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Newbie would love to know the staples to stock in pantry

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Hi and thanks for dropping by my post. I am interested in finding out what people here stock in their pantry on a permanent basis. What do you feel you have to keep a stock of in your pantry? I am kind new to really spending time learning new cooking techniques and want to try and build up a good pantry so I am not running back and forth to the market everytime I want to cook something.

post #2 of 14
My quick list in no particular order (and I'm def missing things): salt, black pepper, shallots, garlic, onions, paprika, oregano, basil, rosemary, olive oil, canola oil, balsamic vin, red wine vin, chives, chili pepper, turmeric, mustard seed, and sometimes dried mushrooms.
post #3 of 14
Ditto the above. Add: onions, carrots, celery, potatoes, garlic. Eggs. Cans of diced tomatoes, various types of tinned beans, packets of dried pasta, rice, jars of tomato paste or diced tomatoes, red or puy lentils. Flour, butter, baking powder, yeast. Coffee, tea, cocoa, vanilla essence, sugar. Soy Sauce.

Stock powder - chicken, beef, vegetable (good in an emergency - make your own stock if you can and freeze it in ice block trays). Packs of dried soup - french onion, chicken noodle, cream of mushroom, cream of tomato. 2 minute noodles.

For the freezer: peas, corn kernels, any bread you have which is stale (but not mouldy!) so you can grate it easily for crumbing.

For the fridge: Milk,, cream, streaky back bacon. Sweet chilli sauce.

The list really is endless, but that should give you a good basis. I think I've just listed about $200 worth! Suit it to what you like to use.
 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

post #4 of 14
also , cumin, coriander, chili powder, paprika, hot sauce (tapatio or crystal), corn starch, bay leaf, twine or string for tying boquet garne and meats. don't forget a mortar and pestle. hope ya hit the lotto:D
"In those days spirits were brave, the stakes were high, men were real men, women were real women, and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri. "
"In those days spirits were brave, the stakes were high, men were real men, women were real women, and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri. "
post #5 of 14
Soy sauce
garlic puree ( for when you cant be bothered)
Tomato puree
Really good salt for when it matters (malden's good)
Capers in brine
Definitly celery ( even if you dont like it, add it to soups and stews. it'll melt and you wont know its there. But the background flavour is fab)
Old bay seasoning ( i buy it every time im in the US )
Vanilla extract (not essence)
Olive oil and an extra virgin too. (one you'd enjoy just dipping your bread in)
Plastic cheese slices (cos theyre my guilty pleasure melted on a bacon butty with onions and dijon mustard)
Southern comfort (just cos)
Fresh herbs. But dried oregano's a must too. specially if you can get the flowers
"If we're not supposed to eat animals, why are they made of meat?" Jo Brand
"If we're not supposed to eat animals, why are they made of meat?" Jo Brand
post #6 of 14
A lot of it depends what kind of cuisines you like to cook and how much space you have to devote to ingredient storage.
post #7 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thanks for so many good responses (so far ;) )

I agree that is depends some on the type of cooking, but I was speaking more in general. I hadn't thought of the mortal & pestle so that is a good idea. There were lots of good ideas and yeah, it adds up fast but it is an investment and I'll get more out of this than another expensive pair of shoes. LOL

I am converting part of a room off my kitchen into a pantry as my kitchen is a bit small so I wanted to make sure I have some good things in there that I will need regularly.

Any more ideas would be fabulous. Thanks again.
post #8 of 14
a take out menu.
post #9 of 14
lol not a bad idea - I'd like to keep a chef in there that you can activate when its too much trouble to cook....anyone got one spare? :crazy:

Add to your list:
variety of tinned fruits
custard powder :eek: no seriously its great in a rush
tinned fish
cooking chocolate
 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

post #10 of 14
Some basic ideas off the top of my head:

Canned goods
  • tomatoes: whole, crushed, fire roasted
  • beans: black, garbanzo, kidney
  • corn
  • beets
  • tuna fish. Water pack is nice for some things but you should have some good imported Tuna in olive oil from italy. Quite good. My sister raves about the quality of canned tuna in Japan, but I've not heard much else about this anywhere else.

