We live in a 400 sq. home with minimal storage space and all the food we cook is from scratch…so over the last 10 years we have whittled down our pantry to the bare necessities to make pretty much everything we eat. We have learned which ingredients we simply cannot live without. By pairing down
Fats: extra virgin olive oil. Yep that’s the only one. we sauté with it, bake with is and make amazing salad dressings. We do have butter in the fridge. but we are talking about the pantry here….
Sugar: honey, maple syrup and molasses. Sure there are some things we haven’t been able to figure out how to make without white sugar. But we have enough options that work with what we have that we can satisfy our sweet cravings whenever they hit!
Ground grains: wheat, all purpose, rye, bread, maseca and corn meal. We make our own pasta, bread and tortillas so we do need to keep a good quantity of flours on hand.
Risers: yeast, baking powder and baking soda. We also sometimes use the wild yeast that floats around the Crow Homestead.
Beans: black, red, garbanzo and lentil. We only keep dried beans on hand and Mr. Crow has perfected both a long soak method and a quick cook method so he can always get the beans done in time for the meal.
Whole Grains: barley, Arborio rice, brown rice, wild rice, oatmeal, quinoa. We eat a LOT of risotto….like gluttonous amounts…especially in winter.
Spice: salt, pepper, cumin, mustard seeds, bay leaves, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and whole dried chili peppers to make chili powder and red pepper flakes. We buy whole spices and use our mortar and pestle or a small grader to get the spice to the consistency we like. By buying whole spices you will get a ton more flavor!
Canned Goods: Whole tomatoes, tomato paste, corn, green beans and stock. Of course we can a bunch more items from our garden but the above list is what we always need on hand to ensure we can get dinner on the table.
Other: Sunflower seeds, cocoa powder, soy sauce, cider vinegar, sesame seed oil and white vinegar. A couple of these items ensure we are able to make a nice lo mien or fried rice.
By stream lining your pantry you will become more confident on what ingredients are necessary and what are just nice to have around. It will decrease the panic you feel when you are missing one ingredient for the meal you had planned and you can take less trips to the store. By learning the minimal ingredients needed to make delicious food you can reduce the amount of processed foods in your diet.