Monday, October 27, 2008

Stocking the Pantry....

Since writing my post yesterday about the virtues of simple cooking, simple foods, and simple heating, I got to thinking about ways that I am preparing for hard times. It seems that every day I look at the headlines and see that another major company has laid off thousands of laborers from their jobs. White collar or blue collar, there is no distinction when it comes to the cuts. It sobers me. It reminds me that as a homemaker, I must find ways to cut costs and prepare for the possibility of doing without or "making do." Therefore, I am planning to "spend a little to save a little" in restocking my pantry. Sometimes buying in bulk or buying an extra jar of jam instead of one, when the price is right, is smart pantry planning. Below, I have found a good list of items that would stock a pantry nicely.

What To Put In A Pantry (from Pioneer Thinking)


A room or cupboard for storing food, usually dry goods. Most foods to be stored will be dried, packaged, bottled, canned, foods that do not require refrigeration.

Stocking The Shelves

  • Fats/Oils
  • Polyunsaturated oil, Olive oil
  • Flour: Enriched, All Purpose, Cake Sifted Pancake, Cornmeal
  • Cornstarch
  • Baking Powder
  • Baking Soda
  • Cream of Tartar
  • Yeast-Dry
  • Cocoa Powder (unsweetened)
  • Chocolate: bitter, unsweetened, semi-sweet
  • Nuts
  • Flavoring: Vanilla, Almond, Lemon, Orange
  • Food Coloring: Assorted colors
  • Sugar :white, brown, confectioners, corn syrup, honey, maple syrup
  • Gelatin: plain, flavored
  • Herbs : Basil, Bay Leaf, Capers, Dill Seed, Dried Rosemary, Dried Parsley, Garlic (powder-salt), Marjoram, Dried Tarragon, Dried Thyme
  • Spices :All Spice, Cayenne, Cinnamon, Celery Seed, Chili Powder, Cloves, Ground Ginger, Dry Mustard, Nutmeg, Oregano, Paprika, Poppy seed, Poultry Seasoning, Salt, Sesame Seeds, Soy Sauce, Pepper: black and white, Tabasco
  • Bread Crumbs
  • Rice: white, long grain, brown
  • Pasta
  • Barley
  • Split Peas
  • Dried Lima beans, Navy Beans
  • Potatoes
  • Onions
  • Prepared Mustard
  • Catsup
  • Relish
  • Mayonnaise
  • Salad Dressing
  • Vinegar-Cider, White Distilled
  • Pickles
  • Olives-Green Stuffed, Black
  • Coffee:Regular, Decaf, Instant (whichever one you use)
  • Tea: Regular, Decaf, Herbal (whichever one you use)
  • Jelly, Jam
  • Raisins
  • Juices, Assorted of choice
  • Cereal, Oatmeal, Dry of choice
  • Crackers
  • Milk-Evaporated, Condensed, Dry
  • Non-Dairy Creamer
  • Sugar Substitute
  • Gravy Mix
  • Peanut Butter
  • Canned Fish-Tuna, Salmon, Anchovies, Sardines
  • Canned Vegetables
  • Green Beans, Corn, Baked Beans, Tomatoes, Tomato Paste, Tomato Puree, Spaghetti Sauce, Canned Soups, Chicken Broth, Beef broth or Dried Broth Bases
  • Grated Parmesan

Being a Country Girl for the last 27 years of my life has taught me a lot of things, and one of those things is to keep my home well-stocked. We live 55 miles away--part of it on gravel roads -- from a decent grocery store and so there is no such thing as a quick trip to the grocery store for a missing ingredient. I either have it or I make do without it. The same goes for soap and toilet paper and other necessities. I learned early on to keep a well-stocked pantry. My mother-in-law, who I lived next door to for many years, was a child of the Great Depression. She taught me many things about country living -- about canning meats, stocking shelves with a wide variety of canned goods, re-purposing things like coffee cans and mayo jars, and keeping extra sewing supplies on hand for repairing clothing or mending. This lady even had little tins with tiny screws and screwdrivers to fix eye glasses and watch pins to repair your wrist watch. And now, I do too!

Depending on your family's tastes and location, this pantry list could look very different for you. You might be one who wants a cache of spices and herbs. If you are a rancher, you likely have a freezer full of beef, or if your family hunts, your freezer may be stocked with deer and elk. I have an Alaskan friend who stocks her freezer with salmon and halibut. You might be a gardener who cans and freezes veggies from a large plot. Perhaps you have access to wild berries, apples or nuts that you can gather for free. Stocking-up looks different in every part of this vast country we live in. The important thing is to do the best you can with what you have available and fill in the gaps for the best value -- which doesn't always mean whatever's cheapest. If mac & cheese is cheap, but your family doesn't like it, it's not a good value for your family.

I've read a few articles today on stocking-up that I will post below. Please know that I am not an alarmist nor am I one who stockpiles for the "end of the world." I feel that a deep pantry makes good common sense, and especially during hard times. You'll notice these articles and pantry lists all look very different. Different strokes for different folks!

Nine Meals from Anarchy, Mail Online (UK) June 7th, 2008
Load Up the Pantry, Wall Street Journal, April 21, 2008
The Well-Stocked Pantry, Mother Earth News
Simple Pantry Dos and Don'ts, Coffee Tea Books and Me
Help! I Need a Grocery Budget (6 parts), Storybook Woods
Gourmet Toolbox downloadable pantry list, Angela Tunner


  1. Well I agree, a well stocked pantry it essential to saving money. Clarice

  2. I love your blog! This is my first time visiting. I came over from Coffee, Tea, Books and Me. I can't wait to look around some more. Thanks for the homemaking wisdom :)

  3. I also came from Coffee, Tea, Books and Me and you are my new favorite site. We are getting ready for the tough times that I feel will be coming upon us soon and this is perfect. Do you know of any sites that can also help those of us in cities to try and prepare longer term in our small yards and limited spaces? Thanks, and again, love your site.

  4. There *is* something cozy about a well-stocked pantry, isn't there? Dinner is just a more pleasant experience if you know you've got enough on hand. And now that it's fall, there will be fewer fresh ingredients coming in, so it's even more important.

    I say this even though we have a small kitchen and I live a block from a grocery. But I can certainly appreciate your preparedness living so far from one!

  5. Great post, thanks for sharing.


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