Baking goods
  • flour, all purpose
  • flour, cake/pastry
  • flour, bread
  • baking powder
  • baking soda
  • yeast
  • salt
  • sugar
  • cocoa powder
  • vanilla
  • corn starch

  • unflavored--could be canola, vegetable (soy), corn, safflower, whatever
  • Olive oil, extra virgin and other as desired
  • toasted sesame oil

  • white distilled
  • white wine
  • red wine
  • rice
  • balsamic
  • cider
  • black

Spices & Herbs
  • salt
  • pepper
  • thyme, dried
  • sage, dried
  • oregano, dried
  • rosemary, dried
  • bay leaves, dried
  • cinnamon
  • curry powder
  • cumin
  • coriander
  • dill
  • paprika
  • garlic powder
  • onion powder

  • spaghetti
  • angel hair
  • penne/mastacioli
  • orzo
  • lasagna
  • fettucine
  • linguine
  • macaroni
  • cous cous

Asian noodles
  • Rice noodles
  • Rice vermicelli
  • rice paper
  • egg noodles

Asian condiments
  • light soy
  • dark soy
  • toasted sesame oil (already in oil section)
  • oyster sauce
  • rice vinegar and black vinegar (already in vinegar section)
  • rice wine

Grains & beans dried
  • Long grain rice (basmati or jasmine preferred)
  • short grain rice (depends what you cook I have both arborio and a chinese sticky rice)
  • pinto beans
  • red beans
  • black beans
  • garbanzo beans
  • white beans
  • lentils
  • oatmeal, rolled and steel cut
  • quinoa

Fresh fruit and vegetables
  • carrots
  • onions
  • celery
  • shallots
  • green onions
  • garlic
  • lettuce/greens
  • parsley
  • cilantro
  • potatoes
  • lemons--always use fresh for juice, never bottles
  • limes
  • apples
  • bananas
  • seasonal items as available

  • milk, whole is usually preferred for cooking
  • cheese (real parmesan & cheddar at a minimum)
  • yogurt, Plain--very versatile and used in many cuisines
  • buttermilk
  • cream
  • unsalted butter
  • evaporated milk-canned
  • sweetened condensed milk-canned
  • sour cream

  • ketchup
  • mayonaisse
  • mustard, dijon
  • mustard, whole grain
  • mustard, yellow

Stock. Make your own often. You should have some Swansons Natural Goodness Chicken stock in cans for those times you are OUT of the real stuff. And it's worthwhile to have a quality base for both chicken and beef stock. They must be LOW sodium. Better than Bouillion is a good brand, but a bit high in sodium. McCormicks has an organic low sodium base I've only seen at Costco I've found worthwhile. And if money is no object, the More than Gourmet bases/glace are excellent but $$$.
post #11 of 14
“What should I keep in my kitchen?” is a perennial question.
I’ve consolidated, organized and sorted down the suggestions from this thread.

There’s a number of issues to address.

Herbs, spices and seasonings are a staple – seems to me. But _which_ of those are a staple depends entirely on your cooking. Tex-Mex is a whole different kettle of herring than Greek, or Nordic, or Chinese, or . . . .
So my thinking is: list up the stuff you use. If you want the ability to cook up every flavor of every international cuisine known, gosh – you’ll need a big spice rack!

I’m hard pressed to envision some of the “fresh & perishable” stuff as a staple.
For example – scallions. I love ‘em. I buy them when I need them and I use up any leftovers asap. I would not consider maintaining a constant stock of fresh scallions in the fridge an economical thing. Same with any fresh herb – the stuff does not have a long shelf life and keeping “every fresh herb on hand at all times, a ‘staple’, could get quite expensive.
Mushrooms – ditto – but I do keep dried mushrooms.
Leeks – ditto.
Cream – when I need it for a dish I buy it. I’m not skinny enough to keep a quart of cream in the fridge.
Garlic – I keep fresh garlic. I’m a home cook. If I need so much garlic puree that it’s too much trouble….. ah, well can’t figger that one out.

On the other hand, I always have fresh celery, carrots and lettuce….

Dried soup? Okay, but not my style.
But I do keep cream of mushroom & celery + golden mushroom on hand at all times.

