I was chatting with a friend recently about their prepping plans for pantry stocking. It brought up a few items that are often overlooked, but are not expensive. Some of these items you might recognize sold out during the early pandemic months and were out of stock for months in stores. Each item listed has a “why” you should stock it and what type of containers to buy it in. While most can be bought at grocery stores, restaurant supply stores offer larger sizes, often for a lot less money. For us, in the PNW, we shop at Smart Food Service (used to be known as Cash and Carry) which unlike Costco, has no membership.
- Baking Soda: Buy it in the round containers, not paper boxes for long term storage. Have at least a few cans in stock. (If you cannot find that, then buy in paper boxes or bags, but transfer to mason jars and seal) Baking soda is used for leavening in baking, but is a great toothpaste, has first aid uses (stings and heartburn) and for cleaning. Mix with white vinegar for a natural cleaner.
- Baking Powder: Buy in small round containers. Baking powder does lose strength in rising power over time, once opened, so it is better to buy in small containers, even though it will cost more. Have a couple on hand.
- Dry Activated Yeast: Buy in glass jars or for long-term, the 1 pound bags that are vacuum sealed. You may not bake. But you can bet others do, so the trade/bartering capability is high. It can also be used to make wine. Store in a mason jar once opened, and if you have refrigeration, keep it chilled once opened.
- Salt: It is cheap. Very cheap. Buy a couple types. It stored properly, it will last forever. We keep fine sea salt and kosher salt for cooking. Himalayan pink can be ground easily. If worried about iodine, keep a container or two of table salt on hand. If your salt comes in paper, transfer into mason jars to protect it. Salt is used in canning/food preservation, so important to have plenty on hand. Consider having a large box (or three) of pickling salt/rock salt.
- Apple Cider Vinegar: Buy it in gallon jugs. ACV is used in canning, to preserve/pickle food. It is also used in many foods. Can be made into a hot toddy with honey to help settle upset stomachs. Used as a rinse on dark hair to clean it.
- White Vinegar: Buy it in gallon jugs. Use it for cleaning, adding it to rinse water for berries/fruit/vegetables. Used in preserving food, such as pickling. Is used to clean metal from hard water buildup (coffee makers, washing machines).
- Lemon Juice: Buy it in large bottles or gallon jugs (restaurant supply stores). Yes, you can make lemonade with it, but the real reason to have a large stock on hand is for food preservation. When canning home grown tomatoes due to some tomatoes being sweeter now (from breeding), bottled lemon juice ensures that your acidity is proper. All you need is a Tablespoon of lemon juice per jar.
- Corn Starch: While it is normally used for thickening sauces (and which it does well!). cornstarch can be used to remove moisture on a body (as long as they are not allergic to corn). If you have to walk for example, and it is hot and humid out, you run the risk of painful areas (or as it is called horribly….”chub rub”) such as between thighs, where underwear pinches, and under stomach areas or in women, under the bust. Corn starch and a puff to apply can go far. It can also be used on dogs, shake on and brushed off (outside) to remove oil from their coats.
- Canning Mixes: Having dry mixes to can with goes far. I suggest buying online, as many stores have still not restocked. Salsa mixes mean no chopping or sourcing peppers. make your own pasta sauce. Pickle mixes as well as a many other mixes.
- Pectin: For making jam, jelly and even gelatin (it’s vegan), buy Pomona’s Pectin. You can make lower sugar, honey, stevia and even use fruit juice instead of sugar, as with most other brands of pectin. Using pectin means less cooking of your jam, ensuring your jam tastes it the freshest.