A store cupboard is a wonderful thing. It means that even if there is nothing fresh in the fridge, you can create delicious meals out of what are all pretty much RAW INGREDIENTS (ok so some are a bit processed or contain more than just one ingredient e.g. dried pasta, but they are pretty basic ingredients).
All the things listed on this page are currently in my house. Now, I’m not saying by any means for you to go out now and buy all of these things in one go. My store cupboard has been built up over many years (and followed me from house to house) as my tastes and cooking skills have developed. But, the important thing to remember is, that these ingredients last weeks, months, or even years (though always check use-by dates!) so you’ll only need to top it up every now and then once it’s established.
I’ve probably missed out a lot of ingredients that others regularly keep in their own store cupboard. Yours will look different depending on your taste and the things you like to cook. But if you are new to the concept, this gives you a guide of where to start.
HOW DO YOU EXPECT ME TO STORE ALL OF THIS??!
You may be scoffing right now at the thought of trying to fit all of this in your kitchen. I do have a lot of storage space in my current kitchen, but I’ve also lived in houses with tiny kitchens and still managed to keep a decent store cupboard by being a bit more inventive with space.
This list is mostly made up of herbs and spices which are fairly easy to store. You can use spice racks or put the little pots in plastic tubs labelled ‘spices’ or ‘herbs’ and stack them up. The bulkier things may be more difficult if storage is tight, but as I said, I don’t expect you to get every single thing on this list and fit it in your kitchen right now. As your collection grows, you can find creative ways to pack it all in to the space you have available.
Make the most of your freezer
The freezer is an excellent tool to ensure you always have access to meat and vegetables. I do a big shop once every 2-3 weeks and top it up a few times in between with fresh veg/bread etc. I freeze lots of meat & fish and defrost it as and when I want to cook it. You can dice and freeze vegetables, or buy bags of frozen veg from the supermarket (even if its just a bag of frozen peas). I love the packets of frozen fresh herbs that you can buy because home grown herbs don’t tend to last the winter and fresh bought herbs don’t last long in the fridge, so there’s always some to hand.