Home cooked meals are still better than food ordered from a restaurant or fast food. For one, it is more nutritious and healthy. Second, you are assured that your food is clean and well-prepared. Often, foods from fast food restaurants are loaded with artificial ingredients, calories, fats, and excess salts. Aside from these reasons, a well-stocked pantry helps you avoid frequent trips to the supermarket for missing ingredients. A well-stocked pantry is the best way to guarantee that you can prepare healthy home cooked meals in a jiffy.
Food storage will be a breeze if your pantry has the following:
- Condiments, oils, and vinegars. You will need condiments like ketchup, mustard, barbecue sauce, steak sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and soy sauce. Oils and vinegars are staples for quick fix salads. You will need to stock up on extra-virgin olive oil and apple cider wine or balsamic vinegar for those. Also, you will most likely need oil for frying, so better keep a bottle of canola oil and butter handy.
- Flavorings to spice up your dishes. These will include spices that you will need to make your dishes delicious. Staples will be salt and pepper but you will also need basil, chili powder, cinnamon sticks, oregano, coriander, curry, nutmeg, paprika, and cayenne pepper. For sweeteners you will need to keep white sugar, brown sugar, honey, and maple syrup.
- Canned goods and bottled items. Keep a can of light tuna or salmon for a quick midnight snack sandwich. You should also be keeping cans of tomato sauce or tomato paste for your pasta. Cans of meat or vegetable broth should be present for easy soup preparation.
- Stock up on grains and legumes. Of course, you will need your daily dose of carbohydrates! Stock your pantry with rice or instant rice, pasta, and rolled oats. Also keep a box of flour, cornmeal, and breadcrumbs handy.
- Fruits, nuts, and seeds. You will need fresh fruits that will shower you with vitamins. Nuts and seeds give protein. They are also handy healthy snacks to munch on.
- Cold storage. Since most refrigerated foods are perishables, all you will need to keep inside your refrigerator are milk, eggs, cheese, and some quarts of juices. Refrigerator temperature should be kept at 33 degrees to forty degrees Fahrenheit. Freezer temperature should be maintained at 0 degrees Fahrenheit or below so that frozen foods can have a longer shelf life and prevent the development of harmful bacteria. The temperature should always be checked using a refrigerator or freezer thermometer.
Food storage essentials really depend on what your daily needs are. Even if you can afford to buy everything in the grocery just in one go, make it a point to avoid spoilage. Your food storage task doesn't end in stocking up your pantry but also in keeping it clean and organized. You can finally say that your pantry is well-stocked when it's not only complete with the essentials but well-kept as well.