Welcome back to our comprehensive guide on How To Be A Master Chef for beginners and food enthusiasts! In today’s posts, we’ll go over tips on how to properly stock your kitchen and fridge for all your home cooking and baking endeavors! If you’ve ever wanted to be a master chef, the time is now, so let’s get started!
Learn which cookware is essential and which is just plain superfluous with this guide on Purchasing the Necessities: Kitchenware 101.
Stocking Your Kitchen: What To Keep In Your Pantry & Fridge
Who has the time to make a trip to the market every…single…day? Not us! That is why we have come up with a bunch of ingredients to keep on hand at all times! We also suggest that if you are taking anything out of your garden, make sure to properly store it! With the proper storage, you may be able to get months of life out of some of your garden babies! Use mason jars, bags, freezers, anything you feel will extend the life of your harvest!
Dried Goods, Spices & Herbs
- Dry Beans & Grains: Beans, beans, they’re good for your heart. The more you eat them, the more fiber, protein, and carbohydrates you get into your diet! Get your mind out of the gutter… Oh, and do yourself a favor and stock up on rice, polenta, barley, quinoa, and any other grain you enjoy. Beans and grains stay good for a pretty long time and are relatively easy to make.
- Herbal & Regular Teas: After you open these up, make sure to keep them in something that is airtight! These stay good for a while and are great for making water taste better. Hydration!
- Pasta: Pasta stay good for a long time and are always good for a quick and easy meal. Get a variety and spice things up!
- Spices: Oregano, bay leaves, black peppercorns, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, chili powder, cloves, cream of tartar, curry powder, kosher salt, nutmeg, ginger, paprika, rosemary, sesame seeds, crushed red pepper, vanilla extract, and thyme are the most commonly used spices. Having these in your pantry is always a good idea.
- Herbs: Make sure to dry and store your fresh herbs when you take them out of your garden! We recommend air drying because it is easy to do and inexpensive. You can do this with your herbs that have the least moisture, such as summer savory, thyme, marjoram, bay, dill, and rosemary. Store them in air tight containers or even zippered plastic bags.
Baking Ingredients To Stock Up On
This is really only for people who enjoy baking or people who think they may have to bake at the spur of the moment. If you love to bake and find relaxation while doing it, this is for you! Also, if you have times where you just like to start baking on a whim, you’ll want to read this. Here is a list of condiments and baking ingredients for the avid baker:
- Baking Soda: As a leavening agent, baking soda comes in handy for plenty of baked goods. It is also good if you need to smother a grease fire. This stuff can also be used to keep your refrigerator and freezer smelling fresh!
- Cornmeal: Yellow or white cornmeal has a variety of uses, but it is mostly used for cornbread, corn muffins or as a thickening agent.
- Cornstarch: You’ll typically end up using this as a thickening agent for your soups or sauces.
- Flour: There is a variety of different types of flour, but we recommend you go with the all-purpose flour. This stuff is a necessity if you are making biscuits, pancakes, waffles, and other baked deliciousness. It is also good for dredging your meat, poultry, or fish.
- Baking Powder: This is a leavening agent for your cakes, cookies, and even some bread. Through the use of baking powder, you will be able to create a light texture and increase the volume of your baked goods.
- Gelatin: Using this ingredient is beneficial if you plan on making cold dessert mousses or molded salads. You can also use this to make your own jello!
- Vanilla & Almond Extracts: These extracts are perfect for adding some flavor to your baked goods, desserts, and whipped cream. There are actually more types of extracts than we can count including lemon, rum, maple, hazelnut, orange, and the list goes on!
- Chocolate: Make sure to pick up some unsweetened and bittersweet chocolate! You never know when it is going to come in handy. If you enjoy chocolate chip cookies, hot chocolate, or chocolate sauces, make sure always to have this stuff in stock!
What You Need In Your Refrigerator & Freezer
Fresh foods are awesome, this is just common knowledge. Fortunately, refrigerators extend the life of fresh foods, making them easier than ever to keep. Nearly anything that is kept cold lasts longer. Using crisper drawers increases the amount of humidity for your vegetables, increasing their life. Lettuce and fresh herbs are made for the crisper drawers. Make sure to keep them in there from the moment you get home! Also, butter compartments make it so your butter will not dry out. Who wants dried out butter? We couldn’t think of anyone either.
Use this list to stock your refrigerator with the necessities that you will use on a day-to-day basis:
- Eggs: This super food is high in protein and can go in nearly anything. So you’re looking for a quick breakfast? Eggs. Quick dinner? Eggs. Need a quick lunch? Eggs on bread with a squirt of ketchup. Baking? Well, that usually requires cracking an egg or two as well. You get the picture. Eggs are great to have around, and you should definitely have at least a dozen on hand.
- Milk: You may ask, “What does milk have to offer me besides calcium and lactose?” Well, milk is used in plenty of recipes. You’ll be able to use this in your sauces as well. If you aren’t able to drink milk, don’t worry! There are plenty of alternatives that work just as well, if not better (depending on your taste)!
- Unsalted Butter: We say unsalted because this allows you to control the amount of salt you put in your recipes. Also, butter can last around 3 weeks in the refrigerator, but it can last even longer in the freezer! You can keep it in the freezer for up to a year! There is no excuse for you to ever run out of this stuff! When it is on sale, stock up!
Not necessities, but always great to have on hand:
- Cheeses: This dairy product can go in nearly anything! With so many different options, there is a cheese that will go with any meal. Whether you are tossing it in your scrambled eggs or putting it on a burger, there is a cheese for any meal.
- Cottage Cheese, Cream Cheese, & Ricotta: These are all great for dips, dressings, spreads, cheesecakes, and snacking. All of these items generally keep for around 1 or 2 weeks.
Don’t miss the series; catch the rest of our guides below:
Don’t forget to catch the next part of our guide to How To Be A Master Chef In 10 Days! We love hearing your feedback and comments, so let us know if you have any other tips for beginner cooks or your thoughts on this series. HomemadeRecipes.com was founded to create an online community where foodies, epicureans and chefs can share recipes and learn new ones! We need your help, however, in creating this community where you can come, share and learn. If you love to cook, love food or have some great recipes and ideas you’d like to share with us, shoot us an email and make sure to stay in touch on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest! We’re always looking for contributors and want to hear from you.
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