You’ll find lots of Pantry Basics here at An Oregon Cottage. What are Pantry Basics? It’s simply the term I use for items that are in everybody’s pantry or fridge door. The things I never once thought about making…I just threw them in the shopping cart on a regular basis. I started years ago making freezer jam instead of buying jars of it because lots of people I knew made it, too. But things like mayo and ketchup? Never occurred to me and no one I knew made these things.
When did things change for me? Well, not overnight, and not all at once. It all started with chocolate syrup– you know, the kind in the brown bottle. Some of you may remember that my husband has made us cappuccinos every morning for about 14 years and he drizzles about a teaspoon of syrup on mine. Not too chocolaty, but enough to make it special.
Then I started reading labels and making more things from scratch (like breads). One day at the store I picked up the familiar bottle and decided to read the ingredients. Ugh! There were so many, in such small type I could barely read it (yes, I was starting to need glasses- geeze, bring that up, won’t you?). Wasn’t it just chocolate, sugar, and water? Why did they need all these other things?
And in case you’re wondering here they are in order: HFCS, Corn syrup, sugar, water, cocoa, potassium sorbate, salt, mono- and diglycerides, polysorbate 60, xanthum gum, and artificial vanillin- sounds yummy, huh?
Turns out, yes you can make chocolate syrup yourself and it’s easy, quick, and frugal. Not to mention that it has only five ingredients: sugar, cocoa, water, salt, and real vanilla. I like my recipe because it uses less sugar and more cocoa than other recipes I’ve found, and I like a darker-chocolate type syrup. You know what else I discovered? It’s quicker to make it myself than going to the store when we run out. And no waiting for the next shopping trip. Bonus!
That was years ago and now I regularly question what’s in my pantry and fridge and try to find ways to make it myself if there’s a compelling reason to. Mustards and hot sauces are about the only things left I buy in this category because they usually have really simple ingredients and are pretty inexpensive.
Here’s a list of some of our favorite Pantry Basics (you can find the complete list under the Kitchen button in the navigation bar above- and I will keep adding to it!):
Hot Cocoa Mix (to make with only boiling water)
Ketchup (starting with tomato paste which makes it super easy)
What pantry items do you make now?
Stay tuned later today for the easiest way to make freezer jam. It just happens to be the freshest-tasting, lowest sugar jam that and is the quickest- love it when that happens!
This is linked to Ultimate Recipe Swap @ Life as Mom