Very happy to finally be getting around to doing this post. I’ve been wanting to do it since we’ve finished because I do think it’s a really important one so here we go!
Not too long ago our pantry looked like this when ‘organized’:
And although there were many gems in there, it was so difficult to find everything! We like to buy in bulk so we had so many little plastic bags with twist ties! Now that we’re in our new place, we figured some hard core pantry organization was in order, which I believe we were able to accomplish! I really do believe that organization and variety is necessary when trying to add more whole foods to your diet.
Sooo first, I’d like to reveal our new Mason jar pantry shelf organizer. Then I’d like to share with you what everything is in the jars and what we use the ingredients for. Lastly, I’ll tell you how to get one of these in your own home!
So here it is:
What foods are in those jars?
I’m just going to do this briefly as there are endless uses for many of these. As you’ll see, many of the uses overlap, which is why this kind of pantry helps so much with eating whole food dishes. Everything is organized and very easy to grab, use, and put away.
I labeled everything in this picture so identifying which was which would be much easier. I’ll start at the top and work from left to right.
Oat Bran – Just recently got this and started adding it to things like raw cereal, baked oatmeal, or any other breakfast thing with milk. You could even add it to a smoothie to give it a little more heartiness.
Coconut Sugar – I LOVE this stuff. Used in place of conventional sugar for anything. We also have sucanat (sugar cane natural), which we use as a sweetener as well.
Hemp seeds, Black Sesame seeds and Raw Sesame Seeds – Add to salads, smoothies, dishes for lunch/dinner, energy balls/bites
Cacao Powder – Used in banana ice cream, smoothies, desserts, energy balls/bites
Millet – Grain similar to quinoa, but we haven’t really used this yet. Still looking to experiment with it, possibly for breakfast as a porridge, in baking or granola, on salads or below sautéed veggies.
Sucanat – See Coconut Sugar above.
Flax Seeds – Grind in a coffee grinder before using, but good source of Omega-3s and fiber and great for adding to smoothies, baked goods and breakfast foods
Stevia – We don’t use this a whole lot, but it’s another natural sweetener.
Polenta – (All of our corn products are organic) We’ve only ever used this as a side for dinner, but there are many tasty recipes out there.
Carob Powder – Similar to cacao powder, but is caffeine-free. Same uses though.
Brown Rice – I don’t think this needs much explaining 🙂
Chia Seeds – I use these with hemp seeds a lot. They’re also crucial for chia pudding!! You can also add them to drinks or kombucha if you don’t mind the texture. You can also mix them in when making a fruit sauce or compote.
Coconut Flour – Great for baking and used in place of whole wheat flour. It takes some experimenting with this because I’ve found it to be more absorbent than wheat flour. The best thing I’ve made with coconut flour so far are coconut flour pancakes.
Quinoa and Red Quinoa – Another grain that can be used in place of rice. Good for adding to salads or putting in soups.
Walnuts – With the other nuts, great for raw cereal, snacking, bars, baked goods and salads.
Popcorn Kernels – We loooove our homemade popcorn. We use an air popper (that was only $20), but you can also cook it stovetop too. Homemade popcorn is much, much better for you than the microwave kind, and it tastes better, in my opinion.
Shredded Coconut (sweetened is from Trader Joe’s) – Great for adding to smoothies, breakfast dishes, baked goods, energy bites/balls, banana ice cream. I like to use the sweetened one for food pictures because of how it looks compared to the other shredded coconut.
Oats – Can get these gluten-free. Very similar to shredded coconut uses above.
Cashews – In addition to walnut uses, these are good for raw cream sauces (including this addicting cheese one!) and desserts!
Rice Flour – We’ve been using this in place of whole wheat flour lately.
Hazelnuts – My boyfriend recently made a chocolate hazelnut spread and we dipped apples into it. It was very yummy so we decided to get some more!
Almonds – Like walnuts
Raw Peanuts – I tried making peanut butter with these and it didn’t turn out the best. We don’t use these a lot, but they’re great for crushing and sprinkling on any sort of thai dish we make.
Corn Flour – Just got this because we are trying to phase out of using gluten. Going to use this as an alternative to whole wheat flour again.
Baking Powder and Soda – No need to explain much.
Cacao Nibs – Great for adding to raw treats, raw cereal and banana ice cream
Arrowroot Powder – Used to thicken things like sauces and soups. Also used in homemade deodorant.
Buckwheat groats – I use these in chia pudding or raw cereal mainly.
Sunflower seeds and Raw Pumpkin Seeds – Can be used in raw dressings and on salads
Brazil Nuts – I snack on one of these from time to time. They are a good source of Selenium and other minerals. They are said to help boost testosterone.
Nutritional Yeast – Used as a vegan substitute for a cheesy flavor. This sauce is the BEST, but we also like putting it on popcorn sometimes!
Tapioca Flour – We’ve just recently started playing around with this one too. We’ve been adding it to gluten-free recipes to help with binding and texture. It’s very similar to arrowroot powder and can be used to thicken sauces and soups. Here is a great resource that explains some of the differences between the two and some recipes as well.
How do I get one?
If you’d like one of these shelf organizers for your own home, you can purchase the shelf here: Mason Jar Pantry Shelf Organizer. We also bought one case of each size Mason jar – 8 oz., 16 oz., 24 oz., and 32 oz. – to put on the shelves. There is still extra room to add more jars if need be, but a case of each is pretty sufficient for filling it up.
I so hope this post gives you some inspiration about what whole foods you can add to your pantry! How is it going for you? What’s your biggest challenge so far with acquiring these kinds of ingredients? What have been your best storage solutions? We’re still trying to think of a good way to organize all of our spices 🙂 Would love to know what success you’ve had!