Pantry/ Food Storage Essentials
These are the essentials of an organic, whole food, mostly vegan and significantly raw pantry to supplement the fresh produce and other foods you eat that are more perishable.
Grains: Whole Wheat, Barley, Brown Rice, Brown Sushi Rice (if you can get it), Rye, Whole Wheat Couscous, Quinoa (keen-wah), millet, buckwheat, whole oats and any others you like. Fresh ground flours, especially White Whole Wheat or Whole Wheat Pastry flour. Whole grain pastas, if you don’t want to make them from scratch. Azure Standard is a commonly used home delivery service for bulk foods. I’ve never used it myself, but a lot of people love it. If you live in the San Francisco Bay area, Rainbow Grocery on Folsom and 13th is an awesome store for bulk goods.
Legumes: Garbonzo beans (which makes and excellent gluten-free flour alternative), brown lentils, red lentils, black beluga lentils, (lentils cook up quickly, and sprout really well, so I like to keep plenty on hand) black beans, soybeans, pinto beans, barlotti beans, and any others you care to try.
Nuts and seeds: Raw almonds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, walnuts, raw cashews, brazil nuts, pecans, alfalfa seeds, mustard seeds etc.
Sweeteners: Raw honey, 100% pure maple syrup, Medjool dates
Dried Fruit: Black raisins, golden raisins, dried apricots, currants, cherries, cranberries, unsweetened shredded coconut, whole dates, prunes, Sun dried tomatoes, etc. (pour boiling water over dried fruits and blend into jams/ sauces, just add sweeteners, salt or dried herbs as needed. No preservatives, tastes better and saves lots of space!)
Dried herbs and spices: (most spices are much more potent and delicious if you buy them whole and grind them fresh as needed) parsley, garlic powder, granulated onion, ground rosemary, basil, oregano, whole leaf thyme, peppercorns and grinder, cumin, cinnamon, whole nutmeg, allspice, cloves, celery seed, coriander, poppyseeds, and many others. Having a large variety and using them often will make all the difference in your culinary creations. I buy mine from Mountain Rose Herbs, but I hope to grow some of them myself next season. Fresh herbs are also essential and easy to grow indoors and outdoors. You can make excellent broth’s using dried herbs, salt and water, which is a great alternative to canned soups and broth’s when wanting to avoid preservatives and save space.
Other: Cold Pressed Extra Virgin Olive and Coconut Oils, Apple Cider Vinegar, quick active yeast (if you choose not to or cannot use a fresh yeast culture, which would be a better choice if you can use it), Sea Salt or Kosher Salt (non-iodized and free of anti-caking agents), carob or non-dutched cocoa powder, aluminum free baking powder, baking soda, curry powder or paste. Fresh Garlic.
*Note on storage* Buying in bulk will save you a lot of money in the long run, but it is important to store your foods properly. Hard, low-moisture Grains like wheat and beans, when stored in a cool, dry place, in airtight containers away from sunlight will store for 30+ years. Higher moisture grains like buckwheat will only last a couple of years, if kept from insect infestations. You may want to use oxygen absorbing packets in your containers. Flours, however, will only store for a few months and they need to be made fresh or rotated through regularly. Nuts and seeds, once shelled, are best stored in freezer safe bags under refrigeration or in a freezer. If they are kept in their hard shell, however, a cool, dry cellar is sufficient. They will last a year or two when stored correctly. Dried fruit is also best stored in the freezer to avoid insect infestation. Dried herbs will store for a few years, but they begin to degrade after one year. When made into herbal tinctures for medicinal purposes, herbs will last a very long time. Garlic should be hung from a hook in the ceiling and will store for about 6 months. All items above need to be kept cool, dry and in a dark place to reach their maximum shelf life. I recommend buying in bulk, store a years supply of food if possible and rotating through your storage, replacing used items every 6 months. I also recommend storing glass jars of oils and such in foam stuffed baskets on the floor to help avoid breaking in case of an earthquake.
For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.