ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

What Foods Should be in Your Pantry?

Updated on March 17, 2018
Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle spends as much time in the kitchen as she does at a keyboard. It's no surprise that cooking and food are favorite article subjects.

Keeping a "store" of groceries in your home pantry is a good idea, even even if you live alone. If there are several people in your household, the importance of stocking-up multiplies.

Storing a stash of food saves time, money and often stress, especially in difficult times. Don't be caught short like Old Mother Hubbard.

Stocking your shelves with "CARE".

C = Convenience: Fewer trips to the market, saves time and money.

A = Assurance: Your pantry stash makes it easier to deal with power outages, bad weather, transportation disruptions, financial setback, disaster survival. You'll feel better by being prepared.

R = Readiness: Unexpected guests and impromptu celebrations won't cause dismay when you have a few treats ready for snacks and desserts, or even ingredients for a hearty main dish.

E = Economy: Take advantage of bargains or bulk buying. Making fewer trips to the store cuts back on impulse buys of expensive and unneeded items by having necessities (and maybe a few treats) on hand.

Fewer trips to the store means fuel savings, as well.

You might not be able to do it all at once. Start by buying a few extra things each week.

Pioneer Style

A rolling pantry.
A rolling pantry. | Source

Store Foods You Like

If you stock up on canned foods that you don't really enjoy, or don't eat regularly, they may never be used.

It can be disheartening to find bulging cans, or ones that have a long-expired "use by" date on items stashed in the back areas of your shelves because you do not really use them regularly.

You should keep a continual rotation going. If you are storing foods you like, this is no problem. However, if your are storing "just because you might use it as a last resort" it will probably be wasted.

In an emergency situation, eating foods that nobody really likes is not a morale booster. You want to stock up on your family favorites.

Also keep in mind that in an emergency situation you may have power outages. Ready to eat or quick cooking foods are especially useful at these times,

Check Expiration Dates

Most expiration dates are conservative. Nevertheless, you want to store the freshest possible food.

Canned goods are usually safe far beyond their "expiration", even though quality and color may deteriorate a bit.

Check cans and packages for damage before storing. If your supplies aren't marked with expiry dates, mark your purchase date on them with a bold tip marker.

Stock Up

When you come across a good discount sale on things you regularly use, go for it! This includes good sales on paper goods, cleaning supplies and other regularly used things that are not going to expire.

Buy a year's worth if you have room, checking the expiry date on food. If you can afford to buy now, think of it as an investment. If it is something you will buy eventually, do it now. It will likely cost more next year.

It is easy to find pantry lists and suggestions for specific items you should store, but you will find that all such lists include things that you, personally, would never use and also exclude some of your own "must have" items. Customize your list to fit your tastes and needs. It has to be personally needed or usable to be a bargain.

Organize It!

The Covered Wagon List

One example of keeping a working pantry in the early days of the United States, developed during the westward movement.

If you were planning a six month wagon trip across the plains starting from Saint Louis, Missouri, you likely supplied yourself with certain items. Food for the trip had to be compact, filling and satisfying yet lightweight, and nonperishable.

This is a typical list of pioneer staples:

Flour, cornmeal, oatmeal, rice, dried beans, split peas, lard, cured bacon, ham or salt pork, jerky, canned sardines and salmon, preserves, jam, pickles, molasses, honey, sugar, spices, herbs, pepper, salt, vinegar, coffee, tea, dried bread, crackers, hops (for making yeast), dried fruits (apples, peaches, raisins, currants, etc.) and dried vegetables (onion, celery, peppers. carrots), hard cheese, fresh potatoes, onions, garlic, other root vegetables, hardtack biscuits, baking soda or yeast. Sometimes, pioneers brought along a milk cow and a few chickens.

With the all the modern choices we have, we might not think this list sounds like gourmet or even normal everyday cuisine, but we would still hate to be without most of these basics in hard times.

Instead of lard, we would substitute vegetable oils or shortening. Oils can go bad after a time , but you will still want to have some stored (even "stale" oil can still be used for lamp oil). You may not normally use canned shortening, but as a last resort, it has a very long shelf-life.

Our choices of canned vegetables, fruits and meats is much wider than it was for the pioneers, and the hardtack would be replaced with a selection of crackers or crisp-bread. Milk, cream and eggs can now be bought in dry powdered form.

Non Foods

Storable food is important, but other items could become scarce in times of stress. Things disappear quickly in an emergency, and there are many items that can be useful for barter.

In addition to your edibles, store other things you can always use. Again, look for sales and bargains.

Some of these items are: candles, cooking oil, charcoal, matches, aluminum foil, batteries, garbage bags, toilet paper, clothes pins, first aid supplies, duct tape, sewing supplies, vitamins, aspirin, antacids, chlorine bleach, laundry detergent, insect repellent, baby wipes, anti-bacterial gel, personal hygiene items.

We get used to having everyday food and supplies available to buy at our local store. Having them at home, ready for use, can be very helpful.

What's in your pantry?


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • Rochelle Frank profile imageAUTHOR

      Rochelle Frank 

      11 years ago from California Gold Country

      Good idea. Even if you are close to stores-- Maybe you are not feeling well-- or you are caring for someone you don't want to leave alone. Having few extras on hand is very convenient.

    • Rochelle Frank profile imageAUTHOR

      Rochelle Frank 

      11 years ago from California Gold Country

      Moonlake, yes jars are a good idea for dry products. I have some half-gallon mason jars in their original crate, with rice, oatmeal, pasta, beans, etc. on the floor of my pantry for long term storage. Marking the contents (if not obvious) and the date is good too.

      Thanks for the comments, all.

    • In The Doghouse profile image

      In The Doghouse 

      11 years ago from California


      I am a firm believer in storing food as emergency preparedness. I love your CARE analogy. Thanks for your insights.

    • moonlake profile image


      11 years ago from America

      I love pantries. I have had two houses now with a pantry. I like to keep them full. Another good hint for a pantry is to put everything in glass jars, sugar, flour etc. Keeps the bugs out and keeps longer. Be sure to mark what each jar contains. I forgot to do that on a couple. Made dumplings yesterday and not sure what they were made from but I think it was either wheat flour or bread machine flour.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)