I know I go on a lot about homegrown, and homemade foods being better… because they are. But this doesn’t mean that I don’t have any processed foods, or convenience foods in my pantry. On the weekend I was cleaning out the cupboard when I thought I would give you a little tour of my kitchen cupboards, and show you what foods we buy and what we use them for. We are probably due for a shopping trip in a week or two, so it isn’t as full as it would be just after a big shop.
To start with, we do buy breakfast cereal. Usually only weetbix and one other (no high sugar ones). In winter, porridge is a popular choice, and in summer, CB often makes his own muesli.
We buy savoury crackers such as rice biscuits and rice cakes, as well as the occasional packet of Jatz. The jatz always get hoovered up very quickly, so the kids have to ask if they want to eat those. We also have little boxes of sultanas, which are perfect to pop in a pocket when the kids come and help with farm work – you can bet they will always get hungry once they are out in the paddocks. I do buy the occasional packet of little biscuits to carry in my purse for the kids when we’re out. I have seen that idea of making homemade little biscuits, and then popping them in snap lock bags, but so far, I haven’t gone there.
On to spreads. We buy vegemite, peanut butter, and honey (though we are sometimes given a jar by friends, which tastes so much better than the shop bought variety). The kids love lemon curd, and while we love the homemade stuff, I can’t always get my hands on it, so we have a few jars of good quality curd on hand. It is also super handy in a last minute dessert with meringues (also in the pantry), frozen berries, and whipped cream when we have guests unexpectedly. Sort of like a fancy Eton Mess. We make our own jam.
We do buy tomato sauce, and yes, we are super classy and have that squirting nozzle on the top of the 3L container (it stops the kids from pouring too much). The sweet chilli sauce is a staple at our house. I recently started making my own, so once that bottle is finished we will start the homemade stuff. I use vegetable stock powder for most of my stock. I have bulk purchased a can of it. I whack a spoonful in whenever I’m making a soup, casserole, risotto, or anything else that needs a little flavour boost.
We buy oil in a large tin and decant it into an oil jar for use in the kitchen. I love our oil jar because it is so convenient.
I always have several bags of pasta, as well as rice (long grain and arborio), and noodles. They can form the base of so many quick meals. The kids love to have noodles for lunch on weekends – usually with some vegetables and soy sauce.
We don’t buy a lot of canned food, however there are always some tins of tuna and salmon for lunches or to toss through pasta for a quick meal. I use condensed milk in choc mint weetbix slice that Meg loves to make. We bottle our own tomatoes which we use in the same way as tinned tomatoes. The cans of soup have been there for a year or two, but CB likes them when he is sick.
We buy curry paste, because I think it tastes better than one I can make myself (the ratios of mine are never right!), and the custard is there on standby for when we ‘need’ some custard and fruit after dinner.
We aren’t coffee drinkers, though we have some on hand for guests, but I do love a hot milo on a cold morning or after dinner. The kids also will often have a milo after school in winter. I do have an occasional bottle of cordial, though we would only have a drink a couple of times a week – usually in hot weather.
I have shared before how we make our own self raising flour. We always have the full range of baking basics on hand. We always have a wide range of nuts and dried fruit as well. I like to keep them fully stocked because it makes it easier to find something to bake at short notice. It would be rare for me to not have an ingredient we need when the mood strikes. For this reason we also have a couple of long life creams, and lemonade cans on hand, so that we can make scones quickly. Bulk ingredients such as flour, sugar etc are kept in the laundry until needed, and then stored in containers on top of the mantel in the kitchen, so you can’t see them in the photos.
So there you go, a quick peek into my cupboards to see my pantry staples. While we do try to eat home made as much as possible, we still need to buy a lot of the ingredients to make our food.
What food’s do you keep on hand? Do you have a big pantry or have bits and pieces squirrelled away like I do? Want to know more about how I organise our kitchen?