Here is my list of 11 things every pantry needs to cook from scratch. If you start with this list, the sky is the limit to help you make just about every baked item we would like to bake. Now we can add more foods to our pantry to make even more meals. But today I am going to just talk about what you can make any time with these baking items below. Yep, you can do it! You don’t even need an electric mixer. If you have a large bowl that would really help, depending on what you decide to make.
I’ve been telling my readers for years that they need to get back to the basics when it comes to food preparation. This really holds true when it comes to having things on hand if and when a disaster or special emergency takes place. Once you get your act together, please be sure to spend time with your kids and grandkids and explain the whys and hows of food prep and a quality pantry inventory. You’ll be glad you did, and so will they.
These items are in the pantry, not the freezer. I want everyone to know what they can make in any emergency when the power is out. Okay, let’s get started. I’m updating this post from 2017, you may see your names at the bottom, I love it.
What Every Pantry Needs:
The great thing about honey is that it lasts forever. It might crystallize over time, but it’s still great to use. You might need a chisel, but it tastes great soft or hard. One thing about honey, you can drizzle it on homemade biscuits, bread, or pancakes. Yummy! My baking items have to include honey!
I recommend Cox’s Honey: Cox’s Honey Website. They have true raw honey you’ll love.
Be careful with honey and babies. Please do your research. I cringe when I have people tell me they just bought several 5-gallon buckets of honey to store.
Please put the honey in quart jars or you may be sorry, just so you know. It will last forever but you’ll need a way to get it to soften in order to use it. I know because I’ve had to put my half-gallon containers of honey outside in the heat of the summer and keep my fingers crossed that it would go back to its original consistency.
2. Real Salt
Everyone usually has some salt in the cupboard. Here’s the deal with salt, our bodies need salt to survive. I am not talking about excessive amounts, but salt makes some foods taste better as well. Plus, I need to bake certain items as listed below and I need salt to make it all work right. This is my favorite: Redmond Real Salt, Fine Ground
3. Olive Oil
We can use olive oil for so many baked items, which I will list below. Remember, olive oil doesn’t have a long shelf life. I never store mine for more than 1 year. Six months is even better. But I have been invited to eat at homes where the olive oil on side dishes or salads tastes rancid. Some people have had it for years. Oh, man is it bad, in my opinion. When in doubt…throw it out.
4. SAF Yeast
I realize you can make a lot of things without this commercial yeast. My very good friend, Melissa Richardson who wrote the book “The Art Of Baking With Natural Yeast” never uses commercial yeast. I’m not anxious to try a bunch of new things when I know my recipe works great, and I still love my no-fail freshly ground whole wheat bread. Saf Instant Yeast
One thing I want to stress is the need for fresh ingredients, especially when it comes to yeast. If a reader mentions they didn’t like the results of their homemade bread, I always ask if they used fresh yeast. I do keep some yeast in my fridge, but the bulk of it is in my pantry.
5. Baking Soda
This is a “must-have” for some homemade food items. This is a very important baking item for the pantry. It’s a leavening agent to help baked goods rise. I quote Medical News Today: “People tend to use baking soda in recipes with acidic ingredients, such as cocoa powder or buttermilk. When added to a mixture, the baking soda interacts with the acid and creates carbon dioxide. Baking in a hot oven makes the batter expand and rise, giving the finished product a soft and fluffy texture. Baking soda also helps baked goods to brown. That means people tend to use it to make things such as cookies.”
6. Baking Powder
This is also a “must-have” for some homemade items. It’s a leavening agent to help baking goods rise. I quote Medical News Today: “Baking powder already contains acid. People use baking powder when a recipe does not include an acidic ingredient. In most cases, manufacturers label baking powder as double acting. That means it will activate or start to create carbon dioxide when a person mixes it with a liquid. It will activate again when they heat up or cook the mixture.”
7. Coconut Oil
Let me count the ways we can use coconut oil! Not just for the pantry…..plus this has a longer shelf life than most oils. The temperature where it is stored is critical. I try to store many of my “pantry” items in a cool dark place, not in a hot garage. I want to get the best shelf life I can out of my food storage items, so proper storage conditions are important.
8. Powdered Butter
Well, we do need some powdered butter in the pantry. Do you remember me telling you I opened a can of powdered butter and mixed the portions on the can and started stirring? I start gagging just thinking of the smell. The website said it tasted just like “Land O’Lakes” butter. NO WAY! I still laugh about that. Powdered butter for baking is a great emergency food storage item. Red Feather Butter is yummy and you can store it for emergencies. It’s a little pricey but it tastes good. Please don’t “can” butter it isn’t safe to eat, trust me on this one. Here’s the Red Feather butter that rocks, Red Feather Creamery Butter
9. Instant or Powdered Milk
This one is a “must-have” baking item, but it’s also perfect for those days when you’re out of milk and the roads are iced over. You can make milk to drink, cook with, on cereal, etc.! Love it! the taste of powdered milk has improved over the years. I like the flavor of many brands now, in years past I couldn’t say that.
10. Powdered Eggs (OvaEasy is my favorite)
These are my favorite #10 can eggs (they have packages inside the can). They are 100% eggs. Of course, if you have chickens or quail you are set for any meal with tasty fresh eggs.
