While I was in University, too often did I open the cupboard and not have what I needed to throw a dish together when I was hungry for something different. A lot of people make the mistake of only buying what they need in the short term and not stocking up for the long-term. That’s where your cupboard comes in. Most of the items here are non-perishable or are at least meant to last a long time. Here’s a list of the 10 kitchen cupboard essentials you’ll need to be able to make any dish!
Remember: Start with one big shop, then much smaller top-up shops in the future to maintain your cupboard.
1. Olive Oil
No cupboard/larder is even started without a big bottle of olive oil, which is definitely the number one of the kitchen cupboard essentials. Full of flavour and incredibly versatile, olive oil is one of the healthier oils you can put in almost anything to make it taste better. from seasoning your meat to dressing your salad, this is the most important kitchen cupboard essential.
Believe it or not, garlic isn’t meant to be kept in the fridge (Am I the only one who didn’t know this?). In traditional Italian kitchens, along with onions and tomatoes, garlic was hung up to dry and picked whenever it was needed. If you don’t know how useful and healthy garlic is, this article is definitely for you, because if you don’t have garlic in your kitchen, what on earth are you cooking?! Garlic is brilliant for adding flavour to a pasta dish or for bringing life to a soup or stir-fry. It’s also high in B vitamins and great for protection against colds.
Whether it’s apple cider vinegar for losing weight of standard white wine vinegar for your chips on a Friday night, vinegar is a kitchen cupboard essential. While it may not taste too nice by itself, much like garlic, it’s fantastic for adding a bit of a tang to a dish or sauce. In some cuisines, it’s essential for there to be five main tastes: bitter, sweet, salty, savoury and bitter. The bitter element is more often than not vinegar. Balsamic vinegar for dressings, red wine vinegar for your gravy, rice wine vinegar for Asian style dishes, etc. It’s an essential. Whack it in your cupboard!
I’m going to start screaming. This should be at number one. Spices are there to make your food taste better, more complex, exciting, sexy, spicy! You need more than 10 to go from spice rack to spice cabinet and no, salt and pepper don’t count. Don’t make me laugh. This is important!
Cumin, paprika, chilli powder, turmeric, star anise, cloves, dried coriander, fenugreek, allspice, curry powder, garam marsala, za’tar, rus el hanout, dried oregano, bay leaves, cinnamon, ginger, saffron, cardamom pods, must I go on?!
Tip: If you’re buying spices in bulk, don’t go to the aisle where they sell them in little glass bottles. those are a ripoff. The aisle you want in most supermarkets is the Asian or World Foods aisle where spice packets start at 59p!
Sweet corn, Sardines, Tomatoes, Beans, spaghetti hoops. If you get snowed in during the winter or Brexit means we can only eat chlorinated chicken, at least we have tins. All jokes aside, having a few tins of yummy soup on hand is perfect for a miserable day. Use your spice cabinet to jazz it up a little!
Does this one even need explaining? If you’ve ever run out of pasta mid cook, make sure you have more than one type on hand to dig into if you forget to top up on penne. Fusilli and tagliatelle are kitchen cupboard essentials if you like tomato sauce or a good old spag’ bol.
7. Rice, Bulgar wheat, Couscous
If you’re dieting or just fancy making something ‘Moroccan’ Bulgar wheat and couscous are nice alternatives to rice. That being said, having rice on hand is great for curries and healthy bowls filled with veggies and/or fish.
8. Soy Sauce
Like vinegar, soy sauce is essential if you want to jazz up your food through seasoning to sauce. Using soy sauce to marinade chicken or fish will really give it an umami boost.
This is an alternative to sugar that will change the way you sweeten your tea. Honey is a kitchen cupboard essential because it’s used for everything. Use it to glaze your meat, spread it on your toast or stop a sore throat. It’s one of nature’s best inventions.
10. Stock Cubes
Last but not least, the mighty stock cube. Soups, gravy, casserole, risotto, a stock cube will give you the wonderful base to a delicious and flavour rich dish. A cupboard without stock cubes above all is hardly one at all.