Create Your Own Kitchen Supply Pantry
Unlike the Pantry Pyramid we designed in last week’s post, the Supply Pantry is more forgiving. In the first place, literally nothing expires. Secondly, many of the items can be squirreled away here and there.
For the purposes of this post we’re going to concentrate strictly on kitchen supplies needed to prepare, store, or cook meals.
Large Storage: When it comes to long term storage, always opt for glass. While it’s heavier than its plastic counterpart, it can’t be destroyed by insects or rodents. It’s more expensive at the beginning but you’ll have it forever unless you break it. In 47 years I’ve cracked only one container, a two-gallon canister that dropped too hard on the stone counter.
I buy my glass containers in various sizes. There’s the giant 2 to 2.5 gallon size which nowadays I only use to store miscellaneous pasta (in their original packaging). It’s cumbersome to lug around so you only want to use it for bulky long term storage.
One and Half Gallon Jars: These are my go-to jars. Not only will they use a wide mouth jar lid which can then be vacuum sealed if I so desire, but they’re easy to move around. I store flour, pasta, rice, and beans. Note: Freeze your pasta, rice, and flour for one week before storing. Different weevils have different life cycles but you should be able to kill the larva within that time.
Quart and Pint Jars: Mostly used for canning, but I also store large gardening seeds as well as for sprouting seeds.
Food Storage Bags: Much as I hate to encourage one-use items, there are times when resealable storage bags are essential. They fit neatly in the freezer and are easy to identify.
Although I use sandwich, quart and gallon size, I depend on the gallon size. I take several meal sized portions of food wrapped individually in plastic wrap and then into resealable bags. I can then pull out only what I need for that meal.
Meal Prep Glass Containers: There are lots of brands out there, but nothing beats Pyrex. Aside from being durable, glass doesn’t allow for stains or smells to linger like plastic will. Buy at least one of each size. (I keep two of each and use them daily.) Don’t waste your time with plastic.
Plastic Meal Prep Containers: I still keep a few. They’re great for when you bring something to a potluck. You won’t have to worry about getting it back.
Aluminum Meal Prep Containers: I LOVE these. I often make casseroles in big batches and divvy them up into smaller aluminum containers. They go from freezer to oven. They’re also great for sending guests home with leftovers or if you make a meal for a sick neighbor. They don’t have to worry about sending back any containers. I buy these in bulk because I make a lot of freezer meals.
Plastic Wrap/Aluminum Foil: I buy these in bulk too. They keep forever and they’re easy to store. I think I’m still using foil I bought ten years ago. Today, they’re outrageously priced so I feel I made out like a bandit.
Silicone sheets: One reason I don’t overuse aluminum foil is because I use silicone sheets that are washable and reusable. Nothing sticks to them. I really recommend these especially for baking. Cookies slide right off. They’re great for sticky foods too.
Paper Plates/Plastic Cups: It seems like a frivolous expenditure, but there are times you want to limit the amount of dish washing. They’re especially handy if you have little kids. No broken plates or glass.
Paper Rolls: I have an entire drawer of rags for cleaning, but sometimes you need paper. I don’t bother with the fancy stuff. I prefer the plain brown paper that cleaning companies use. They’re sturdier and come in bulk.
The Freebies: I keep any good quality plastic or glass jar. I've used them for every kind of storage, from dried herbs to chopped frozen veggies. I'm particularly fond of the large plastic creamers with the nice wide mouths. Small butter tubs are used to hold spent grease that I don't want clogging my plumbing. When enough is collected I toss it in the trash. Larger empty butter tubs are the perfect serving size for homemade broth.
Whether you’re just starting out, or refreshing your supply stash, invest first in glass storage containers, followed by Pyrex storage/baking containers. Buy a few silicone baking sheets too. I swear by them.
It’s hard to find any of these base needs on sale anymore. But you can stock up on all these things bit by bit.
How do you store your foods? Is anyone else a silicone mat aficionado? Do you reuse your empty glass and plastic food containers?