I’m a firm believer in keeping a well-stocked pantry at all times but even more so in these uncertain times. I’ve been pantry stocking in an intentional way the past several weeks and thought I would share how I’m doing it with you.
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For Uncertain Times
Each family’s pantry will look a little different. After all, we have individual likes and dislikes, dietary needs and preferences, allergies, etc. For instance, a family eating a paleo diet will have a very different pantry from that of a vegan family.
For the most part you should stock what you normally eat. On the other hand, when pantry stocking for emergencies you may include some items that are not part of your day-to-day diet. We don’t usually eat canned fruits and vegetables, preferring fresh or frozen, but in an emergency canned vegetables are better than no vegetables.
When planning your own pantry give thought to possible emergency scenarios and focus on foods that store well, are versatile, easy to prepare and offer a wide variety of nutrients.
Steps to stocking a pantry…
1. Do a thorough inventory. This a great time to clean and organize your pantry. Get a notebook and write down everything in your pantry, including quantities.
2. Decide how many you’d like to store of each item and write this list on a separate “To Buy” page. Let’s say you want to keep 6 cans of black beans on hand and you currently have 2. On your “To Buy” page write “4 cans black beans”.
3. Look at the list I’ve compiled below for ideas and add to your “To Buy” list.
4. Determine your pantry stocking budget. Don’t be discouraged if you can only afford a couple of extra items per week. Watch for sales, consider using coupons and just keep plugging away at it.
5. As you put away newly purchased items cross them off your “To Buy” list and add to your pantry inventory. Whenever you use something from your pantry, be sure to subtract it from your inventory.
Here is a list to get you started…
The following list is not exhaustive but it will give you a good starting place.
- Vegetables – green beans, corn, carrots, peas, potatoes
- Fruits – peaches, pears, apricots, mandarin oranges, pineapple, cranberry sauce, applesauce
- Beans – black, pinto, cannellini, kidney, pork and beans, chili beans
- Tomato products – sauce, paste, diced, crushed, stewed
- Tuna and other canned meats – chicken, salmon, ham
Nice to have: olives, green chilis, artichoke hearts
- Pasta – spaghetti, elbow macaroni, ziti, penne, etc.
- Egg noodles
- Rice – brown, white, jasmine, sushi
- Beans – pinto, Great Northern, red, black, etc.
- Oatmeal – For breakfast, in baking, can be made into flour
- Instant mashed potatoes – Even if, like me, you always make mashed potatoes from scratch, instant can be handy if you can’t get fresh potatoes. It can also be used as a thickener and in some sourdough recipes.
- Flour – white, wheat, cake, bread, gluten-free
- Brown sugar
- Powdered sugar
- Baking powder
- Baking soda
- Cocoa – baking
- Chocolate chips
- Egg replacer
- Dried milk
- canned evaporated milk
- sweetened condensed milk
Even if you were reduced to a diet largely consisting of rice and beans and a few other staples, a good selection of herbs, spices and other seasonings can turn these basics into tasty meals.
- bottled salad dressings or mixes
- shortening or coconut oil
Even if you always cook from scratch, a few convenience items in the pantry might come in handy. What if YOU get sick and your partner isn’t much of a cook? Include some easy-to-prepare foods in your pantry.
- Boxed mac and cheese
- Pancake mix
- Spaghetti sauce
- Canned chili
- Canned soups
Tea, coffee, instant coffee, creamer, hot cocoa – Stock your favorite hot beverages, especially if you have a serious habit. We don’t use powdered creamer but I bought a box of individual half and half creamers that don’t need refrigeration. I figure if we can’t get milk at some point we can at least enjoy our coffee and tea.
Alcohol – If you consume alcohol it’s a good idea to keep some of your favorites on hand.
Sweets, Snacks and Comfort foods:
- Jams and jellies
- Dried fruits
- Boxed cake/brownie mixes, canned icing – I normally make these things from scratch but I’ve put a few boxed mixes in my pantry anyway.
- Protein bars
This post has just focused on food but I will do another on other household items soon.
Purchasing Guides and Other Resources…
52 Week Guide to Building Your Food Storage
52 Week Food Storage Purchasing Plan
What to Stock in a Pantry to Be Prepared for Any Emergency
YouTube Pantry Stocking videos…
1mom2girls2boys8inall has been working through the 52 Week Guide to Building Your Food Storage list. Her videos provide a good example of modifying pantry lists to suit your own family.
My Life Full of Hope is another YouTube channel I’ve been watching for pantry stocking videos.
Prepping Our Pantry For What’s Ahead
You may also enjoy…
Emergency Preparedness: The Basics
Rice, Bean and Lentil Recipes: Pantry Meals
I don’t have the space to stock a lot of anything, but always have rice, beans, herbs, and spices, along with a few other things, and always replace my canned and dried goods if they’re running low. If nothing else, I’ll be able to make oatmeal with different dried fruits and syrups or spices in it, chilli, lentil or jackfruit curry with rice, and rice and beans seasoned different ways. 😉
Deanna Piercy says
It sounds like you make good use of your available space. You live so close to shops that there isn’t likely as much incentive to stock up anyway. I’ve already decided that when we downsize, and will likely be in town, I’ll keep a much smaller store of foods on hand. Unless there’s a looming “situation” like we might be facing this fall/winter with COVID-19.