11. Wheat (I prefer Hard White), White Bread Flour, Gluten-Free Flour
If you have wheat you’ll need a wheat grinder. You can sprout wheat as well. Be sure and check the shelf life for white flour (12 months at the most). Please don’t go out and buy and then try to store large bags of flour. They will go rancid in a year or two, so purchase them in moderation. When in doubt throw it out. I believe in waste not want not to, but I don’t want to get the “flu” as in food poisoning.
Related: 13 Surprising Uses for Flour
Meals You Can Make With 11 Basic Baking Items:
Bread is a real staple in our house, but with wheat and related flour, you can make pancakes, muffins, pasta, cracked wheat, sprouted wheat, and tortillas. You can also make crackers, mayonnaise, English muffins, Swedish Hotcakes, Popeye Pancakes, cookies, and crepes. The list also includes custards, puddings, cakes, waffles, and biscuits. Is your mouth watering now? I decided to make some crepes for Father’s Day Breakfast, they were delicious!
Here’s the deal, look at all these items you can make in a disaster situation if you have just these 11 items. If you have some fruit, vegetables, and cheese, you’ll rock when preparing meals, in an emergency, or just every day! These are just a few of the things every pantry needs.
These bread and hamburger buns can be made by hand but my hands hurt these days so I invested in a Zojirushi Breadmaker
Let’s be ready for those winter storms. Please fill your pantry with these basic baking items. Remember, if you can afford to get that $30.00 butane stove you can cook inside (just crack a window)! Stock up on a few cans of butane and be ready when the power goes out. Butane Stove 4 Cans of Fuel
What are some other food items I should consider when putting my emergency food plan together?
If you’re just getting started with your pantry food storage stash, these 11 items are must-haves. To expand on that theme of pantry staples and to build a more robust inventory, think about investing in some or all of the following items. You don’t need to purchase things all at once, I’ve always suggested “one can at a time” to make the most of your food budget dollars.
Canned Goods: even when you’re cooking from scratch, you can add things that come in cans when making that soup, stew, or casserole. Canned goods come in all varieties and have a longer shelf life. Consider having some beans like black beans, kidney beans, and pinto beans, along with other veggies like squash, green beans, carrots, potatoes, tomatoes, spinach, and onions. Plan to add canned fruits like peaches, pears, plums, cherries, and more.
Also have some quality canned meats like tuna, chicken, beef, and pork. Yes, we can get lots of protein from beans, but meat is a critical source of quick protein, particularly in stressful situations.
Herbs and Spices
Herbs and Spices: to add the desired flavors we’re used to having with our meals, we need to store a variety of herbs and spices. Some of the more common ones you might want are garlic, pepper, cumin, oregano, thyme, basil, curry, parsley, lime, and turmeric. Many come in powder form like garlic, chili, and onion, but they also come in a more coarse ground version. Also, peppers come in a wide variety of names and flavors too.
Don’t forget to add some extracts like vanilla extract to add special flavors to meals, especially with homemade desserts.
Rice: rice is a staple that can go with so many other foods to make a meal. There are many different options when it comes to rice, and some have longer shelf lives than others. Brown rice tends to spoil earlier, so I’ve tended to go with jasmine and basmati. The basmati is a special long-grain rice that chefs seem to like. Rice is popular all over the world and has the attribute of making you feel full.
Condiments: most condiments are pretty shelf stable and should stay good for at least a year. That would include ketchup, mustard, and mayo. You might want to also store some bottled pickles of various types along with some relishes and sauces like spaghetti sauce.
Treats and Sandwich Fixings
Treats and Sandwich Fixings: we like to fix some quick lunches during the week. Our go-to meal is peanut butter and jam or jelly. Of course, nut butter comes in all sorts of flavors besides peanuts, so if you want to switch things up, look at almond butter, cashew butter, hazelnut butter, and Brazil nut butter as starters. We also like to eat a variety of nuts as treats. Costco has some great options that come singular or as a mixture.
Chocolate would be number one for me. Yep, it sure would be #1!
Raymond: Hey, I’d add sugar and cinnamon to the list just because of all the wonderful things you can make with the addition of those two items. And like honey, sugar, if stored properly, will last forever. I’m not sure about how long cinnamon will last as no container of it has ever even hit the expiration date at our house.
Carol: I buy Red Feather canned butter. It is the best butter I’ve ever had! Delicious!
Janet: I love Cox’s honey. I have a lot stored. I also buy maple syrup for making applesauce in the fall. I have also found that you can make your own baking powder from baking soda and cream of tartar in a pinch. I have powdered butter, but also have butter in my freezer and in cans bought from campingsurvival.com I can’t imagine having homemade bread without butter.
Honey: Store in Glass Jars
Phillip: Take any honey that you get in plastic bottles and repack in glass jars. It will set up but if you reheat it in a pan of water over a low temperature it will go back to a liquid state. They have found honey stored in ceramic jars in Egypt that is still good, some of it is estimated to be over 1000 years old.
Leanne: If you store cinnamon, it is best to store it in sticks and then grind it as needed. The sticks will last much much longer than ground.
Leanne: Also- when storing sugar, be aware that you can make your own powdered sugar – may take a lot of elbow grease if no electricity but it can be done. A friend of mine had a birthday (unbeknownst to me) while camping. I made a cake in the Dutch oven and ground some (barely enough) sugar into a fine powder to make a simple glaze for it. If you also have molasses in your preps, you can add a bit of white sugar to make brown sugar.
If you have a pantry or a closet stocked with just a few things like I listed today, just think of all the things you can make even if the power goes out. Stay safe, and watch your surroundings when you go out in this crazy world. May God Bless this world, Linda