Whether you’re prepping for a short term tight spot or a long term crisis, well-stocked pantry should be at the foundation of your plans.
What should go into your pantry?
You should store the basics for baking and meal preparation. Everyone’s personal taste are different, but here are the items I find are an essential part of my pantry:
- sugars: granulated, brown and powdered
- nuts for baking, granola, trail mix and snacks
- sweetened condensed milk
- canned evaporated milk
- peanut butter
- chocolate chips
- flavorings: vanilla, Mapeline, almond and peppermint extracts
- spices: cinnamon, ginger, cloves, garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder are the essentials. Take stock of what you use now and add it to your list.
- herbs: parsley, sage, basil, thyme, rosemary, dill and oregano
- cocoa powder
- corn syrup and molasses
- leavening: baking powder, baking soda, cream of tartar and yeast
- flour: all purpose and bread flour
- corn meal
- salt: table salt and non-iodized canning salt
- fats and oils: shortening, lard, vegetable oil and olive oil
- vinegar: apple cider and white
- Store all baking products in a cool room, away from direct light. Do not store in cardboard packaging as this will decay and is not pest-proof. Instead, transfer to airtight storage containers (such as glass jars with tight-fitting lids)
- Nuts, coconut and chocolate chips will store much longer and retain their flavor if you vacuum seal them. Using a sealer (like the FoodSaver Vacuum Sealer), seal them in either plastic bags or Mason jars (using the Wide-Mouth Jar Sealer.)A vacuum sealer will pay for itself just in the nuts and chocolate chips that it saves from early spoilage. It’s also my favorite way to store dehydrated foods. Look for them on Craigslist or at thrift stores. I bought my second one, brand new, still in the box, at a thrift store for $5.50. But even at full price–at department stores, on Amazon or other online sources–they are worth the investment.
- If you are unable to vacuum seal nuts and chocolate, store them in the freezer until ready to use.
- Store yeast in the freezer until ready to use.
- Shake canned evaporated milk once a month to prevent sediment from discoloring the milk.
- Date all your spices and baking goods so that you are sure to use the oldest ones first.
- Fats and oils have a shorter shelf life than most other pantry food. Olive and vegetables oils can be stored for six months. Unopened shortening is fairly stable and can store for about one year. But I do not like the chemicals used in hydrogenating the shortening (the process that turns an oil into a semi-solid). So I prefer lard. But lard can only be stored for 2-3 months before going rancid. My favorite method of storing lard is in the freezer, where it will safely keep for a year.