7 Must-Have Ingredients You Should Always Keep in Stock
Getting food has never been as convenient as it is today. You can make a stop at the grocery store on the way home or take a quick walk to the convenience store if you’re missing an ingredient. Despite this convenience, life can still get in the way. Sometimes you’re too busy or simply too tired to make that grocery stop.
Hence, it’s a great thing then that you can now order groceries online. If you’re not sure of what to stock up on, this article compiles seven ingredients your pantry needs to have. With these ingredients, you can make a wide variety of simple to even more complicated dishes.
Make sure to keep your pantry stocked with the following ingredients:
Salt and Pepper
When it comes to seasonings, there are countless types that you can choose, including cayenne, garlic powder, basil, turmeric, nutmeg, and cinnamon. However, if you’re still counting yourself as a beginner at cooking, you can never go wrong with salt and pepper. These two are the most basic kinds of seasoning, but they are also one of the most indispensable in your pantry. Whether you put them on meat, vegetables, or plain rice, salt and pepper are crucial to giving flavour. And even if you’re starting to work on more complicated dishes, you’ll still always need a pinch of salt a dash of pepper.
Additionally, you can use salt to preserve food. If you wish to make your meats and fish last longer, you can apply salt on them to draw out the water content. This prevents them from spoiling too quickly.
Overall, always make sure to keep salt and pepper in stock.
Sugar is a must-have for people with a sweet tooth. It’s a crucial ingredient in creating deserts, such as cookies and cupcakes. You can even melt it to make your own homemade caramel as a quick treat.
Sugar can also serve as substitutes for other sweet ingredients. If your tea is too bland, you can use sugar if you don’t have honey. Melted sugar also works like maple syrup if you need something to top your pancakes. More importantly, sugar is crucial for balancing flavour. For example, if you don’t like your coffee too strong, you can add some sugar to help ease the bitterness.
However, just make sure to store your sugar in an airtight container to prevent pesky insects from reaching it.
Oils are essential to cooking. Some of the most common kinds of oil available in the market include canola oil, vegetable oil, and sesame oil. Oils help in transferring heat to food, leading to the breaking down of sugars and proteins inside. This creates a rich and complex flavour, and the resulting taste can vary as much as the number of ingredients that you use.
Frying is the most common cooking method that uses oils. Indeed, almost every type of food tastes good after frying them, including meat, fish, eggs, vegetables, or even grains. If you need to quickly make something to eat, make sure to stock up on your preferred kind of cooking oil.
Flour is a versatile ingredient you can use for several kinds of dishes. Viands, pastries, bread, soups, sauces—these are only some of the dishes that use flour. This means that if you’re properly stocked, you will have more options on what meal to prepare on any given day.
Additionally, flour can last in your pantry for a long time. It can stay fresh up to eight months after opening and last even longer if you refrigerate it. In both cases, make sure to store it in an airtight container to prevent it from getting wet and growing moulds.
Eggs are probably the easiest to use and most versatile ingredients in cooking. You can boil them for quick snacks, fry them for breakfast, or mix them with other ingredients to make something entirely new. If you have eggs in the house, you can easily whip a quick meal if you’re starting to feel hungry.
However, eggs can easily spoil and are fragile, so they need to be properly stored. You can extend their shelf life by placing them in the main part of the refrigerator instead of the egg rack found inside the refrigerator door. This can help them last up to three to five weeks. And if you want to keep them for longer, you can even freeze them. The best way to do this is to crack the eggs and store the contents in an airtight container.
Meanwhile, here’s a pro tip: you can beat the eggs and pour them in ice cube trays. This way, you can simply remove one “egg cube” each time you want to cook something.
Potatoes are a staple in the pantry and can be cooked in various ways. They can be sliced and fried to make chips, boiled to make mash potatoes, or mixed with meat, sauces, and soups. Hence, it’s no wonder then that potatoes are the fourth most widely consumed vegetable crop in the world.
Potatoes are not only rich in nutrients but are also filled with fibre, making them easier to digest. To add to that, they are also low in cholesterol, which makes them great for heart health. However, the same health benefits do not apply to processed potato foods like french fries and hash browns. To make the most of their nutrients, it’s best to learn how to cook other dishes that utilize fresh potatoes instead.
Grains are among the most widely eaten types of food in the world, especially in Asia. It’s considered a category in itself due to its many varieties. Some of the grains people commonly eat include rice, oats, rye, quinoa, and corn. So if you’re not yet doing it, make sure to stock up on your preferred type of grain whenever you can.
Grains have long shelf lives and can easily last up to six months or more when stored right. The best way to do this is to pour your preferred grains in an airtight container and store them somewhere cool and dry. Placing them in the freezer can even help them last up to a year.
There are countless ways you can eat grains, and the dish differs with the kind of grain that you use. Don’t be afraid to mix it up a bit—like adding seasonings or mixing it vegetables—to make yourself different meals.
To conclude, you can make cooking easier for yourself by ensuring that the items above are properly stocked in your pantry. With this done, you can make several kinds of dishes that can keep you healthy and energetic. And if you don’t have time for grocery shopping, there are companies that allow you to order them online. Try it today to save time and energy from parking, browsing, and lining up at the checkout counter.