There are certain changes that signal growing up: Your décor style becomes more defined, the idea of spending money on a quality vacuum isn’t horrifying, and your pantry transitions from a place to store instant noodles and paper plates, to a working, well-stocked space. Whether you’re a culinary whiz or not, we’ve rounded up 20 foods that every grownup pantry should have. Click through to see if yours passes the test.
A quality spice collection takes time to build, but it’s the sign of a seasoned home cook. While spices don’t necessarily spoil, dried herbs shouldn’t be kept for more than a year as they lose flavor quickly. If you rarely use spices, opt for whole varieties rather than ground or pre-chopped, which retain flavor for longer.
Growing up you couldn’t understand the difference between olive and vegetable oil. Now, there’s a new wave of options in the mix, like coconut, macadamia, and rice bran oil. So, which to use? Olive oil is ideal for drizzling on a salad, but shouldn’t be used for frying. Reach for canola or vegetable oil for general purpose cooking.
Perfect tossed in pasta sauce or topped on a fresh salad, canned fish like tuna or sardines are a pantry must-have.
An easy go-to for pasta sauce or soups, canned tomatoes have a long shelf life so keep a few on hand.
We know, truffle oil isn’t exactly a necessity, but it’s a sure-fire way to give any meal (ahem, take out) a gourmet twist.
If you’re a regular home cook, vanilla beans belong in your pantry. Rich in natural flavor, they’re a simple way to give baking a gourmet touch. Look for beans that are plump and glossy but bend slightly; brittle vanilla beans will be difficult to scrape seeds from.
Quality flour, sugar, and other baking necessities all belong in a grownup pantry.
Like olive oil, once you’ve tried quality balsamic vinegar it’s hard to go back. Not sure which one to pick? Balsamic vinegar should be glossy and dark brown in color with a syrup-like consistency.
Manuka honey has anti-bacterial properties and is often served with a lemon and hot water to sooth a sore throat.
Unlike the variety on your kitchen countertop, cooking wine contains salt to prolong its shelf life, and is made from lower quality grapes. Keep a bottle on hand to give sauces and meat dishes an extra flavor kick.
Salt is a kitchen staple, but well-curated pantries stock the gourmet variety. Reach for chili or lemon-infused sea salt to give a dish an impressive twist.
Antipasto platter ingredients are a telltale sign of a considered pantry. Be ready when guests drop by with olives, stuffed peppers, and other low-preparation entertaining supplies.
Healthy and easy to whip up after a busy day at work, grains belong in every busy woman’s pantry. Stock up on rice and quinoa to serve with salads or as a side dish.
Put nuts on display in matching clear canisters to give your shelf a polished look.
Made from chili peppers, distilled vinegar, garlic, sugar, and salt, sriracha sauce is super versatile. Use it as a dipping sauce, in soups, as a marinade, or even in a bloody mary.
Make coffee last longer by storing beans in an opaque, air-tight container at room temperature.
A brunch essential, update your morning toast with fig, apricot, or cherry preserves.
Vinegar isn’t just good for cooking, it’s also handy to have in your cleaning arsenal. Combine with water in a spray bottle and spritz on fridge shelves or bathroom surfaces to eliminate odor and germs.
A super simple way to add extra flavor to any meat dish, stash marinades in the pantry then store them in the fridge after opening.
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