Cheese – processed sliced made the list. ok by me. I buy 8-10 different cheeses on a regular basis but there’s rarely a day my fridge doesn’t have half a block of cheddar. Edam is not a staple, to me. If you’re Dutch, Edam might be a staple and American processed cheese will not be a staple.

Tomatoes – diced: well, as a _staple_ I keep whole tomatoes in the can. I can easily make diced tomatoes out of whole tomatoes, but making whole tomatoes out of little pieces just takes too long.

Canned fish , etc – what is a staple and what is ‘stock for an emergency meal’?
I always have canned tuna and canned salmon on the shelf – it’s a “got stuck in traffic and need something fast” thing . . .

Uhmmm, chocolate is a staple?

“Staples” to me is the stuff you need to put together a meal without a lot of prior planning & ‘think ahead’ issues.
So some folks are coming to visit; ‘We’ll bring Dinner!” is the phone call.
Door bell rings, company is here – they brought dinner, which is:
- corn on the cob
- a bag of okra
- three skinned rabbits.
Got staples? Can make meal?

bacon - streaky back
baking powder
baking soda (my add)
bay leaf
beans - canned
black pepper (my modification: black peppercorns for grinding)
bread - stale – frozen – for crumbs
bread crumbs – panko (my add)
cheese slices - plastic
cheese – cheddar (my add)
chili pepper
chili powder
chilli sauce - sweet
cooking chocolate
corn kernels - frozen
corn meal – yellow or white to preference (my add)
corn starch
custard powder
fish - canned
fruits - canned
garlic puree
gravy mix – powdered / dry (my add, but I’ll never admit to it….)
grits (NOBODY said grits!)
herbs - fresh
jam (note the list absence of peanut butter….)
lentils - puy
lentils - red
mushrooms - dried
mustard seed
oatmeal (my add)
oil - canola
oil - olive
oil olive - extra virgin
old bay seasoning
oregano - dried
packets of dried pasta
peas – frozen
peppers – green – diced – frozen (my add)
pickles – relish (!! my add)
salt really good for when it matters (malden's good)
sauce - hot (tapatio or crystal)
soup - dried - french onion - chicken noodle - cream of mushroom - cream of tomato
soy sauce
stock powder - beef
stock powder - chicken
stock powder - vegetable
tomato paste
tomato puree (aka? ‘tomato sauce?)
tomatoes - diced
twine or string
vanilla essence
vanilla extract (not essence)
vinegar - balsamic
vinegar - red wine
worcestershire sauce
post #12 of 14
Thread Starter 
Wow, the last couple of posters really gave me a lot to add. And I agree with Phatch that chocolate is a staple. I planned on getting semi-sweet chips, and the various baker's chocolate. I enjoy baking as well as whipping up 'non-desserts'

I enjoy cooking a lot of different foods. I have lived in several places so I like cooking Indian and Greek as well as Italian and love to cook Asian. So, it depends on my mood. So, yeah I guess I will have to stock up on a lot of spices.

My list is growing A LOT. But there are some really really good recomendations... from everyone. Thanks for your time to help point me in the right direction.
post #13 of 14
Just keep in mind that you don't have to buy everything at once. Think about the flavor profiles you use the most and start with that. Then add new items every month or so as you try new recipes. This will save you a ton of money as it reduces the likelihood of having to throw away product that has passed its expiration date. While I have, at times, kept every item on Dilbert's list in my pantry, I've probably never had them all at once. Buy what you need for now, and add as you go along. Good luck!
post #14 of 14
I was going to write a long detailed list, but phatch pretty much nailed it. The only things I would add at a quick glance are....
Truffle Oil - yeah I use it, really expensive, but a little goes a long way
Gorgonzola Cheese - Love this stuff. Not too sure of shelf life, it's never been around long enough to worry.
Bell Peppers - Good for the cajun cooking, and good in general
Fish Sauce - Staple Asian ingredient. Lasts until sometime in the next millennium.

I'll stress again the importance of homemade stock. I have 5 types of stock in my freezer right now: chicken, beef, shrimp, mushroom, and veal. It lasts a very long time, and ice cube trays make sure you always have as much or as little as you need.
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