My Top Ten Organic Store Cupboard Ingredients & Meal Plans
Welcome to week three of my Thrifty and Organic posts, and a HUGE thanks to all of you who attended the #ThriftyOrganic “Twitter Party” that I hosted last week with Organic UK and Foodies 100. This week finds me pondering on what my top ten organic store cupboard ingredients are, as well as my favourite “must have” organic ingredient. As well as sharing mu store cupboard ingredients list, I will also be sharing some past recipes that use my top ten ingredients. Before I started working with Organic UK, I used to shop mainly based on cost, with organic ingredients being added if there were offers on them; but, having discovered just what organic actually means to our environment and to our long-term health, I have now switched my shopping habits to ALWAYS include key organic ingredients, and most of them happen to be store cupboard essentials. I STILL have to watch my pennies, as do we all, but, I have discovered that with careful shopping and creative cooking, that I CAN purchase organic regularly, and the difference in taste is astonishing.
Before I share my tip ten list with you, I would like to point out that lots of my organic produce is home-grown and bought from local organic farm shops and local market stalls; so, when shopping for organic produce, don’t forget that supermarkets are NOT the only place to buy from, and I frequently find that local producers are much cheaper than supermarkets too. My top ten store cupboard ingredients are what I term as “core basics” for general baking (of which I do a lot) and cooking. My list will probably be very familiar to many of you who also bake and cook “from scratch” a lot, which is MUCH thriftier than buying ready-made meals or take-aways etc. I also find that by buying a core selection of organic ingredients, it helps to keep costs down as I can often purchase them on special offers (such as Buy one get one Free) as I KNOW that I will be using them.
My Top Ten Organic Store Cupboard Ingredients:
Plain White Flour: I use flour nearly every day, for baking and in cooking too, and I always have at least TWO bags of white flour in my store cupboard – Plain and Self-Raising.
Bread Flour: In addition to normal baking flour, I also have at least three types of bread (high gluten) flour to hand, as I make my own bread at least twice a week and more during winter.
Sugar: Again, for baking as none of us take sugar in our tea or coffee; and, I like to have Demerara sugar, Golden Caster Sugar and normal Cane Sugar too.
Oats: Oats are one of my most important organic store cupboard ingredients, as I love porridge and make my own muesli and granola. I prefer jumbo oats, but always have porridge oats to hand too. I also bake with oats, so it’s an essential ingredient for me.
Cocoa & Chocolate: Again, this is an essential ingredient for baking as well as a comforting hot milky drink before I go to bed in the winter! I also add cocoa to chilli and casseroles sometimes for a rich flavour. And, chocolate is used the same way, as well as being an occasional treat too!
Honey: Organic honey is another essential ingredient, it is added to porridge as well as being used in cooking, bread making, desserts and just “au natural” on toast too!
Dried Fruit: Dried fruit such as apricots, prunes, dates, sultanas, currants and raisins are essential store cupboard ingredients for me, for baking in the main and also as ingredients for my home-made muesli and granola and the occasional snack.
Pulses: Mainly split red lentils, but I also like to have Puy lentils and brown lentils in my cupboard. I use lentils a lot on non-meat days, and they are packed with protein. I will add Quinoa to this list, although strictly speaking it is a grain/seed, but I LOVE this ingredient and use it a lot in my cooking.
Eggs: Although I have my own free-range chickens, I am adding eggs to my top ten store cupboard ingredients, as I use them a lot and when I didn’t keep hens, I ALWAYS bought free-range organic eggs. If you have a dozen eggs in your stores, you will always have the wherewithal to make a nutritious family meal as well as use them in baking. A boiled egg also makes a perfect breakfast too!
Dairy: I found it difficult to pick one single dairy product, so I am including them all – basically I am never without organic butter, and wherever possible, I try to buy organic cheese and milk too. I find that I can source excellent organic butter and cheeses at my local farm shops and I notice that Yeo Valley are now offering organic spreadable butter in the supermarkets, which is great! I would also like to add yoghurt to the list and there are numerous great organic yoghurt producers now, such as Rachel’s Organic and Yeo Valley, who have a fabulous range of flavours.
So, what is my favourite ingredient? Well, I have already hinted about my favourite organic ingredient already, but it has to be OATS. Why? I love the fact that is such a versatile ingredient, that is so much more than porridge and can be used in cooking and baking. One of my favourite recipes that uses oats, apart from porridge which I love, is my recipe for Irish Soda Bread with Oats, which is part of September’s Thrifty and Organic Meal Planner.
My favourite porridge recipe has to be my mum’s Tea Cup Porridge with Apricots and Honey……which uses organic porridge oats, organic dried apricots and organic honey too.
A few other meal plans that use my top ten organic ingredients are:
Using flour, butter, eggs, milk, honey, sugar and dried fruit
Using chocolate, sugar, eggs, flour and cheese
Using flour, eggs, cheese, milk, butter and sugar
I’d like to finish by sharing my favourite organic recipe from the whole Thrifty and Organic Meal Planner series, and that is my one tray recipe for Honey Roast Chicken with Winter Roots, made with a lovely organic chicken and with enough leftovers for two more meals, it just proves how one chicken can feed a family of four not once but three times! The recipe is shared below and you can see the other recipes here: Honey Roast Chicken, Hand Pies and Bread & Butter Pudding Recipes That’s all for today, I will be back soon with more recipes and news, as well as a new giveaway! And, don’t forget to enter my Organic Hamper giveaway here: Giveaway: Win an Organic Hamper full of Goodies worth £100! See you later, Karen
Organic UK is paying me an agreed fee to create and develop these Thrifty and Organic Recipes, as well as providing me with all the ingredients. However, as I am a big supporter of organic produce, I am happy to share these sponsored organic recipes and posts on my blog, for the benefit of my readers.