Pantry Envy

I’ve always been a bit of a food preserver, despite living all over the world and having enjoyed the limitations of many kitchens. Given half the chance I’m one of those people who rather than waste anything will pickle it, make jam out of it, or dry it for future use. My idea of heaven is a well stocked shelf groaning with jars of vegetables, pickled cucumbers, jams, marmalades and dried pulses, legumes and mushrooms. I’m at my happiest with a few months supply in the house, available in case of an emergency.

In all my years of cooking, I’ve never had a pantry, although it’s something I’ve always wanted. I’ve made do with shelves on an old pine bookcase, or a cupboard in the utility room. Somehow, although that’s perfectly ok and totally suitable as long term food storage, it doesn’t satisfy this strange, deeply seated craving for a pantry.

In my minds eye in our forever home I see a small, cool room with shelves either side of the door, and cupboards beneath a stone work service. The shelves are neatly stacked with jars of preserved produce, like many-coloured jewels. Crocks of flour, jars of dried beans and pulses and dried ingredients of every kind line the shelves, ready for the next power cut or the onset of the next zombie apocalypse.

I’m not sure where this came from. I know that modern houses don’t normally include these things within their open-plan design, and that this desire would mean sacrificing space for something else (not the boot room, obviously).

But I’m going to try and find a way….

15 Replies to “Pantry Envy”

  1. J > Modern houses are too warm and the air too stagnant and humid for a traditional pantry. Ours is in the shed nearest the house, which we keep cool (but not less than 10degC, in winter) and humidity not more than 65% RH. The big freezers are out there, cupboards, shelves …

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Denise, so agree. It’s a bit like having a full woodstore…. it doesn’t solve the ills of the world, but it provides a warm, secure feeling of knowing that one of the core basics of life (warmth, food) is there in plenty


  2. It seems that architects and house builders do not understand the concept of a cool pantry. So I too have a produce store in the shed which is fine for everything, although the large sacks of bread flour are stored inside in the “warm” house pantry.
    There are certain things which we can’t buy locally and which are purchased in bulk either by mail order or on one of our biannual shopping trips to the mainland. So a large dry, cool storage room is essential. It would be better if it was attached to the house, but you soon learn to be organised – the forfeit is a trip to the shed when it’s wet and windy.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. do you have a cellar? If not, it would be ideal. If you dig down 1.5m below ground, the temperature stays at 10 C year round. You may want to dig below ground anyway to put in a heat-pump, where the earth’s natural constant temperature alleviates the need for (some) heating & cooling.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sadly not. We will have Lewissian Gneiss (the second oldest and maybe the hardest rock on the planet) under the house and I suspect the blasting costs to go further down for a cellar would be prohibitive. 😟


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