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All You Need for a Perfectly Stocked Pantry

The Perfect Pantry photo source.

It is important to keep a perfectly stocked pantry as often as possible, for many reasons. 

  1. When your pantry isn't properly stocked, you lose time you could be spending doing something you love with the people you love, like cooking and eating with them, for example. 
  2. You'll also find you have to go to the grocery more often; and when you do go, you end up buying what you should already have.  More things to have to buy equals more things to forget, not to mention more money spent because you don't buy in bulk. 
  3. You'll be ordering out more than you ought to because you're missing ingredients and don't feel like getting them. 
  4. You can't be as creative as you'd like to on a whim be because you're missing base ingredients. 
  5. You may skip important ingredients that could offer better nutritional value and flavor to the meals you serve your loved ones.

You don't have to be a well established cook to know what to stock in your pantry.  While there are general items that are essential to the core of most meals, breakfast, lunch, or dinner, yours may differ from that of, say, your neighbors The Putnucks.   Here are some things you'll want to ponder on while making your Perfect Pantry List:

  1. What foods do you normally like to cook? 
  2. What recipes would like to be cooking?
  3. What ingredients do those meals have in common? (Make a physical list.that you can refer to)
  4. What ingredients stock well in bulk that you could keep in your pantry for a good period of time?  (Think perishable vs non perishable)
  5. What ingredients should you be adding to your meals that you don't because you haven't thought about the above points in detail.

Know your space and utilize it.  Look at your key and common ingredients and make sure that you have the space and the storage solutions (like canisters, jars, bins, shelving,  and whatnot) to keep them properly.  Prioritize from there.

Time of year may be an important factor to look at, as well.  You'll find that you crave or like to cook different kinds of meals in the summer then you do in the winter spring or fall.  When you do your seasonal cleaning to the rest of your home, don't forget about doing the same for your pantry. For example, in our home, we need to think about stocking up on different kinds of flours, oils, iodized salt, pepper, sugar, butter, garlic, rice, and pastas, before we move on to the next level. 

And don't forget that a perfectly stocked pantry saves you money and time in the long run.  So think about this: Buying fresh, seasonal items, while they are in season, and then drying, freezing, canning, or jarring them, can save you money in the long run, and allow you to make those certain foods you like to make during those off times of year, without worries.  I can't tell you the amount of times we've just really wanted a blueberry pie in the middle of winter, and have had to spend 6 dollars per container for a few ounces of blueberries in each, and ended up making a 30 dollar pie because we didn't think ahead but had to have it.

Tips: We buy the butter when it's on sale and freeze it.  And we don't wait until we're out of something to stock up on it again.  If there is a sale on something we keep a stock of in our pantry, and we have the space, we go ahead and restock up to the amount we have space enough for.  And if you have kids, be sure they are familiar with your pantry items.  They're a big help when it come to keeping track of what you've got and what you might be running low on.  Not to mention being familiar with staple foods and a well stocked pantry, paired with a child's innate curiosity, just might influence some delectable and creative meals of their own.

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