. 

Pantry Stocking List:

• Beans: canned and dried, dark and light kidney beans, spicy chili beans, great northern, lentils

Ideas: Quick burritos, use in chili, soups and stews, in salads

• Rice: 

White, long grain, whole grain, and box mixes.  
Ideas:  Rice is good with anything just about, great in soups, stews and made into pudding.  Add to meatloaf, stuffed peppers and even dressing at Thanksgiving.

• Oatmeal, Pancake Mix and Box Cereals:
Boxed cereal.  Instant, whole and flavored oatmeal.
Ideas: breakfast, use on yogurt or to make granola, add to cookies, fruit crumbles and bread

• Herbs and Spices:

I love spices, I have dozens.  The ones I probably use the most and in no particular order are:
Sea salt, Kosher Salt, garlic salt, garlic, minced garlic, garlic, course ground black pepper, did I say garlic, chili pepper, cumin, parsley, Italian seasoning, oregano, thyme, cilantro, cayenne pepper, mustard powder, rosemary, paprika, chopped chives, Cajun seasoning, liquid smoke, basil. 
I also like pre-mixed seasonings for meat, just check to make sure there are no additives or preservatives. 
• Baking Supplies:
Flour:  Self Rising, All Purpose, Wheat, Bread
Sugars:  Light and Dark Brown, Granulated and Powdered
Baking Soda and Powder
Flavorings: Vanilla, lemon, orange, almond, butter
Cooking Spray
Olive Oil and other oils
Panko Bread Crumbs
Raw Honey
Cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger
White and chocolate chips
Evaporated and Sweetened Condensed Milk
Dried fruit:  Cranberries, raisins
Nuts:  Walnut, Pecan, Pine, whole and chopped
Vinegars:  White, cider and balsamic 

• Premixed or Boxed
Pancake Mix
Yellow and Chocolate Cake mixes
Instant Icing
Corn Bread Mix
Vanilla Pudding
Crackers:  Snack and saltine
French Fried Onions
Pasta noodles:  The more types the better in my book, regular and gluten free
Annie’s Mac and Cheese

• Can or Jar:
Spaghetti Sauce
Tomatoes:  stewed, diced, flavored, fire roasted, sauce, paste
Real Maple Syrup
Tuna (although since Fukushima, I steer clear)
Soups:  Many different kinds, but always Cream of Chicken and Cream of Mushroom
Vegetables:  Green beans, corn, carrots, mixed vegetables
Black and green olives
Chicken and Beef Broth
Wine, Whiskey and Rum
Pie Fillings:  Various kinds such as apple, blackberry, cherry and peach
Barbecue Sauce
Worcestershire Sauce
Hot sauce
Pineapple: chunks, diced and slices 

• Snacks:
Salsa corn chips
Granola bars
Cashews, mixed nuts and peanuts
Peanut Butter

• Eggs:
Eggs are an amazing food and are one of the most veritable, so they get their own section. 
Ideas:  Use in Salads, fresh greens or egg salad, deviled eggs,  sandwiches,  scrambles, omelets, quiches, nearly all baking items, breads, cookies.

• Fresh Vegetables:
Onions: Red, yellow, sweet and green or leeks
Potatoes:  Red, Yukon Gold, Russet or any variety
Tomatoes: Fresh various types
Greens and Lettuce:  Many different types
Carrots: whole and mini
Green and Red Bell Peppers
Squashes and pumpkin (good storage life)

• Fresh Fruit: 
Bananas, Apples, Oranges, Lemons, Lines
Fresh, in juice and extract form.
Ideas: Breakfast, lunch, quick snacks, oatmeal mix-ins, smoothies, cookies, pies, crumbles and cooked with meat dishes. Citrus is great over fish, with chicken and added to Mexican food.

