I would now like to share with you some of my pantry stocking secrets to help you on your way towards healthy eating! The notion of a cool, dark room off the kitchen, seems a little old-fashioned these days when we all have large fridges and fancy kitchens—more like something from days of old when people only went to market once a month and had to get through long, hard Winters, without ever buying fresh food.
Or perhaps it is because people cook so little nowadays, that a pantry seems anachronistic. But it is funny how things come full circle—I believe this humble little room may just be on the verge of becoming trendy again, as I have noticed its disguised reappearance as a ‘cool room’, in high-spec houses.
A walk-in food-storage area is such a good thing, that if you can possibly install one in your house, you should do so. It has all the same advantages of a walk-in wardrobe. A good space will ease your menu-planning, because you can see what you have. You can stock up properly when you go shopping and you have a proper space in which to put everything. When trying to think up something to cook for dinner, you can walk in and be inspired by a little jar of something you have on the shelf.
Another advantage is that food stays fresh longer when it is away from the heat of the kitchen. But even if you don’t have an actual pantry-space in your kitchen, make sure you create a metaphorical one in your presses, to help you feed your family well. This means a properly stocked kitchen, with all your non-fresh foods always to hand, in easy-to-find jars and tins.
I have lots of airtight, glass jars, of different sizes, in which I keep everything from pasta, to pulses, to dried fruit. I have a tiny jar for sesame seeds and a huge one for my muesli mix. I love how they keep everything fresh and dry and how I can see at a glance what is in them. They look so pretty when they are full of colourful foods and they add to the beauty and order of my kitchen.
Sometimes, people come to my home and are astonished at how much food I have at any one time. But these are people who generally don’t cook very much, or very well. People who cook all the time, know the importance of being well stocked up and how much easier it makes cooking—-then you can be free to experiment, to be flexible and less hassled, as you always have the right jar, or tin, to make what you want to eat and add that special touch.
In fact, it is impossible to cook well without a well-stocked stash of all your herbs, spices, and condiments, etc. I cannot imagine trying to cook for a family without having a well-stocked kitchen. I am sometimes amazed at other people’s bare kitchens, but not surprised that they tend to fall back on ready-meals and find real cooking difficult—with their stocks, so would I!
Even if you don’t think you need a proper pantry, treating yourself to one, will inspire you to get cooking and try out things you haven’t cooked before. It will make it easier for you to change to healthy eating and once you start cooking properly, you will find you really do need all those jars that fill your shelves! Use my reference lists to jog your memory as to what you might need in your pantry. Then make up your own pantry list, so that you can be perennially well-stocked for every cooking occasion.
If you have created your own healthy eating Survival Plan as explained here, then take this into account when making your mainframe pantry lists.
If you don’t have a well-stocked kitchen, use your new list to do a once-off shopping blitz and get it sorted. Once you do, it will never be quite so expensive again, as you will only, from then on, have to buy things one by one, as they run out. With the staples on your shelves, you will always be able to cook everything from your menu rota, because your shopping list will be cross-referenced to it. When you are planning your shopping, do a quick check to see if any of your pantry items need replenishing.