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As October starts to wind down and the holiday season starts to ramp up it’s time to think about prepping your pantry for the holidays. What does this mean, exactly? Well, the holidays are often a time when there is a lot of entertaining. A good deal of unexpected guests, and a time when lots of memories are made by time spent in the kitchen. Prepping your pantry for the holidays makes it all much easier.
When the holidays come around it’s usually the first time in awhile that you’ve reached for the pumpkin pie spice. Spices don’t stay fresh forever. Check your “best by” dates and replace anything that is past or very close to what is listed. I often find that paying a little more for spices is worth it. Spices that are high in volume can be lower in taste.
Spices I always have on hand for the holidays:
- Pumpkin Pie Spice
These are in addition to the many spices that I use with all of my holiday dishes. Level up and get some kosher or sea salt as opposed to ordinary table salt. Pick up some fresh peppercorns and take a moment to grind them yourself. It’s the little things that go such a long way.
Flour & Sugar
Do you bake a lot during the year? If not, you may want to also check on your sugar and flour. Make sure they are also pre “best by” date.
I keep the following flours & sugars on hand:
- All purpose flour
- Whole wheat flour
- Self rising flour
- Cake flour
- Bread flour
- White sugar
- Sugar crystals
- Brown sugar
- Confectioners sugar
- Sugar cubes (I only keep these at holiday time. There is just something special about sugar cubes).
Nuts are commonly used in holiday cooking. Personally, I keep mine in the freezer. Always test nuts. About two weeks before our wedding we had pine nuts that were rancid. We lost the taste in our mouths for at least a week.
Nuts I have on hand for the holidays:
- Walnuts – (essential for my holiday nut roll recipe)!
- Pine nuts
- Brazil nuts
I keep the following baking essentials on hand:
- Sweetened Condensed Milk
- Oils (canola/olive/coconut)
- Baking soda
- Baking powder
- Extracts (pure vanilla/almond/cherry)
- Cocoa powder
There are so many extras that I pick up along the way. I try to make every day around the holidays extra special for my son, so having a few fun items on hand makes it easy. Some of the extras I have:
- Sprinkles in holiday colors
- Candy canes
- Ribbon candy
- Maple Syrup
- Marshmallows – in different shapes and sizes
- Cranberries & raisins – both plain and covered in chocolate
- Frozen pie crusts (unless your make your own – more power to you – seriously – I’m jealous)
- Whipped cream (how can you have hot chocolate without it)?
- A shaker of pre-made cinnamon sugar. (Great for use on Quick Cinnamon Apples or toast in the morning)!
- Wine. Always have a nice bottle on hand for an impromptu guest.
- Coffee – I ran out once. I’ll never make that mistake again. Ever.
Prepping your pantry for the holidays isn’t a big task. It’s just one to get in front of. If you’re prepped you’re ready for anything. And that’s a great place to be!
What do you do to prep your pantry for the holidays? What would you add to this list? I’d love to know.