Food Storage, Bulk Spices, And My Must Haves

I haven’t talked much about food storage lately, but I still hope you all are seriously working to build yours up. We’ve actually been going through quite a bit of ours, especially when Jerry went for months without work, but we will continue to work toward building it back up again.

I was thinking today about one important aspect of food storage that many people seem to forget about, which is stocking up on spices. You can have all the beans and rice you want, but I promise you, it’ll get really old really quickly if you don’t have anything to spice it up with.

jars of bulk spices on shelves

Even things like chicken, fish, veggies, pasta dishes and sandwiches could be awfully hard to choke down without any seasonings, sauces or dressings whatsoever!

Not only will you be glad you can flavor your dishes with your favorite spices, but a well equipped pantry will also allow you to make MANY other spice blends and condiments from scratch. Like these for instance…

  • Mayonnaise
  • Salad Dressing (almost any kind!)
  • Chili Sauce
  • Marshmallow Cream
  • Baking Powder
  • Steak Marinade
  • Mustard
  • Apple Pie Spice
  • Ketchup
  • Steak Sauce
  • BBQ Sauce
  • Cream of Chicken Soup
  • Stocks/Broths
  • Celery Salt
  • Seasoning Salt
  • Cajun Seasoning Mix
  • Taco Seasoning
  • Enchilada Sauce
  • Beef Stew Seasoning Mix
  • Marinades
  • Chocolate Syrup
  • Onion Soup Mix
  • Spaghetti Sauce
  • Pickles
  • Quick Breads
  • Relish
  • Corn Syrup Substitute
  • Pizza Sauce
  • Salsa
  • Alfredo Sauce
  • Pancake Syrup
  • Jams/Jellies

Every one of these items can easily be made from scratch with the right ingredients on hand. Here’s what you’ll need as far as seasoning goes…

  • salt
  • pickling salt
  • pepper
  • garlic powder
  • minced garlic
  • cream of tartar
  • cinnamon
  • nutmeg
  • allspice
  • ground ginger
  • cloves
  • minced onions
  • onion powder
  • ground mustard
  • cayenne (red) pepper
  • parsley
  • paprika
  • chicken and beef bouillon
  • peppercorns
  • celery seed
  • celery salt
  • turmeric
  • oregano
  • basil
  • thyme
  • chili powder
  • cumin
  • rosemary
  • dried chives

You can buy your spices and herbs in bulk at restaurant supply stores, buying clubs like Sams or Costco, food co-ops, or online.

You’ll also want to have these very important cooking ingredients on hand…

  • white vinegar
  • apple cider vinegar
  • wine vinegar
  • cooking oil
  • lemon juice
  • powdered parmesan cheese
  • vanilla extract
  • molasses
  • honey
  • cocoa powder
  • cornstarch (or arrowroot)
  • liquid smoke
  • soy sauce
  • baking soda
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • yeast (for breads)
  • white and brown sugar

The real goal would be to try to grow as much of this as possible, and dry it to refill your bottles as needed. But having a good stash like this is the first step to being prepared until you have what you need in the garden.

Of course, this list is by no means exhaustive. Is there anything that I missed that you just couldn’t live without? Can you think of a condiment or sauce to add to the list of possibilities?

Spices are such an important part of a good food storage system…

They’ll eliminate food fatigue (when people get tired of eating the same stuff every day, so they stop eating), they’ll save room on your shelves since you won’t have to buy so many condiments, they’ll save you money when bought in larger amounts, and they would make a great bartering tool.

So get stocked up people. Lots and lots of food storage spices!!

20 thoughts on “Food Storage, Bulk Spices, And My Must Haves”

  1. your website says homestead. homesteads dont stockpile store bought products, preppers do. homesteads produce what they need on site and if they cant produce it, they dont have it.

    • Zack,

      Actually, it says “NEW” life on a homestead. Which means that we are still a work in progress, lol. You can’t just plop down on a piece of land and immediately grow everything you will need to sustain yourself, you know. It takes time. Keep reading and you’ll see that we are actually making great strides toward growing everything ourselves. And in the meantime, we will “stockpile” what we feel we need to have on hand just in case we aren’t able to produce everything we need before we need it. Smarty. 😉 😉

  2. Kendra, i went back and found your posts on making baking powder and using wheat berries. That was interesting! I had no idea!