• Refrigerator:
Mustard:  Yellow, Dijon, Horseradish
Salad Dressings: Ranch tops the list with the kids
Real Mayonnaise
A-1 sauce
Fresh fruit marmalade, jams and jellies
Pickles:  sliced, quartered and whole
Pickle Relish
Real Butter
Milks: Drinking milk, Heavy Whipping Cream, Half and Half
Juices:  Apple and Orange
Cheese:  All types; shredded and block
Cream Cheese
Parmesan cheese
Lemon and Lime juice
Sour Cream
Crescent rolls

• Freezer
Meat:  Chicken, beef, pork, turkey
Frozen pizza
Frozen fruit:  such as blackberries, strawberries, raspberries and blueberries
Frozen bread: loaves, rolls, bagels, muffins, biscuits and dough
Ice Cream
Vegetables:  corn, potatoes, peas
Pie crusts
Pot Pies
Mac and Cheese
We can a lot of fresh veggies but they can also be frozen

• Drinks:
Coffee:  Instant and ground
Hot cocoa mix
Tea:  Instant and bag

• Other Things to Consider (Emergencies)
Paper towels, plastic ware and paper plates
Toilet paper
Baby Wipes
Matches and Lighters
Charcoal and Lighter Fluid (grill cooking)
Propane Tank (grill cooking)
Flashlight and/or candles
First Aid Kit
Water:  Bottle and jugs
Pet Food

• A few tips, ideas and suggestions:

First let me say, I am all for organic products.  Organic just means grown the old fashioned way, like grandma and grandpa used to, without all the pesticides and chemicals so don’t be intimidated by the word.   
But, if organic is not available for an item you need, you can’t grow it yourself or it's too costly for your budget (organic usually runs a little more) don’t beat yourself up.  Try the next best thing, start buying more natural products and read labels.  The fewer the ingredients in a product the better, and look for ingredients you can actually pronounce or recognize. 

Also purchase items catered to your family’s special needs such as allergies, diabetes, gluten free, vegan, vegetarian, etc.

Try to steer clear of additives, preservatives and high fructose corn syrup.  And don’t buy fake: no margarine, no sweeteners, etc. Use honey and other natural sweeteners. 

Many items you can keep one of on hand, but many items I prefer to keep few or even more on my pantry shelves.  Just make sure to rotate older items to the front, new to the back.  
Summer and Fall are good times to restock our pantry here in the Midwest.  Our bad weather, storms and electrical outages are usually in winter and spring.  In your area, stock the pantry in months with the least chance of emergencies and you will be ready during problem months.  

Take time to build up your pantry.  This can be spread out over a few shopping trips, adding a few extra items each time.
If an item is on sale and has a longer shelf life, try to purchase more than one.   Then you’re not at the mercy of the grocery store prices when you need an item.

Fruits and vegetables are extremely important to our diets, but availability differs depending on the season.  We have bushels and baskets of veggies in the summer months from our own garden, so what we don't eat I can and freeze.  The above list represents fruits and vegetables I try to always have on hand year round. Other vegetables I buy in season or as needed for a dish I’m making.  

Many premixed box foods are loaded with additives but there are brands that have natural ingredients. Anne’s is one we like for box and frozen Mac and Cheese.   Having a premixed or boxed item on hand really helps out if unexpected dinner guests show up and you need to stretch the dinner you made for 2 into a dinner for 4.  Box mixes are also a huge help for last minute desserts!

Our freezer also contains different types of meatfrozen fruit and vegetables, cheese and frozen breads.  We keep regular and gluten free and bread dough on hand.  Bread is one of the top comfort foods. Having bread or rolls in the freezer is wonderful if you are running just a little behind in dinner preparations or don’t have time to mix up and let bread dough rise all day.
The one downfall of a freezer? If you lose power you lose the food.  If you are able, I strongly suggest you purchase a generator.  At least one powerful enough to run the freezer and refrigerator, and possibly run a heat source if you do not have an alternative heat source lined up.

On the list you will see booze as in wine, whiskey and rum.  These ARE used in cooking, I assure you, except the wine.  Oh, ah, well, I mean the wine is used in cooking too, but I also like a glass now and again.  We also keep a bottle or two of other alcohol (usually high alcohol content vodka) in the pantry for making homemade schnapps and homemade brandy when fresh fruit is in season. Also, in a storm, booze seems to calm some of my family members down, haha.

We are spending the Alaskan like Ohio winter reading, watching movies, cooking, looking through our seed supply catalogs and making notes for next year's garden. And waiting for spring.  
Hope you are warm and well,


Other Posts:

Apple Cider Vinegar

Making Homemade Vanilla is Easy

Dry Rub Mix


Anonymous said...

Wow, this is so amazing, love the ideas, the photos, memories from our child hood days and the warmth that came over me reading this blog. Great Job!

Elizabeth said...

Thanks for the compliment! And so glad you enjoyed the blog post, thanks for stopping by