Many people consider a pantry as just food items, and others consider it to be everything you would need whether edible or not.
There are just some basics that each and everyone of us should ALWAYS have on hand. In good times, these items can just expand our eating pleasure. In bad times, these items WILL sustain you!
- Rice - this can be used in all sorts of dishes (casseroles, soups, or alone). If possible keep a few types on hand, but remember that brown rice will go rancid non-refrigerated after a while. All other rice should be kept dry and sealed, and it will last a long time
- Dried beans and lentils - beans can be made into any type of meal, alone or with other ingredients. Think chili, soups, soup beans, beans for salads, pasta, soup, casseroles, etc. They are also a great source of protein
- Pasta - again, there are so many uses for this ingredient. There are many types of pasta - try to keep several on hand. Keep dry and in unopened or sealed containers.
- Applesauce - it's cheap, it's fruit for your diet, and it has a very long shelf life. It can also be used in baking (in place of oil), and mixed in breads and muffins and breakfast foods
- Potatoes - so versatile. Just sitting here, I can think of probably 20 different ways to fix them - so I know there has to be 100's! They are really cheap (especially in the fall/winter) and are very filling. Just remember to keep in a cool, dark, dry place and not the refrigerator.
- Oats - essential in cooking and baking. Oats can be used as a ground meat extender, a breakfast food, and are wonderful in baking. Filling, good fiber, and good for you.
- Peanut butter - super source of protein. Can be used in baking, breakfast foods, sandwiches, and my favorite way - on a spoon!!!! It is so very filling as well.
- Tomato products - canned tomatoes, spaghetti sauce, salsa, pizza sauce, etc. Tomato products are great in casseroles, soups, pastas, you name it! Very versatile!!!!!
- Eggs - protein and healthy food. Hopefully you can keep fresh eggs on hand, but if not try to get some dried eggs to rehydrate. Maybe you can even freeze some, when you find them cheap - so you will have them for a rainy day (this was covered in an earlier post)
- Flour, sugar, sweeteners, salt, pepper, baking soda, baking powder, yeast, oil, and any other seasonings and herbs you like. With these ingredients you will be able to make biscuits, bread, pancakes, waffles, sweets, muffins, gravy, crust for pies, oh the list goes on and on and on........
- Canned meats - in case you are stuck at home, stores aren't open, you have no extra money, etc. you can have meat. Keep on hand tuna, canned chicken and/or beef, products like Spam, corned beef, those tiny little hams (they are good in soup beans). If you so desire even Vienna sausages or potted meat. CONSIDER meat as an ingredient and not a main course.
I know it seems over whelming - but you can add these items each and every week to have on hand, and really none of them are expensive foods. With the above items - you would be able to eat well, survive, and probably even flourish in the roughest of times.
OTHER ITEMS TO CONSIDER
Water - I hate to advocate buying bottles of water (not eco friendly), buy jugs of water. Water is essential to life - not just yours but your pets. It is used in cleaning, flushing, cooking, and drinking. If the faucet quit working, would you have water? You can use rain water and gray water (from dishes, baths, etc.) for flushing.
Health items are also important. You will need soap, toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo, laundry detergent, dish soap, etc. In a worse case scenario - shampoo, dish soap, body soap can be inter-changeable. Laundry can be done by hand with any of those soaps. Toilet paper is also an essential!
Medicines are hugely important. Both prescription and over the counter.
Pet food - make sure you keep a surplus of pet food on hand as well as food for yourself.
Ok, I think we have covered most of the essential items we should all have on hand in case of an emergency. I am sure you will all be able to ad items to the list, that I have forgotten. Please let us all know, what you think we can't do without!!!
Work on your stock-up plan slowly. Add a couple items each and every week. You surely want your family to be prepared for the worst.
Take care dear friends.
I look forward to hearing your plans!