Thanksgiving is coming up fast and before you know it, me, you and everyone we know will be scrambling around local markets with our long shopping lists trying to find everything we need, not forget anything important and get it all done before it's sold out. One simple way to make your life easier, as you plan for the holiday and large meal ahead, is to stock up NOW on all pantry items you might need. Even if there are some you don't end up using for your Thanksgiving meal, you'll probably use them some other day this winter and as they are not perishable, they can last in your pantry a long time without needing to worry about wasting. I'm cooking this year, for the third or fourth time in a row, so I'm getting better at thinking ahead and knowing what I'll make. We have a bunch of food-allergy related restrictions too, from 3 of the 5 or 6 people who will be at our table, so I NEED to be sure I get what's safe before it sells out. Here's what's on my Thanksgiving pantry list:
-Many cans of pumpkin purree (I can use this for soup, pie, muffins, bread and many other things because it's a great egg-substitute as well as being a focal point of any Thanksgiving meal).
-Gluten and egg-free frozen piecrusts
-Tea, coffee and allergen free cookies
-Dried cranberries, raisins, apricots and plums (for stuffing and / or baked goods)
-Flour (and gluten free flour), sugar, butter, baking soda and baking powder and other basic baking needs
-Tin foil and plastic wrap (for food storage for things I make ahead)
-Nice olive oil and red wine vinegar and mustard (for sauces, marinades and dressings)
-Spices that we usually use like nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, sea salt, and pepper
-cranberry juice, apple cider, wine and beer
-onions, shallots and garlic
Since Thanksgiving is this month, I will also put the following refrigerated items on my list for next week, checking expiration dates so I can be sure they will last through the end of the month, which they usually do, since I know for sure I'll need them:
-heavy cream, butter, maple syrup, bacon
And for the week before Thanksgiving:
-Milk, apples, squash, fresh herbs like thyme, rosemary, sage and mint
This way, there will be very little really fresh things like salad, corn and other produce, and the actual turkey, which I need to get the week of the holiday. Splitting up my shopping list helps me stay calm, get everything done and hopefully will allow me to enjoy my holiday with my family all the more. I can't wait!
What other pantry items do you stock up on before the holiday grocery rush begins?