A well-stocked pantry is vital to ensure you have everything you need to prepare healthy and delicious meals, even on the busiest days when you don’t have time to stop at the grocery shop.
Our list includes several pantry items that home cooks will need to prepare basic dishes and more complex recipes too. Keeping a ready supply of these essential ingredients is important at all times, especially when access to shops might be limited or difficult for some people.
Filling your kitchen cupboards with these ingredients will save you precious time and money. Besides, having them handy at home might even inspire you to try new recipes and expand your culinary repertoire.
Must-Have Items For Your Pantry
Oil and vinegar
These two items are used in many recipes, including dressings and sauces, so it’s a good idea to have a couple of bottles of high-quality olive oil and vinegar in stock.
Olitalia is an Italian brand of pure and extra virgin (EV) olive oil which is available in three convenient sizes and is ideal for both cold and low-heat cooking applications.
EV oil is a versatile ingredient and cooking medium, but it will smoke when heated too much, so for deep-frying and other high-heat cooking, we recommend using Olitalia cooking oil instead, which comes in large canisters.
A pantry isn’t complete without canned goods. Not only do they have a long shelf-life, but they can provide for a quick meal option in a pinch. Topping the list of essentials here are beans, tomatoes and tuna.
Pop a couple of Blue Angel tuna chunks in your shopping trolley on your next grocery run and you’ll be all set to prepare an Insta-worthy ftira, wrap or salad at lunchtime.
Dry goods have a lot of uses so they absolutely deserve a spot in your pantry line-up. Make sure to stock up on such stapes as coffee, crackers, nuts, pasta, and of course, rice.
Eurico parboiled rice is easy to store and has a long shelf-life, which means you can bulk-buy and cook several meals with a single packet. Eurico rice can be used in a variety of settings, such as a side plate with other food or as a complete dish in itself for when you’re fancying a yummy and creamy risotto.
Another favourite dry goods brand with Maltese customers is Tipiak, which comprises several essential items for your pantry such as breadcrumbs and croutons for garnishing. Moreover, Tipiak’s range of couscous, polenta and bulgur wheat can be used in vegetarian and vegan recipes to make delicious and healthy dishes for all the family.
Another pantry essential, condiments not only help round off a dish and add flavour to it but can be used as ingredients to make sauces and in other culinary creations.
In fact, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a kitchen without ketchup and mustard, and completing the trio is Hellmann’s Mayonnaise. This classic topping can be used in many ways, from making a quick tuna mayo sandwich while taking a break from WFH, to using it as a substitute for egg in certain recipes.
Pair the mayo with Hellmann’s Tomato Ketchup and Colman’s English Mustard, et voilà… you can make a mean burger sauce that will have the family clamouring for seconds at dinner. Or just place the condiments in tiny bowls like they do at the restaurant and start dipping to your heart’s content!
And finally, for the fundamentals, let’s not forget the power couple of the kitchen: salt and pepper. Pick up a pair of Chef Seasoning salt and pepper shakers from the spices and condiments aisle on your next visit to the supermarket.
Watch out for the Himalayan salt with its unmistakable pink hue. This is a healthy alternative to common table salt as it has trace amounts of minerals like potassium, calcium and magnesium that your body needs to stay healthy.
Keeping Your Pantry Organised & Well-Stocked
Now that you know which basic foodstuffs you should add to your pantry, let’s organise everything so that you’ll never have to rummage elbow-deep for ingredients again.
The most important thing is to (1) make everything visible. If your pantry or shelves are deep, then we suggest placing the taller items in the back so that they can be seen over shorter products.
After arranging items by size, the next strategy is to sort by “best before” date. Make sure to (2) bring older products to the front so that they’re used first. When adding new items to the pantry, always put them behind or below the old ones.
For loose and unpackaged food, it’s best to (3) store it in plastic or clear glass containers and stick reusable labels on them to identify them more easily.
As soon as you notice that you’re almost out of an ingredient, (4) add it to your grocery list immediately so that you won’t forget to buy it on your next shopping run.
As you can see, an organised pantry saves time when bellies are rumbling and makes it easier to figure out when you need to replenish products. With the right items stocked in your pantry, you’ll be ready to whip up a delicious meal every time and never have to worry again about that eternal question: “What’s for dinner this evening?”.