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What are your favorite pantry staples?

In 2 months I will be moving back to the States after 2 years in Korea. I have all of my appliances and things in storage but I will be starting my pantry completely over. What are your favorite and must have items? I'm looking for generics as well as beloved brands. I'm trying to set us up to have a more "real food" lifestyle, so I'd appreciate any tips or recommendations there as well. Thanks!

asked by Rachelwrites almost 3 years ago

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5 answers 999 views
Meaghan F
added almost 3 years ago

Definitely agree with Nancy that "essentials" can differ from kitchen to kitchen. That said, there's a few you'll probably need no matter what: oil with a high smoke point for frying/sautéing; a higher-quality oil (olive, sesame, nut) for drizzling and vinaigrettes; at least one good vinegar (I have multiple); one general go-to seasoning mix, either purchased or hand-blended, you can trust to go with pretty much anything; flaky finishing salt (transcends all cuisines); hot sauce/chili paste. This list is far from all-inclusive, but I'm sure you'll get many more suggestions.

While you're at it, consider investing in some storage tools if your budget allows... I'm much happier in my pantry since I started using trays and OXO clear canisters to hold everything.

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PieceofLayerCake is a trusted source on baking.

added almost 3 years ago

Baking - King Arthur all-purpose flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, Morton kosher salt, Maldon flaked salt (LOVE), aluminum-free baking powder (Rumford), baking soda (good ole Arm & Hammer), honey (I have local varieties of orange blossom and buckwheat), cornstarch (Argo).

Non-Korean rice - arborio, wild, jasmine, brown. I'm not sure what you kept over in Korea, but I can imagine much of it is short to medium grain. If you're not sick of it, yet, that is. ;)

Pasta - I generally will always have a strand and extruded pasta on hand, 2 lbs of each. I like barilla, and generally go for penne rigate and bucatini.

Oils/vinegars - Colavita olive oil (extra virgin and pure), grapeseed oil, aged balsamic (I have a local brand), Columela sherry vinegar (or red wine, but I prefer sherry), Bragg apple cider vinegar, Colavita white wine vinegar.

Nuts/seeds - peanuts (only Planters for me). Everything else I get bulk at the local market, I keep most of em in the freezer: cashews, pistachios, walnuts, whole and sliced almonds. Seeds: white and black sesame, chia, flax, red/white quinoa.

Misc - lentils (green and dal), oats (rolled and steel cut), beans (black, pinto, white/great northern), low sodium chicken stock (I try to have homemade, but backups are good; I like Swanson) Amore tomato paste tube, potatoes (Yukon gold and red are my go-tos), garlic, yellow and red onions, Muir Glen crushed and whole tomatoes, canned tuna (I like Bumblebee packed in oil :-/), JIF peanut butter, Panko bread crumbs,

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added almost 3 years ago

Thanks! This was really helpful to read while I started my list.