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If you're ready to take the pantry challenge and you've already done your pantry inventory, you know you may be missing a few pantry staples.
Pantry staples are the building blocks that every home should have. If you have these on hand, you should be able to deal with any unexpected situation.
What are pantry staples?
We like to make sure that our pantry is fully stocked at all times. You never know when a small emergency (or even a global catastrophe) may land you stuck at home longer than you anticipate.
In just such a scenario, having all of the pantry staples you need will help to alleviate some of the stress that may come along with uncertain times.
What staples should you always have in your pantry?
These are the essential items you need for your pantry.
Dry goods can come in a couple of different forms. You can make sure you have a good amount of easy or quick to cook items.
We like to have a lot of pasta on hand. It's easy to make as you really only need boiling water to cook it. If you have sauce on hand, you can add that, melt some butter, or add some oil & vinegar.
Rice is another great staple to always have available. Like pasta, you only need water to cook rice. You can also pre-make it and freeze rice for later.
Rice is also a great base for a variety of dishes for a variety of preferences. For example, if you like Mexican food, rice is the base of this DIY Chipotle Burrito Bowl. If you are craving Chinese, Vegetable Fried Rice is another easy and tasty recipe.
Maybe the most valuable dry good items are things you can use to bake. If you have flour, sugar, and baking soda, you can bake just about anything.
The next pantry staple is canned goods. Canned goods are especially great because they are designed to last for a very long time. Often times, you can still eat whatever is in the can well beyond the 'best by' date. Obviously, you will want to abide by FDA guidelines but if it's only out of date by a few months it will just suffer in taste.
We buy a lot of beans. I mean, A LOT of beans. So many beans that when we go through the checkout at the grocery store we get odd looks and are often asked if we own a restaurant. like I said, we eat A LOT of beans.
We always make sure we have at least 2-3 months worth of canned beans in our pantry at a time. Beans are a great because, like rice, it makes a great base protein for so many meals.
You can slow cook it and make crockpot chili. You can cook it on the stove and add in some garlic powder, onion powder, and red pepper for some delicious refried beans.
Canned fruits and vegetables are a few other canned goods you may want to stock up on. Obviously, if you have a garden and you have been freezing your squash, zucchini, strawberries, or other vegetables, you may not need them in cans.
However, if you have a bad crop yield or your freezer goes out, it never hurts to have a few cans tucked away in case of an emergency.
You can also stock up on tuna. You can get cans, or pouches, of tuna for relatively cheap. It will stay fresh for a long time and is a great protein for a quick snack or meal.
You may be thinking that things like rice, beans, and pasta are some pretty bland necessities. You're not exactly wrong either.
This is where the final staple category comes into play. The world of spices can open up your eyes to so many more flavor possibilities than you ever thought possible. Learning how to cook with different spices is such a valuable skill to learn.
What spices you keep in your cabinet is really going to depend on what your personal preferences may be. You can't go wrong with salt and pepper. From there, the possibilities are endless.
If you like Italian food, you may want to have a good supply of things like basil, garlic powder, and oregano. A lot of Latin cuisine also uses garlic powder but also onion powder, chile powder, and cilantro. Indian food will often feature spices like cumin & curry.
Figure out what kind of flavors you can NOT live without and make a list of the spices and different ethnic flavors you need to fill out your pantry. Or you can just pick up a large spice set and have a variety to choose from.
How to stock your pantry for a year
How do you stock up your pantry for a year? The first thing you will want to do is take a pantry inventory.
Once you have a list of how much you have, you can start to calculate how much of your pantry you go through a month. Multiply that by 12 months and you know how much you need for a year.
For example, between the two of us we probably eat 2-3 cans of beans a day. That is around 14-28 cans per week. With 52 weeks in a year we will need around 728-1,218 cans of beans in a year (did I mention we eat a lot of beans?).
Obviously, we can't fit that many cans in our pantry at once, but it gives you an idea of the scope of what you should have on hand if you are truly trying to fill your pantry with the essentials.
For other frugal living tips
Everyone thinks I'm crazy but when I find tuna, beans, nuts, fruits and vegetables on sale I purchase them, being a fan of my dehydrator I can get 5lbs of onions for. 99 cents and make my own powder onion and other spices from family gardens. Powder tomatoes I buy in bulk. I also buy tons of beans, they make for a great protein base. Thank you for all of your ideas and advice you truly are my favorite.