Pantry Essentials

Having a well-stocked pantry is one of the most important things for me. I like to call it my Food Insurance. It insures that my family will have what we need to eat without the need to leave the house. There are a couple ways to build up your pantry essentials. You can buy an extra item each time you go to the grocery store.

Or you can buy in bulk. The majority of my shopping is done in bulk. It’s more cost effective for my family. But, there is no right or wrong way to build your pantry essentials. You do what works for your family.

Here is a list of things that I always keep stocked in my pantry. While these are MY essentials, yours may differ some.

  • Sugars/Sweeteners: I primarily use cane sugar and honey as my sweeteners. With cane sugar, you can make brown sugar, and powdered sugar. Though the later is a pretty time intensive project so I do not do that often. The other sweetener I use is raw honey. If you can get raw honey local to you, that’s the best way to purchase it. If you can’t, any raw honey is fine. Just be sure it says raw on the label. Sugar and honey can be stored long-term. I store my sugar in 5-gallon buckets with gamma lids on them. Keep on hand, whatever your family’s choice of sweeteners are.
  • Wheat Berries: I buy 50lb. bags of wheat berries at a time. I mill my own flour when I’m in need of flour. The three types of wheat berries I keep on hand are Hard Red Wheat, Hard White Wheat, and Soft White Wheat. Each type has it’s own uses. Milling your own flour takes a bit more time and preparation when you need it for cooking or baking. But the nutritional benefits make it worth it to me. If grinding wheat isn’t for you, or your family is gluten, be sure to stock the type of flour that your family uses.
  • Leavening Agents: The three leavening agents that I’m always sure to have in my pantry are:
    • Yeast: Always having yeast on hand allows you to make many foods such as breads, cookies, cakes, biscuits, and more. Yeast is less expensive if you buy it in bulk. It will last for a long time if stored well. I store my yeast in the freezer. The open package that I am using gets transferred from the original packaging to a glass canning jar.
    • Baking Powder: I usually only store a couple packages of this at a time as it does have a shorter shelf life then the others. To help extend that a bit, I transfer my baking powder from their original packages into glass canning jars, and vacuum seal them.
    • Baking Soda: Besides being useful as a leavening agent, baking soda has many other purposes. It is often times used as a cleaner, and in many other applications.
  • Fats: What types of fats does your family use on a regular basis? I am always sure to keep butter and oils on hand. The oils that are readily stocked in my pantry are olive and vegetable. I use my oils for roasting, dressings, searing, making mayonnaise, and a few other things. Butter is a solid fat and is used in many ways from baking to roasting meats. It is stored in my freezer. Yes, I consider my fridges and freezers as a part of my pantry.
  • Salt: Quite honestly, this should be at the top of the list as it is one of the most used seasonings. It is used in almost every food made, as well as a way to preserve foods. It is used in many medicinal applications as well. It is an essential part of our lives. The salt that we should be most wary of is what is consumed in prepackaged and processed foods. Using salt at home should not be feared. It is much easier to control the amount you are consuming. The salt that I use is Redmond Real Salt. It is mined in Redmond, Utah. Salt, if stored correctly, will never go bad.
  • Oats: Oats are full of protein and fiber. We eat them on a regular basis. They are heart friendly also. I buy old fashioned (or rolled ) oats in 50lb bags. I store them in 5 gallon buckets with Gamma lids. They will last a long while.
  • Dried Beans: Dried beans is one of two most stocked items in homestead pantries. We’ll discuss the second one in a minute. Dried beans will last for many years if stored properly. Beans are high in fiber and protein. I keep pinto, kidney, and black beans primarily. But, I do have a few smaller amounts of other dried beans. They are also easy to replenish in a small backyard garden.
  • Rice: Rice is the second most stocked item. There are many types of rice. Long grain white rice is the variety that will store the longest. Brown rice is not recommended for storage period longer than 6 months. They will go rancid due to the oils still in the rice grains. I have a smaller amount of brown rice in my pantry. Rice and Beans are very versatile pantry items.
  • Vinegar: Like some of the other items on my list, vinegar has many, many uses. I use it for cleaning, pickling vegetables, making dressings, food preservation, and more. The two that I store are Apple Cider and White vinegars.
  • Dried Milks: I keep both powdered white milk and buttermilk powder on hand. They can be used in baking and making dressings such as ranch. I make my own powdered milk in my freeze dryer.
  • Dried Eggs: These are great for making scrambled eggs, baking, and a lot of other cooking applications. Having dried, powdered eggs on your shelf is a great way to ensure that you never run out of eggs. I am lucky enough to have a flock of egg layers in my backyard and a freeze dryer in my home. But you can purchase bulk powdered eggs in several places.
  • Blackstrap Molasses: I buy a gallon of molasses at a time. I use it for making savory dishes, sauces and even making my own brown sugar. I get mine through Azure Standard.

The key to building our pantry essentials is to get the things that YOUR family will use. Every family is different, with different culinary likes and dislikes, and dietary needs. Do what’s best for your family!

Here are a couple of items I mentioned for storing my items:

5 Gallon Food Grade Buckets: Amazon

Gamma Lids: Amazon

Food Saver

Food Saver Jar Sealer

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