Setting Up Your Whole Food Pantry
Secrets of a wholefood chef revealed
Getting the Basics Sorted
Health experts are constantly telling us to reduce the amount of processed foods we have in our diet. But knowing what to add to your pantry to help you change your eating habits can be challenging.
Wholefood chef and author Holly Davis, guides us through the pantry basics as well as lesser known staples which can be used with wholefood recipes and when experimenting with your own creations.
Most of these ingredients are available from the organic section of your supermarket and the rest can be found in health food stores or online. Sometimes they are just healthier alternatives to the standard ingredients. Where appropriate we have specified brands to save you time and when we know they are top quality but generally just check the labels for additives and buy what’s right for you and your budget.
Storage tip: Store these items in the pantry or a cupboard that is cool and not exposed to too much light, unless specified
Wholefood Pantry List
Remember you can add to your wholefood pantry over time. This will save you money and gives you a chance to get to know each ingredient better.
- A week’s supply of fresh organic pasture-raised eggs, in an open container on the bench (not in the refrigerator)
Whole Grains, Nuts, Seeds and Dried Beans.
Remember to purchase small amounts of these (what you might use in a month) and store them individually in airtight glass jars
- Whole grains: short grain or medium brown rice, basmati rice, jasmine rice, quinoa, oats,
- Nuts: such as raw almonds, walnuts, cashews, brazil nuts, pine nuts
- Seeds: (all hulled) sunflower, sesame, pumpkin
- Dried beans: (can be tinned) chickpea, cannellini, black beans,
- Noodles and Pasta
Go for organic varieties, and store in airtight glass jars. I like Spiral Foods brand or Hakubaku brand organic soba and udon; and I keep gluten-free options such as rice noodles or Olive Green Organics amaranth and rice pasta.
Organic extra virgin olive oil is a must-have, but avocado, macadamia, walnut, plain and toasted sesame oils are great for variety and different flavours. Coconut oil, duck fat and ghee are all more stable fats and can be kept for longer, but I like all fats to be fresh with no danger of using any that have become rancid. Stock only what you will use up within a month or so and once opened keep nut and seed oils in the fridge
These should be naturally fermented, such as red and white wine vinegars, apple cider vinegar, sherry vinegar, brown rice vinegar. Having a variety means you can make the same dressing with different results to suit the origin of the dishes you are cooking. You might like to try umeboshi vinegar too (this isn’t fermented).
- Vanilla beans – so much better than the essence; look for plump, dried beans.
- Sweeteners – organic maple syrup, rapidura or panella (evaporated sugar cane juice), molasses, palm sugar, less refined raw sugars (the Billington brand range are excellent).
- Dried fruits – keep an assortment of organic sun-dried fruits at hand, including sultanas, apricots and raisins.
- Mustards – from mild to hot including Dijon and English.
You May Not Have These....So Why Not Try Something New
- Light soy sauce (shoyu) – high quality, naturally fermented light soy sauce, contains wheat (I like Spiral Foods brand)
- Dark soy sauce (tamari) – high quality, naturally fermented dark soy sauce, wheat free (I like Spiral Foods brand)
- Fish sauce – check labels to make sure it’s additive free. I like Golden Boy brand or Squid brand as these are literally liquid fish. This should be used sparingly as it’s very salty
- Miso paste – I like Spiral Foods’ white miso and Muso brand chunky unpasteurised brown rice, soba or barley. If you live in a warm climate store opened containers in the fridge
- Mirin – this is sweet fermented rice wine; an excellent way to add gentle sweetness to a dish or sauce (I like Spiral Foods brand)
- Dried seaweed – an assortment of sea vegetables such as arame, wakame, nori, nori flakes. These add mineral rich goodness to soups and salads and in the case of nori can be used to wrap with, in place of bread
- Umeboshi plums and/or paste – from a health food store; look for Muso brand as these contain no colouring or unwanted additives
- Dried mushrooms – shiitake and porcini are excellent in stir-fries and soups
- Tahini – from organic hulled seeds (hulled seeds are less bitter and easier to digest)
- Anchovies – in extra virgin olive oil (better to buy the ones in glass jars if you can)
- Salted capers – these little flowerbuds have an intense flavour so you only need small amounts