How to Stock a Homestead Pantry

by Becky
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This post contains affiliate links. Full disclosure can be found here.

A homestead pantry is one filled with homemade and homegrown ingredients, along with other quality grains and foods. It serves as the base for all the meals in the home. When the homestead pantry is stocked fully, peace of mind abounds! There is a little less worry about the curve balls of life because you’ve got feeding your family covered.

Sourcing Quality Food for the Pantry

The ideal homestead pantry is one that replenishes itself. You would grow, cook, and preserve everything you ate and used then restock the pantry. That would be the first way to stock a homestead pantry: Grow Your Own.

However, for most that would mean a more limited diet than we are used to having. To fill in the gaps of what you can’t produce on the homestead, a few purchased items are often necessary to fill the homestead pantry.

If you can’t grow your own, Buy Local Produce for the Pantry. Not everyone is meant to be gardeners (even though I know most of you guys reading this are!). For those who have other interests and talents or just can’t produce enough food for themselves, eating locally and in season is the best thing you can do for yourself, your family, your community, and the environment.

If you can’t find a product locally, the next option is to purchase high quality organic bulk food where you share in shipping costs like Azure Standard for example.

I personally use Azure Standard for most of my organic grains. Learn more about the how it works or find a drop location near you.

A Word about Azure Standard and How it Works

A little more info about Azure Standard since it can be confusing to some. Azure standard now ships directly to your door, but the more common option for picking up an order from Azure Standard is to select a “drop” during checkout.

This is a location near you, that you can drive to and pick up your items from a semi-truck that brings it. The benefit of doing it this way is shared shipping costs and it’s really cheap for heavy items!

These are mason jars filled with pantry staples sitting on a shelf.

Each Azure drop has a coordinator (unpaid volunteer) who helps the unloading stay organized and is the point person if a truck is delayed for some reason. You find items to purchase on their site and checkout the order. It says when the next cutoff date is since they only ship once a month.

If that is done, then they fulfill your order, pack it on a truck, then you meet at the scheduled time to pick it up. Please note this time varies greatly (anytime of day or day of the week!) so you need to have a flexible schedule!

In general you help unload the items from the semi-truck (if you are able) and then at my drop they are placed on the ground in piles alphabetically by last name. Then once it’s all unloaded for your drop, you double check you have everything you need and load your items into your car. Super easy! 

If something is missing or spilled (this has happened to me) call the customer service and let them know. They’ve always been responsive and I get a refund immediately.

If all else fails, and I can’t find what I need from the garden, local farmers, or Azure Standard, I go to my local grocery store to stock up.

A root cellar or homestead pantry filled with jars of canned and dried foods.

Now that you know where to begin with getting quality food, you can start thinking about where to get started with your pantry.

My Homestead Pantry List!

You can see a sample below of my own list of pantry staples. Yours might look quite a bit different than mine but this will give you an idea.

Print Sample Homestead Pantry List

Planning How Much and What Food You’ll Need

To plan how much food you need in your pantry, start by planning a month of seasonal meals and write down every ingredient, including amount needed. This includes breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, and homemade treats. Add all the items and amounts up together.

It will take a serious amount of time to do this, but it will also give you a huge head start on knowing what how much and what you actually need to keep your pantry stocked. Guessing amounts will get you somewhere, but there would be a lot more trial and error attempts.

It’s better to take the time to plan in this case. I would take the month list you made and times it by however many months you plan on using your pantry exclusively or how many months you’d like to have food storage for.

My list changes seasonally but this method works very well for Fall and Winter because the produce selection is more consistent.

Do a Test Run

Oftentimes, a good way to test whether this is correct is to do a pantry or food storage challenge and test out to see how long you can make it on your stored foods alone. Purchase everything you’ll need for a month or two and see how long you can go without going to the store!

I’ve done this a few years now, and it really helps me to and find out what we run out of first and what I wish we had. For example, we found that we needed a lot more oil and butter than we thought. I also wished I had more chocolate chips in the pantry!

If you were to go to the store and purchase it all at once, it would be a bit overwhelming to see how much you need and not to mention expensive. And yet, despite how expensive it may seem, preserving your own food, buying locally in season, and shopping less often will save you money in the long run.

If it’s too much money to buy everything you need for a month, just do two weeks. Then with the savings you have because you didn’t impulse buy at the grocery store and you cooked more from scratch, you can purchase three weeks the next time you order and so on!

Open shelving filled with jars of dry goods in a homestead pantry.
My kitchen open shelving. Easy to access pantry staples make cooking from scratch simple!

Calculating How Much Food You Need to GROW for the Pantry

Now that you have a good idea of how much food you need, if you are planning on utilizing garden produce, you’ll want to figure out how many plants it takes to hit your food storage goals. Growing the produce can offset costs and is extremely beneficial to your health. If you’re purchasing from other sources, skip this section.

I have a blog post about with a basic idea of amounts for a year’s supply of food HERE. But you really need to cater it exactly to what you eat and how much you eat. My example chart linked above fits our family, our eating preferences, and our growing area. But it’s a good starting point since we live exclusively off the vegetables in the garden year-round.

Others have published charts like mine, but they openly admit that they haven’t ever grown ALL their own vegetables. I think sometimes people are shocked at how much needs to be planted for a year’s supply of food, but it has been accurate for us.

This is a sample garden plan for a homestead.
Our garden plan 2022 My current garden is 100 feet x 100 feet, plus a 14 x 100ft area for the kids gardens. I have more area than that, but it is cover cropped and not planted with vegetables, so I don’t count it.

You’ll need to be flexible each year since some years you get a bounty of crops and other years not as much thanks to unpredictable weather. Don’t fret too much if you don’t know exactly how much you need to grow. After a year or two of planning and growing, you’ll get a better feel for it and know which plants to add more of and which you need less of!

Not used to Cooking from the Pantry? Here are some resources to help.

All that said, the joy of the homestead garden and pantry is it allows you to get creative. In the Fall and Winter, the ingredients are a little more consistent because storage vegetables store through winter and you don’t have the same variety coming out of the garden.

Need a little help knowing what to do with all your pantry foods? I have some favorite resources to help.

It’s a book called, A Cabin Full of Food, by Marie Beausoleil.

This book has so many recipes for how to preserve and use food from the homestead pantry. As long as the pantry is stocked and you have this book, you shouldn’t need to run to the store for a few months!

At the time I bought A Cabin Full of Food, it was organized by type of food, I believe now there is an updated version of the book that makes it easier to find recipes.

Another absolute favorite cookbook is Hope’s Table, I like this one even more than the book mentioned above. I’ve never found a recipe book where I’ve tried and used almost every recipe. This one I have! They are all simple, easy, and delicious! Truly a book worth every penny.

I also have a few of my own recipes for each season!

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