It's Autumn and the temperatures are cooler. In the Pacific Northwest we dropped almost 20 degrees overnight!
With the weather change that also means our foods of choice change. The dinner table will look different this time of year so it's time to pay attention on how to stock your pantry for winter.
Remember that during the hot summer months we want foods that are light and crisp and cool. And then when the weather turns cooler in fall and winter, it's about warmer comfort foods to nourish us, make us feel cozy, and warm our insides. This means more soups, stews, casseroles, breads and such. Is your pantry ready to handle the change in meal choices?
Now is the time to make the switch from salads to stews. Vegetables change with different seasons as well as the types of meats that people like to eat. There is just something comforting to come home to a nice hot (and filling) meal when the weather outside is crisp.
Preparing your Pantry
Early Fall is a good time to edit and clean out your pantry.
Most of the items you have are probably common staples that any pantry needs. Spices, baking items, snacks, canned items, and a few dried noodles, or beans. Because we tend to make more sauces and desserts during the fall and winter, so be sure to stock up on items needed for those things. There is nothing wrong with having two bags of flour and an extra bag of sugar especially if you will use them. Dry staples will last a while when kept in a dry, cool and dark place.
Make a list of what you will need. What types of meals do you typically make at this time of the year? Soups? Stews? Oven dishes? Account for those ingredients in your shopping list for your pantry.
Keep a bit of summer in your winter pantry. Can or freeze vegetables and fruits that you would like to enjoy throughout the colder weather. I do both but not every year. This year was a freezer year in our home. I froze tomatoes, blueberries, raspberries, rhubarb, zucchini, and even chopped onions.
Freezing fresh veggies and fruits now often provide more flavor than buying out-of-season imported fresh in the store.
Stock up on stocks for soups and stews. Vegetable, beef and chicken stock or broth add flavor to dishes without adding salt. If you make your own broth that's great (and easy in the Instant Pot) if not you can purchase canned, boxed, jarred, and even powder broths to keep on hand.
Do you have a section for grains. I like to keep several different grains on hand. Quinoa, couscous, oats, oatmeal and barley are great sources of fiber and also create a filling dish. You can eat well and feel full without packing on the pounds this winter.
Finally don't forget these common staples. A winter pantry wouldn't be complete without potatoes, garlic and onions. Store them at the lowest level in your pantry. Keep them hanging in the bags they were purchased in if you want.
How will you stock your pantry this winter?