I’ve always tried to keep a small pantry stocked because I don’t like to shop and of course for emergencies. I add to it as I go along by adding an extra item or two to my grocery orders, especially sale items.
Recently I have been reminded of the importance of keeping a pantry stocked to last for 1 to 2 months. First during the aftermath of a major storm at the end of last summer when we were out power for a week. And now during the pandemic when stores are crowded and shelves are often bare from panic buying.
Here are a few of my tips for stocking a pantry.
- Be sure you have items that you could actually live with and stay healthy on for a while if you had to. Canned salmon and tuna, natural peanut butter, rice cakes, canned veggies and fruit, pasta and sauce, baking ingredients, shelf-stable milk, rice and other grains, lentils, beans, canned soup are a good place to start.
- Check expiration dates and rotate items in your pantry from time to time.
- Keep a few snack items on hand so you won’t be running down the chip aisle in a crazed frenzy throwing bags in your cart when disaster strikes. Believe me, I’ve been tempted. The chip aisle at our little neighborhood store is just inside the front door.
- Buy one extra of your household essentials when they are on sale. I’ve been spared the mass hysteria in the toilet paper aisle during the pandemic by doing this.
- Resist the urge to panic buy or hoard during a crisis. If we all buy only what we need and share with others there will be enough food to go around.
Remember those who produce, package, deliver and sell the food we need are also going through the same things we are. Don’t panic. Don’t let food spoil. If you have more than you can eat before it goes bad, share it with a friend. Eat from your freezer and pantry and get creative in using what you have.