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Help set up my pantry!!!

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
What should I have in my pantry?

I want to start cooking from scratch.

Also want to start buying all organic.

Thanks mamas! Also any crunchy suggestions to store pantry items in.
post #2 of 15
Thread Starter 
Anybody home???
post #3 of 15

Staples we always have on hand

Off the top of my head, it may not be too enlightening but here's some stuff I always have on hand. I bake bread and goodies regularly, and rarely use packaged mixes of any sort. I cook from scratch often and make lots for leftovers the next day to save time. Some is organic, some is not.

Grain Staples:
Flour (whole wheat unbleached, white unbleached all purpose)
Rolled oats (instant and rough hewn)
Rice (both brown and white- I prefer basmati)
Corn meal (makes a good coating), corn starch (a thickener)
bread crumbs (for making a 'shake and bake' type coating or adding to meatballs)
Whole wheat pasta- lots of shapes for fun
(I have other grains like couscous, quinoa, barley and spelt but rarely use them)
tortillas (frozen)

Sweetener Staples:
Granulated sugar
brown sugar
real maple syrup

Leavening ingredients:
baking soda
baking powder
iodized salt
bread machine yeast (or regular yeast if you don't use a bread machine)

Oils/fats-never buy shortening
butter (as a spread and in baking)
peanut oil (frying)
olive oil (gentle sauteeing and for flavor)
canola oil (baking or frying)
flax seed or walnut oil (for omega 3 fatty acids- never cook with these, use in food after cooking or as a salad oil)
Coconut oil (frying, baking, use in place of shortening)

Other goodies I always have on hand:
walnuts, cashews, pecans, peanuts (baking, snacking, adding to stirfry, etc)
sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, raisins (add to bread, stirfry, on top of hot cereal)
wheat germ and ground flax seed (keep in fridge, sprinkle on cereal, yogurt, banana slices)
Spices- experiment with what you like
Seasoned salt, poultry rub, curry powder, buillon (makes dinner tasty quickly)

Canned/jarred goods:
assortment of canned tomato products for cooking
canned beans (faster than soaking dried beans)
evaporated milk (for creamy soups and chowders- won't break like fresh milk)
Pasta sauce, curry sauces (my favorite quick dinner)
apple sauce (we eat lots but I use it in cooking to replace some of the fat in recipes)

varieties of cheese
sour cream
cottage or ricotta cheese (the kids eat this with fruit)

I think it's easiest when trying to start a new way of eating to take small steps. Decide on what is most important to you, whether it's to start cooking from scratch or to buy organic. It's overwhelming to take a long list to the store unless you have certain meals in mind. For example, if you don't bake bread you won't need yeast. How do you see yourself cooking each night?

As for storage, I always freeze grain products when I bring them home to prevent weevils and pantry moths from infesting my house. They can be in anything and you don't know it till you have a million. After that, I store in rubbermaid containers with tight lids. Cereal is in plastic screw-top recycled bins that once held a gallon of cheese crackers. It doesn't get stale and I buy in bulk. Other foods are stored in ziplocs once I open them (corn meal, corn starch, barley etc) to prevent moths as well.
post #4 of 15
Just a question...how long do you freeze the things before storing in plastic? Does a certain length of time ensure that critters are not in there, or do you keep them frozen?
I hate the little mothlike millers (?) but I think they come in dog/cat food also.
I do store flours, sugars, etc in Tupperware containers as soon as I bring them home, should I freeze first?
post #5 of 15
I don't know precisely how long it takes to kill the eggs if they're any present. I tend to leave it in the freezer (or on our enclosed porch in the winter) until I need it. Then I tranfer to the tupperware. I'd guess it takes a day or two to make sure the whole bag has gotten cold enough, but i really don't know.

I never thought about putting the cat food in the freezer too. Good idea!
post #6 of 15
Thread Starter 
Gross.....I hate bugs!!!

The other day I went to make rice and it was full of those freaky tiny worms!!!

I almost pucked!!!

