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The Basic Pantry

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The Basic Pantry List | A Virtuous Woman

Cooking is made much easier if you have the right ingredients and tools on hand when you need them. That’s why keeping a well stocked pantry is so important if you are going to feed your family well.

When I come across a recipe that calls for an ingredient that I do not have, I immediately put it on my shopping list. I keep my on going shopping list under a magnet on the refrigerator. If I like the recipe, I make a mental note to keep that item in stock and let my husband know when he should purchase some more – before I actually run out.

My husband, Mykal, does all of the grocery shopping since he is so good at spending the least amount for the most stuff. I truly enjoy cooking for my family, and the experience is made even better because I don’t have to wonder if I have enough sage to make dressing or enough flour to make biscuits.

So if you find yourself deciding what not to cook for dinner when you open your pantry doors….

You can download the .pdf version of this list here.

Herbs and Spices
  • Salt {I prefer Sea Salt since it has many minerals that iodized salt does not have. We buy ours at our local bulk food store, but I believe you can find it most anywhere.}
  • Pepper
  • Nutmeg {You can purchase it already ground or you can buy whole nutmeg and grate it yourself for a fresher taste.}
  • Cinnamon {You will mainly use ground cinnamon, but you may occasionally wish to have whole cinnamon sticks.}
  • Ginger {You can purchase ginger already ground. Fresh ginger root can be grated for recipes and is also a wonderful medicinal herb.}
  • Garlic {Garlic is best when used fresh. You can keep garlic powder on hand for when you do not have a garlic bulb. A clove of garlic is on section of the whole bulb.To use, simply take one clove out of the bulb and place on cutting board. Use the flat side of a large chef’s knife and press firmly on the clove. This will loosen the peel which you can then remove. Once you have done this you can leave it whole or dice, mince or place into a garlic press. Garlic is also a very important healing herb for the immune system.}
  • Ground Mustard {This is different from prepared yellow or Dijon mustard that you put on hot dogs. Dry mustard is used in a variety of recipes.}
  • Bay Leaves: {These are a flat green leaf that are usually used whole in recipes. You can remove them before serving. Add to soups and spaghetti sauce.}
  • Rosemary {Wonderful with potatoes and chicken}
  • Thyme {Good with mushrooms and lentils}
  • Sage {Used at thanksgiving time, also delicious when added to browned butter sauces}
  • Sweet basil {My husband’s favorite! You can find it ground or dried.}
  • Parsley: {Dried parsley is good, but fresh is always better.}
  • Cumin {Used a lot in Mexican and Mediterranean cooking.}
  • Oregano {Used in Mexican and Italian Cooking}
Stock Items
  • All Purpose Flour
  • Whole Wheat Flour
  • Self Rising Flour {Self Rising Flour is great except that it has aluminum in it. Use it sparing or make your own.}
  • Sugar
  • Confectioner’s Sugar {This white powdery sugar cannot not be used in place of refined sugar.}
  • Brown Sugar
  • Molasses
  • Baking Soda
  • Baking Powder {Look for brands that do not contain aluminum.}
  • Cornstarch {Used for thickening sauces, soups, pies, etc.}
  • Honey
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Almond Extract
  • Nuts {Used in many different types of recipes. You will want to keep a variety of nuts on hand. I like: Walnuts, Black Walnuts, Pecans, Cashews, Peanuts, and Almonds.}
  • Cocoa Powder
  • Unsweetened Chocolate Bars
  • Bouillon Cubes and Powders {I keep Vegetable Bouillon, Vegetarian Chicken Seasoning and Vegetarian Beef Bouillon Powder as well as George Washington Golden Broth Powders on hand.}
  • White Rice
  • Wild and Long Grain Rice
  • Pasta {All shapes and sizes of pasta noodles – stock up when they go on sale!}
  • Barley {Great for adding to vegetable soup.}
  • Vegetable Shortening {Great for making a variety of baked goods. I would not fry with it as another type of oil such as olive oil is healthier.}
  • Olive Oil {Use Light extra virgin cold pressed for general cooking, and a fruitier olive oil for recipes such as pasta or hummus.}
  • Vegetable oil
  • Vegetable Oil Spray for greasing muffin tins and such.
  • Raw Apple Cider Vinegar {The health benefits of this vinegar go on and on. We like Bragg’s Raw Apple Cider Vinegar. Do not use distilled white vinegar in recipes as it is not intended for human consumption and it made for cleaning instead.}
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Red Wine Vinegar
  • Soy Sauce {Look for sauce that is made from real soy beans and not an imitation. You can use Liquid Amino Acids in place of Soy Sauce if you prefer. Amino Acids are very good for you. We buy Bragg’s Amino Acids.}
  • I also keep Sesame Oil and Rice vinegar for oriental dishes. But these are specialized items.
In the Refrigerator
  • Butter or margarine {Regular margarine or butter is best for baking. Light margarine is better for using as a spread.}
  • Eggs {If you do not want to use eggs you can purchase an Egg Replacer or make your own.}
  • Milk {We mainly use soy milk in our house. My favorite brand is Better Than Milk for cooking. It comes in powder form and you mix just as much as you need.You can find great soy or rice milks at your local grocery store. If you are going to use Cow’s Milk, try going for Organic. My favorite Organic brand is Promised Land Dairy. You could even try goat’s milk.}
  • Cream {Even though we generally use soy milk, I do occasionally use a heavy cream for making certain dishes. Keeping some on hand is great for adding a little here or there to sauces and soups.}
  • Yellow Mustard
  • Dijon Mustard
  • Ketchup
  • Mayonnaise
  • Pickles
  • Relish
  • Greek Peppers
  • Bread
  • Cheeses: Mild Cheddar, Jack, and a Parmesan Wedge {I like to grate my own. It tastes better.}
  • Potatoes
  • Onions
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Lettuce
  • Tomatoes
  • Cucumbers
  • Bell Peppers
  • Mushrooms
  • Fresh Fruit

If you keep these items on hand you should be able to make most recipes. My pantry is located in the basement where we keep an assortment of all types of non-perishable foods as well as winter squash and root vegetables. I keep my herbs and spices in the kitchen and the items that I use regularly. When you have the items you need cooking can be an enjoyable part of your day.

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  1. Great List. I love to cook and it is great to have all the ingredients on hand when you get in the kitchen to prepare a dish. Your list would just about cover any recipe.

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