A well stocked Larder

kilner jars dried goods

Establishing LHStores dried goods section for customers to "Weigh & Take Away" in their own containers meant I had to really think about what a well stocked larder looked like. 

My dried goods are all stored in 3L Kilner jars with clip top lids.  Set up took a while, washing, drying and filling each jar, but they look beautiful, I can see what I have at a glance and they keep the food fresh and safe from cross contamination.

In order to cook good, wholesome, food for your family every day, you need a well-stocked larder full of good-quality essentials.  So, I made a list, there have been several iterations, a fair bit of asking friends and family what they'd call “essentials", and I thought after that much work I should share it.

Dried goods
Dried Goods:
  • I choose organic basmati, brown wholegrain rice, full of fibre and slow-release energy,  and organic white basmati, for when brown just seems wrong, (in a jambalaya for example), an organic arborio rice (for risotto) and an organic red and black rice for salads, or to mixing with the other rices for colour and interest.
  • Organic puy lentils and orange lentils. Great with slow fried onion as a substantial side dish, as a Dahl or thrown into soups and stews.
  • Great source of protein, a base for salad, a side dish, or thrown into soups and stews.
Corn Couscous or Polenta
  • Ours is a rougher grain than the classic polenta, but is just as good boiled in salted water.  As it thickens, and just before you take it off the heat, stir in cheese (a soft blue cheese is especially luxurious) for a simple, hearty Italian supper.  Tastes good with ratatouille too.
Wholegrain Couscous
  • Full of protein couscous is a beautiful accompaniment to a tagine, or stew, and makes the perfect base for a salad.  Add cinnamon, Z’atar, chopped dried apricots, preserved lemon & almonds for a North African flavour.
  • Yes it’s good to soak them, but don’t let that put you off using this wonderfully versatile pulse in your stews, salads and in that tagine you are making.
Buckwheat - Unroasted
  • A new one for me, and not easy to find this organic.  Use it as you would cous cous,  for slightly denser, nuttier flavour.  Great in salads and with roasted veggies.
  • Kidney beans are obviously great in a chilli, refried beans or in rice with a curried goat or chicken. I love these and although, again, they should be soaked, it doesn't take as long as you might think to cook them.  I also like to have berlotti, butter and canalleni beans in my larder. 
Porridge oats
  • Perfect for a filling breakfast, porridge in the winter, granola, muesli or bircher in the summer. We sell a granola kit with our oats, seeds, nuts and dried fruit measured out for you.
  • I’ve simply not found organic, or the quality I want for my “Weigh & Take Away” service.  So, I am selling it bagged from Bio Idea; penne, macaronni, spaghetti & wholemeal tagliteli.
Grains (bulgur wheat, pearl barley, split peas)
  • Great and relatively cheap bulkers for stews and soups. Cook a larger batch than you need and turn into delicious salads, warm or cooled.
Nuts and seeds*
  • So far I have gone for pumpkin and sunflower seeds and an Omega Seeds Mix.  Almonds and cashews are the only nuts I have, but I am thinking I need to add hazelnuts, pistachios, walnuts and peanuts. Great for snacking or toasting and sprinkling over salads, soups and stews, or onto yoghurt. Or mixing with some of our other dried goods to make your own museli.
Dried Fruit
  • I have organic dried apricots, raisins, cranberries and mango.  Great for snacking or that personalised museli I keep talking about.

Tins & Packets:
Whole & finely chopped tomatoes and passata
  • Essential for sauces, soups, stews, casseroles - we all agreed on the use of ESSENTIAL for this one!
Coconut milk, oil & water
  • Coconut water for our smoothies, and in the summer as a refreshing addition to juice it quenches your thirst like nothing else. Add coconut milk and oil to soups and curries for a mellow, creamy flavour - in my house these are essentials.
Good-quality tinned fish; tuna, sardines, anchovies
  • Great for simple pasta dishes, pizza, on toast for supper and as fishcakes. And anchovies are the perfect salty seasoning for sauces and stews. _ I hope to have 
Tea & Coffee
  • Good quality loose leaf tea is not always easy to find and coffee beans store better and a fresh ground coffee is worth the extra expense for your favourite cuppa.
Good-quality stock
  • The flavour base to loads of different dishes.
Plain flour, self-raising flour (wholemeal or white), bread flour
  • For thickening sauces, coating meat, fish and veggies for frying, and baking
Jars & Bottles:
Rapeseed oil
  • Good flavourless oil, with a high burn temperature for everyday cooking. Ours is grown and bottled locally in Sawbridgeworth and we will refill your empty bottle at a discount.
Olive oil
  • We have a lovely organic Italian oil from Suma.
  • Add a bit of a kick to stews, sauces and marinades, or use as a condiment.
  • Tip: a tablespoon of grainy mustard and a tablespoon of honey make a great coating when roasting sausages.
Soy sauce
  • Seasoning for Asian dishes, marinades and sauces.
Vinegars (red wine, cider, balsamic)  
  • Lots of dishes benefit from a little vinegar – think dressings, marinades, sauces and stews.
  • Again a bit of debate about these as an essential, but in our house they are.  A great snack, with cheese, on pizza, in pasta dishes add to salads.  Sometimes we just eat them out of the jar.  
  • Our honey is from local bee keepers in Wareside. Add a touch of sweetness to your life knowing that you are supporting local bee keepers.
Good-to-haves (extras but not essentials)
  • Capers
  • Tomato purée
  • Dried yeast
  • Cocoa powder
  • Sugar (golden and brown)
  • Maple syrup
  • Baking powder
  • Your favourite condiments (ketchup, brown sauce, mayonnaise, Tabasco – I have to admit we love em all)

And then of course there are your herbs & spices.  We have bundles of fresh garden herbs available in the Summer and have just started to stock dried herbs and spices.  But it's a whole new list, and so far it's as follows (please feel free to let me know if I've missed something)

Herbs & spices
Smoked paprika
Curry powder
Sea salt
Black peppercorns
Garam Masala
Ground Ginger
Fennel Seeds
Z'atar spice mix

So, what have I missed?  LHSTORES can provide you with most of these items for your larder, where we can't, you know that it is on my list to source and find the best quality version I can.

*Our dried nuts are kept completely separate from our other dried goods to prevent cross contamination.  As is our Omega seed mix, that includes sesame seeds.  I will be weighing all items in the shop to prevent cross contamination, that could have consequences for allergy sufferers.
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