Raw Pantry Essentials
Stocking a raw food pantry may be a bit intimidating when you first start a raw food diet. When I first started eating raw, there were a few ingredients needed to keep on hand which allowed me to try hundreds of new raw food recipes.
Each raw pantry will be unique, tailored to your own individual tastes and dietary requirements. Of course, there was no need to run out and buy everything listed right away. I simply purchased a new ingredient as needed for recipes I was trying:) Many of the items were purchased in the bulk section of my co-op.
Here are some basic items you may find useful when starting your raw food adventure:)
Olive, coconut, hemp, sunflower, grape seed, macadamia nut, sesame, pistachio, avocado, almond, and walnut. Although it is not raw, some raw recipes use toasted sesame oil, which tastes incredible:) Most oils should be kept in a cool, dark place. To retain the optimum flavor for an extended time, oils may be refrigerated. It is normal for oil that is refrigerated to become thick and cloudy. Cloudiness is not harmful and should disappear when the oil warms to room temperature. I have kept oils stored in glass bottles up to a year. If possible, look for oils that say raw, cold pressed and not deodorized.
Dates(can also be in sugar form, or liquid when blended with water), agave(somewhat controversial right now, also in powder form), stevia, yacon syrup, coconut or palm sugar, evaporated cane juice, coconut nectar, honey(not vegan), rapadura, xylitol(derived from birch trees) and lucuma powder. Maple sweeteners are sometimes used in raw food recipes even though it is not a raw food product and is available as a syrup(grade B) or granulated sugar. Except for maple syrup, I store sweeteners in tightly covered glass jars in a cool dark pantry for up to a year.
Nuts and seeds:
Walnuts, almonds, pecans, macadamia,pine nuts(pignoli), pistachio, Brazil, hazelnuts, cashews, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, flax seeds(brown or golden), quinoa, wild rice, buckwheat, and coconut:)
Seeds for sprouting:
May include seeds in the shell like sunflower, peas, alfalfa, broccoli, and spicy seeds like radish, mustard, or clover. Seeds and nuts should be stored tightly covered in glass jars in the refrigerator for up to 1 year. Nuts that have been soaked/sprouted and dehydrated can be stored on a cool dark pantry shelf for 1 year. Many raw foodies prefer to soak/sprout most nuts and seeds for optimal digestion. Please check out my favorite sprouting site, "Sproutpeople" for sprouting instructions.
Beans and Grains:
Most beans and grains are sprouted on a raw food diet. Sprouted grains are also nice dehydrated and ground into flour. Some grains are sprouted and used to make the drink called rejuvelac. Some popular grains include wheat berries, oats, rye, barley, triticale, spelt, kamut, millet and amaranth. Beans for sprouting are mung, lentils, adzuki, garbanzo(chickpeas) black turtle, and pinto.
If you have a dehydrator, you can make most of these from fresh produce:) Dried fruits should be organic when possible and free of sulfites or sweeteners like sugar. Raisins, currants, dates, figs, pineapple, mango, all berries(especially goji berries), cherries, apples, apricots, nectarines, papaya, tomato:), cranberries, gooseberries, pears, mulberries, peaches and plums(prunes). Store tightly covered in glass up 6-9 months for best flavor and freshness.
Nori sheets, dulse, wakame, kombu, arame, kelp, kelp noodles, spirulina, chlorella, Irish moss, agar, hijiki, and sea spaghetti. Store tightly covered for 6 months for most nutritional value. Keep up to 1 year tightly covered.
Cacao butter, cacao paste, cacao powder, cacao nibs, whole cacao beans. Many people enjoy the taste of carob, and use it in place of, or in conjunction with cacao powder. Store tightly covered in a cool, dark place for up to 1 year.
Herbs, spices, and flavoring:
Basil, oregano, parsley, cilantro, rosemary, curry, dill, cayenne, cinnamon, cardamom, cumin, sage, thyme, pepper, red pepper flakes, coriander, chipotles, chili, salt(I love pink salt), and paprika(sweet and smoked), culinary lavender and teas. There are so many more dried herbs, this is only a partial list, just pick the ones you like:) Dried herbs can be made easily by hanging bunches of fresh herbs upside-down until they are dried. Store tightly covered in pantry for up to 1 year for freshest flavor.
Nutritional yeast is a popular non-raw ingredient used in many raw recipes to impart a cheesy flavor.
Some raw food recipes may call for non-alcoholic extracts such as vanilla, cherry, almond, coffee, or maple. Extracts should keep well tightly covered in refrigerator after opening for 1 year. Fresh vanilla bean or vanilla powder is a wonderful option for true vanilla flavor. I also adore orange and rosewater.
Raw apple cider vinegar, raw coconut vinegar, Braggs liquid aminos, Nama Shoyu, Miso paste, ume plum vinegar, raw coconut aminos, and tamari.
Some of these ingredients may fall into the "superfood" category. Lucuma powder(also used as a sweetener), maca powder, mesquite powder, acai powder, and green phytofood powders.
Of course, this is just a partial list of ingredients you may find helpful to have on hand while exploring a raw food diet. This post was created at the suggestion of fellow raw food blogger D2Quilter, from a comment on My Mostly Raw Pantry post:)
I hope you find some new things you may like to try, and let me know if I left anything out! I may make some ingredient additions and add more product links when I have more time:) If you need some recipe ideas, make sure to check out the happy raw kitchen blog RECIPE INDEX, and one of my favorite raw recipe sites, goneraw.com :)
It is fun to experiment with my pantry items, however, keep in mind the bulk of what I eat is fresh, organic fruits and vegetables, prepared simply.
My very own little fridge is usually jammin' with fresh fruits and veggies:) Yup, that means tons of smoothies and salads!
What are your favorite raw pantry essentials?