Peanut Butter, Pumpkins and What to Store in your Pantry

The pantry is the go-to spot in American households to find a quick meal to prepare at the end of the day. File photo

The PANTRY — is an area set aside to house food provisions and related food items. It can be an entire (small) room, a closet, cabinets or shelves.

With our busy schedules most dinner meals are decided late in the day, shortly before it is served. So it is important to have ingredients at hand. I have broken down pantry items down to where they are stored.

Shelf Items — baking powder, baking soda, bread crumbs, broth, brown sugar, cereal, chocolate chips, cocoa powder, coffee, cooking sprays, cornstarch, flour, granulated sugar/super fine sugar, nuts, olives, olive oil, onions, pancake mix, pasta, pasta sauce, peanut butter, rice, tea, vanilla, vegetable soil, vinegar, yeast (dried), creamer.

According to your family likes and dislikes in food, here are several ideas you can keep on hand. If you can think of something I have not mentioned, just add it in and let me know so I can add it to my pantry.

Extras — canned beans, canned & sun-dried tomatoes, canned tuna, canned artichoke hearts in water, capers, crackers, dried fruits, jam & jelly, honey, salsa, pesto, pizza shells/tortillas, pizza sauce, roasted red peppers, hot chocolate drink, maple syrup, hot or sweet cherry peppers, pickles.

Refrigerator/Freezer — butter, cheeses, mustard, eggs, fruits, juices, ketchup, mayonnaise, milk, salad dressings, salad greens, yogurt, frozen fruits and vegetables, ground meat, skinless chicken pieces.

Spices/Seasonings/Herbs, Fresh Or Dried — basil, bay leaves, cayenne pepper, chili powder, cinnamon, regular salt, kosher salt, red pepper flakes, pepper corns, oregano, rosemary, sweet paprika, thyme, chives, garlic, nutmeg, parsley, Worcestershire sauce, allspice, chives.

Another item, which is really optional, is bread. If you do not have bread on the shelf or in the freezer, if you have flour and yeast you can always make your own.

PEANUT BUTTER — can be found on most pantry shelves. It can be traced back to 15th century Africa.

The Chinese have enjoyed adding crushed nuts into sauces for centuries. “Peanut porridge” was served to soldiers during the Civil War. Dr. Harvey Kellogg pioneered peanut butter as we know it today. His experiments leaned towards developing a vegetarian protein for his patients who had bad or no teeth to be able to chew their food.

There are other nut butters, such as almond, cashew and hazelnut, but peanut butter is the most popular by far. Peanut butter can be found in 75 percent of homes in the United States.

PUMPKINS — Actually are a two in one product, the flesh and the seeds. Seeds are best when roasted plain in the oven. If desired, sprinkle with seasoning after roasting.

Early settlers consumed pumpkins on a regular basis in soup, pies and even pumpkin beer. Today, pumpkins are most popular starting before Halloween through Christmas. Pumpkins are not pliable if not cooked before eating; usually it is baked or boiled.

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About the Author:

E. M. (Bette) Banjack is a noted columnist, author, media host, and cook who writes stories of local families, and anecdotes of growing up and living in Phoenixville. Bette wrote a weekly column for ten years in The Phoenix, the local paper serving the Phoenixville area.

Her fourth and latest book, Neighborhood Kitchens – A Collection of Stories & Recipes, has just been released.

The articles and recipes posted on Health Tips and Advice, another Life Balance Network Site, were as a result of interviews of family and friends, and first appeared in her weekly column between 2003 and 2006.

Bette’s newest column series, Recipes ABC-XYZ, is appearing in The Phoenix, and will also be posted on FoodSource.

Bette hosted several TV shows on local broadcast cable TV on cooking with appearances of many hometown guests. Episodes of Bette’s cooking show “Look Who’s Cooking” can be viewed on another Life Balance Network site, FoodsSource, or on YouTube.



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