Pantries used to be found in just about all homes prior to the 1950s. In the days when refrigeration was new or nonexistent, they played a large role in food storage. They ranged in size from modest closets to the room-sized pantries in houses that employed servants.

Today, a walk-in pantry is a luxury few homes have. But you can find ways to adapt or add pantry space to your home , maybe even without doing any construction. One of the easiest ways is to convert space you already have. A broom closet can be made into a pantry by the addition of a few shelves without a major construction project. If the space is narrow and deep, consider using pullout shelves. A hall closet near the kitchen would also work.

Here are a few basic items to stock a pantry with. Keeping these things on hand will eliminate a lot of trips to the store:

Honey, hot pepper sauce (Tabasco), ketchup, mayonnaise, mustard (yellow, Dijon)
Vegetable oil
Olives: black and pimento-stuffed green
Soy sauce: regular or reduced sodium
Vinegar: cider, red and white wine
Worcestershire sauce

Spices, seasoning and herbal mixes
Basil, bay leaf, black pepper, cayenne pepper, chili powder, ground cinnamon, cloves, dill weed, garlic powder, ginger, nutmeg, onion powder, oregano, paprika, rosemary, sage, salt, tarragon and thyme.
Italian seasoning, sloppy Joe mix, taco seasoning mix
Pasta, grains and breads
Fetuccini and spaghetti noodles
Bread crumbs
Rice: long-grain white; long-grain or instant brown

Canned, dried or bottled goods
Beans, such as pinto, kidney and black varieties
Dried fruits: dark raisins, apricots, dates
Canned soup: mushroom, chicken, beef and vegetable broths
Canned tomatoes, diced whole tomatoes, tomato paste and tomato sauce
Canned tuna
Nuts: almonds, walnuts pecans and unsalted peanuts

Dry basics
Baking powder and baking soda
Unsweetened cocoa
Flour: all-purpose plain and cake flour
Sugar: white granulated, 10-x powdered, light and dark brown

With these basic items stocked in your pantry, you can assemble a variety of meals and baked goods without having to shop at the store every other day.

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