    I wonder how cost effective it is to make the baking powder. Last time I bought cream of tarter it was (I thought) pricey for the amount i got. I will have to see how much it is at the bulk place next time I go. I do buy the non-aluminum b.p. I have noticed the price varies quite a bit, depending on where you buy it.

    The other thing that amazed me was how much time has gone by-these posts were written two years ago! Whoa!

    I used to read your original blog-I think I got there when you posted your first Butterberry Farm story. I miss those stories, but I understand about your friend’s health. Have you kept in touch with her?

    • Debbie,

      I do keep in touch with Ms. Addy. Sadly, her condition has not improved. The last time I went, she didn’t even know who I was, and could only say a few words from her wheelchair. Very, very sad. Please keep her in your prayers. She is such a beautiful person.

  3. I break down those large quantities in to pint jars and seal them with my vacuum sealer. My justification for this is to keep from having a large container open until it’s contents are gone. This way, I have several smaller containers and only a small amount exposed to risk at any given time.

  4. Any suggestions on drying herbs? When I’ve tried in the past, it didn’t work so well. I love these lists – it helps to be sure I have what I might need. Thanks.

  5. We have some things stocked, but after watching Doomsday Preppers, we realize we will never be that ready.

    I like your list, and all the suggestions the commenters have mentioned.

    What is a cool dry place in the South though in a 100+ year old farm house with no central air conditioning?
    Not trying to argue, just would truly like to learn.

    I have never learned to cook with a lot of the spices here. We use a few, so those are what I should stock up on, I guess.

    Thanks for such a comprehensive list!

  6. Oh! And honey. Lots of honey. Since it can last practically forever if you leave it alone. Not sure how long my grade B maple syrup can/will last though… Granted, this is in addition to all the stuff listed above. We like my pantry – I’ve had friends joke that it’s my own little grocery store. 😀

  7. We have lots of salt – Redmond, Himalayan, Celtic, Baltic (I think?), and even iodized (more for making playdough, but whatever). I must’ve read too many things about the Depression where lack of salt kept being mentioned, so, ahem.
    I tend to focus more on stocking up on the things that just aren’t grown here… Cinnamon, coconut oil/flour/flakes, cocoa powder, vanilla beans/paste/powder, peppercorns (we have a grinder), nutmeg (I always grate up what I need for a recipe fresh – way, way, way better tasting than the pre-ground stuff). Dried onions and garlic powder also are popular around here, along with lots of bouillon cubes. Sometimes you just don’t have enough bone broth/stock canned up, and bouillon helps fill that gap.

    As for homegrown stuff, yup, I have basil that’s 2-3yo that I dried and it’s still yummy and happy in it’s jar. One groovy thing I’ve started doing is when we get things in glass jars from the store (like marinated artichokes), I have 3-4yo dehydrated apples (some spiced with cinnamon sugar), and so on. Still yummy. As long as they’re dehydrated and stored properly, they should last for however long.

  8. Kendra, wonderful reminder – thank you! We also grow herbs like mint, cilantro and dill, and dry and store them ourselves now. Those are 3 of my favorites that can be used for a variety of different recipes! Obviously, we like fresh better, but it’s nice to have the dried if there are no other options. Thanks again for the important info!!

  9. Kendra have you ever checked out the site “The Prudent Homemaker”? She has a great site on food storage and also living without money. I have learned tons from her

  10. Yes, Kendra’s right. I have some that have been in my cabinet for several years. When stored properly, dried herbs and spices pretty much have an indefinite shelf life. Like she said, they won’t go bad, just will slowly lose some flavor over time, so you might have to use more than what you would have when you first got them. By the way, the website below is an awesome resource to find out what the shelf lives of many products actually are. The dates that are on the foods we buy don’t often reflect true shelf life, but are just part of how our government requires things be labeled. They often just refer to best quality rather than actual shelf life. Most things, when stored properly, have a much longer shelf life than the dates that are stamped on the packages. I use this site all the time when I have questions–it gives great information on both opened and unopened packages, etc. Check it out:

  11. I have heard that many spices have a fairly short shelf-life, so buying them in bulk isn’t really a good idea…unless you somehow manage to use an entire quart of something in less than a year. Unless you are in food-service, I can’t imagine you would!


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