Before heading out to sea for a few months, or when preparing for a long trip to somewhere I will struggle to find specialist vegan ingredients, I do a HUGE inventory of what I need, what I have and start stock pilling goods in our dry stores. This part of being chief cook I sometimes think is the hardest, because if the ship runs out of food its all on my shoulders… so its always best to pack a little extra.
As the ships run on donations it’s also extremely important to prioritize the ingredients. I may really want tonnes of tempeh, fancy sauces, vinegars and raw chocolates to feed the crew. But if I blow the budget on things like that but run out of rice and lentils we are screwed! So before I can think about the luxuries its important to get stocked on the necessities.
Someone recently asked for my advise on what are good vegan pantry staples to have on hand on a daily basis… and I realized it’s really the same thing as stocking a ship, just on an extremely smaller scale. It’s much more handy, not to mention probably more economical to have stored larger quantities of certain ingredients, maybe even bulk, so you have your main ingredients on hand on a daily basis, instead of heading to the shops every single day to pick up new ingredients for each meal.
I think its not unrealistic to try to stock your house… space available dependent …on things you need the same way I would provision the ships. So I decided I would use this post to give you my personal list I use to stock my dry store, ranging from everyday ingredients to more luxury items, with a little description of what things are and where you can get hold of them where needed.
I really hope this will help any of you who look at some recipes and think ….’what on earth is that?’
I will also try to keep this list updated as I discover new things along my vegan cooking journey.
MY DRY STORE MUST HAVES
plain flour • whole meal flour • chickpea flour • rice flour • maize flour • wheat gluten flour • soya flour
Mostly available at general supermarkets. Chickpea flour is also often known as gram flour or chana flour. In UK I find if you look in the ‘world foods’ sections of supermarkets such as Sainsbury’s you will find larger and cheaper quantities of chickpea, rice and maize flours. Also most good health food shops will stock all of these.
As for Vital Wheat Gluten flour…used for making seitan, is a bit harder to get hold of in some parts of UK. Check your local health food shop, if not there are some really good online suppliers. I used buywholefoodsonline for Vital Wheat Gluten Flour. I have found they are a really good supplier or loads of organic bulk wholefoods, and one of the cheapest. (No they didn’t pay/ask me to write this… I just think they are a really good online shop)
quinoa • millet • buckwheat • bulgar wheat • amaranth • rolled oats • pearl barley
Pretty much all of these grains are available nowadays in any large supermarket. My personal favourite is quinoa, which is a complete protein and super good for you… I use it in grain salads, or to replace rice as a side dish.
basmati • brown • arborio/ sushi rice
Available at all supermarkets, always a good thing to have in the cupboard! A tip for buying bulk rice (and also flours), to prevent weevil infestation freeze all rice and flours for 4 days before storing in your cupboards/ pantry/ dry store.
spaghetti • lasagna sheets • orzo • penne • couscous • fusilli, etc
Again… available everywhere obviously. Make sure you buy egg free pastas. I always have a big variety on board for quick easy meals when there isn’t much time.
raw cane sugar • demerara • muscovado • icing/powdered sugar • agave nectar • maple syrup • stevia • xylitol • golden syrup • rice syrup • black strap molasses
All widely available… I know agave was more difficult to get hold of in UK a few years ago, but now its in most large supermarkets, and all health shops really. Just make sure you buy organic agave nectar as some now is very over processed. I like to use raw cane sugar as opposed to white sugar in cooking and baking, and use natural sweeteners such as xylitol, stevia, agave and maple syrup as much as possible.
baking soda • baking powder • agar agar powder • egg replacer • arrowroot • corn starch/flour • wheat germ • cocoa powder • dried instant yeast • xanthan gum • nutritional yeast • dessicated coconut • peppermint, almond and vanilla extract
Agar Agar powder is easily available to order online. Its made from algae and is gelatinous… so perfect for making vegan jelly or setting homemade vegan cheeses etc. Its a handy thing to have in the dry store.
Arrowroot, also known as tapioca starch/flour is a good thickener to use in place of cornstarch… it’s flavourless and gluten free. I also use it to make homemade egg replacer. Available in most large supermarkets.
Xantham Gum I know you can buy in the ‘free from range’ at Sainsbury’s, and possibly other supermarkets. I use a pinch in sauces such as homemade vegan mayo to bind the ingredients together, that way it will last longer in the fridge and not separate. It is also using in a lot of gluten free baking, and another part of the homemade egg replacer recipe.
Egg Replacer is often pretty handy to have in the cupboard. Orgran No Egg is one brand that you can get at health shops, as well as Holland & Barrett. As I mentioned above its also very easy to make your own and store in a jar. It’s good to use for replacing eggs in non dairy baking recipes as well as other uses.
borlotti • red kidney • lima • soya • mung • pinto • adzuki • cannelini • black • chickpeas • puy lentils • split red lentils • yellow split peas • green lentils
The dried kind of beans are more economical and use less waste, but I always have canned beans on board in case of rough weather or if I am short on time. And its always handy to have tonnes of lentils in your cupboard, especially the split red kind as they are quick cooking and can bulk up and add protein to a quick meal easily. All these items are available in most large supermarkets, and you can order bulk quantities of dried beans online.
tinned tomatoes • whole tomatoes • artichokes • baked beans • coconut milk and cream • beans • peaches • pineapple • pears • apricots
These items are available everywhere and always good to have on hand. I always have a huge amount of tinned tomatoes on board for quick pasta sauces or making chilli’s, they are definitely a dry store must have. And the tinned fruit… better than nothing when you run out of the fresh stuff when at sea, and also nice for fruit pies and baking.