How to Stock and Store Dry Goods, Canned Goods, and Condiments
A kitchen that's well stocked with dry goods, canned goods, and condiments can often make the difference between cooking a leisurely meal at home and making a mad dash to the grocery store. This list shows basic ingredients to keep on hand. Select those ingredients that you use on a regular basis, and round it out with others that you love. Take special note of where to store each item and the recommended storage time. You'll be surprised how easy it will be to cook a meal when you stock the right ingredients.
Adopt these organizational strategies so your pantry is always stocked with the foods you use most often.
- Keep a running grocery list of what you need. Post it in the kitchen so it's handy to write down items as they run low.
- Think ahead about which meals you will be cooking the following week. Prepare a menu and add any ingredients you will need to your list.
- Watch newspaper ads and inserts for weekly specials and manufacturer coupons so you can shop and save money at the same time.
- Plan your shopping trip when the market isn't overcrowded. This will allow you plenty of time to read nutritional labels and seek out new foods to try.
- Purchase in small quantities so your food is always fresh.
- Consider purchasing shortcut items, such as a rotisserie chicken, frozen meatballs, and pizza shells, that can shave time off your meal preparation.
- When you return from shopping, take time to clean out your cupboards and refrigerator. Dispose of any dated items.
- Don't leave ingredients such as flour and brown sugar in their original packaging. Transfer them to see-through containers that will keep ingredients fresh and help you easily identify the contents.
- Store canned foods and other shelf-stable items in a cool, dry place. Never put them above the stove, under the sink, or in a damp garage or basement.
- Place similar ingredients within close proximity of each other. Store all the dry ingredients together. Store canned goods, such as chicken broth and tomatoes, together as well.
|Food Item||Where to Store||Storage Time|
|Baking powder||Cupboard||6 months after opening|
|Baking soda||Cupboard||6 months after opening|
|Bread crumbs (dry)||Cupboard||6 months after opening|
|Broth or bouillon granules||Unopened: cupboard||Check expiration date|
|(beef, chicken, vegetable)||Opened: refrigerator|
|(cocoa powder, semisweet, chocolate pieces, unsweetened)|
||Cupboard||6 months; freeze for up to 1 year|
|Cornstarch||Cupboard||2 years after opening|
|Flour (all-purpose white)||Airtight container||1 year|
|Fruit, canned||Cupboard||1 year unopened|
|Garlic (bulb)||Cool, dry place||1 month|
|Ketchup||Refrigerator||6 months after opening|
|Maple syrup||Refrigerator||1 year after opening|
|Nonstick cooking spray||Cupboard||Check expiration date|
|(almonds, cocktail peanuts, pecans, walnuts)|
|Oats (quick cooking, rolled)||Airtight container||6 months; freeze for up to 1 year|
|Oils (olive, vegetable)||Cupboard||6 months|
|Onions||Cool, ventilated place||Several weeks|
|(yellow or white and red)|
|Pasta, dried||Cupboard||2 years|
||2 months after opening|
|Potatoes||Cool, ventilated place||Several weeks|
|(converted brown and white, long grain white, rice mixes, wild)|
|Roasted red sweet peppers||Refrigerator||2 weeks after opening|
|Salsa||Refrigerator||1 month after opening|
|Soy sauce||Refrigerator||1 year after opening|
|Spaghetti sauce||Refrigerator||2 weeks after opening|
||brown: 4 months; granulated/powdered: 18 months|
|(brown, granulated, powdered)|
|Tomatoes, canned||Cupboard||1 year unopened|
|(diced, stewed, whole, tomato paste, tomato sauce)|
|Tomatoes||Refrigerator||1 month after opening|
|(dried, oil packed)|
|Vegetable shortening||Cupboard||6 months after opening|
||1 year unopened|
|(balsamic, cider, distilled red or white)|
|Worcestershire sauce||Refrigerator||Check expiration date|