Thanks for the pantyr outline Rebecca! It is very helpful!
post #7 of 15
From http://www.cyberpestcontrol.com/pantry.htm

Cooling and Heating
When packages of food are found to be infested with moths or beetles, either low or high temperatures may be used to control the infestation. Although insects will be killed, their bodies will remain in the food unless sieved out. Insect activity ceases at temperatures of 40° to 50°F. An exposure of 2 to 3 days to temperatures of 5°F or lower kills the more susceptible stages (larvae and adults), but eggs require longer to kill (3 weeks). An alternative is to freeze the food for a week, remove it from the freezer for a few days, and then refreeze it for another week. Food materials stored in the freezer will not develop further infestations. To kill all stages of insect life by heating, expose the stored product to temperatures of 120° to130°F for 2 hours. However, the insect itself must be subjected to the heat for the required time. Be sure the center of the material being treated reaches and remains at the required temperature. To ensure rapid heat penetration, spread the material in as thin a layer as possible and stir it from time to time. If you use the oven, keep the temperature as low as possible so that the product is not scorched. The usual resulting temperature of 180°F inside an oven set on "low" causes rapid kill of insects. You can open the oven door slightly to keep the temperature from rising too high. Use a thermometer to check the temperature increase. In many cases, you can obtain the desired temperature by merely turning up the pilot light in a gas oven. To kill insects infesting dried fruit, drop the fruit in boiling water for about 1 minute. Spread the fruit to dry before storing it.
I'm so glad I found this thread... I'm redoing my entire pantry and this was a great starting point!!
post #8 of 15
I would recommend thumbing through a few of your favorite cookbooks, read the ingredients list of the recipes you gravitate to, and stock up on those ingredients. I love to cook, and I like being able to open any cookbook and have the ingredients on hand to make any recipe. Subsequently, the list of what is in my stocked pantry would be too long to be practical.

As for your "crunchy suggestions" for storing pantry items, I'm looking to get some large Mason jars. I have lots of plastic containers that I'd like to slowly phase out. And, if I get a Food Saver vacuum sealer, I can use it to vacuum seal the jars!
post #9 of 15
Thread Starter 
Well.....we are moving tonight! I get to reset up my pantry! Thanks for all of the advice mamas!

How do you sift the bugs out after freezing?
post #10 of 15
Thread Starter 
Also what is the best place to buy mason jars? All sizes...
post #11 of 15
Good question about the mason jars. They can be bought anywhere that sells canning supplies, including the kitchen section of many major discount stores. They're common items at yard sales and auctions, since there aren't as many people canning as there used to be. I found quite a few buried in my dad's garage after my parents' divorce...don't know what he was planning to do w/ them.... Maybe some other people know of better places than I have come up with.
post #12 of 15
I was just thinking about working up a pantry list. I have already listed common recipes we make and am going from there. I think it is a good idea to think of what you actually make. I always buy stuff then have to figure out how to use it. I really don't cook as many dishes as I thought.

Oh, I bought some Mason jars at Goodwill and also if you ahve older relatives they might have some they are not using, I asked dh's grandma and she had a bunch from her canning days. Wal-Mart I know sells them as well, although I try to avoid them if possible.

on the bugs, ewwwww I had brought some pasta products from a discount store and it had bugs I finally just threw it all away. I had made some Basmati rice the other day I had got from there, when I was putting up the leftovers I noticed a worm in it- I almost puked right there. I did not tell dh this. So, I have resolved not to buy from there again, it is not worth it and we are not that poor.
post #13 of 15
Good luck with the new pantry!

I have a walk in pantry that I have used for years. I used glass mason jars for canning to store my beans and whole grains.

And thank G-d, when the earthquake hit eleven years ago, all was well! I put up bungee cords around the edges of my shelves.

I kept odd things for crafts for my children on the top shelf and would put thngs out for them to glue, cut or play with...as styrofoam plates, construction paper, chenille wire, pipe cleaners, glitter, paint, empty spools of thread or from the calculator, colored rubber bands, string, food coloring, clothes pins, smooth rocks, small flowers, et cetera.
post #14 of 15
we had a weevil infestation that resulted in us having to get rid of our microwave, $600 worth of food, our toaster, and we ended up having to move. :

All because I forgot we had rice for 2 months... they raided my whole dang kitchen in our sleep!!
post #15 of 15


You had to move!?! I'm so sorry! They infested your microwave?

We had a big infestation once; I just couldn't figure out from where the bugs were coming. Eventually, I found two old bags of barley, but it wasn't a problem once I figured out the source.
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