Cooking Techniques

Stocking Your Pantry

A well-stocked pantry is the key to culinary success.

Think of it as the cook’s palette. You need sweet, salty, sour, bitter, hot, and savory ingredients on hand to develop dynamic flavor in your cooking. Just to make things interesting (and easier) some foods provide a couple of different tastes.

You don’t need to have every last one of these ingredients in your pantry; pick your favorites. Customize your cook’s palette based on your palate! For example, if you love Mexican food always have limes and cilantro on hand. If you are a barbecue fan, keep barbecue sauce ingredients around.

There are some staples that are, well, simply staples: pasta, rice, grains, nuts, seeds, olive oil, butter, and herbs of choice (dried or fresh.) Keep these ingredients in plentiful and varied supply in your kitchen. Rice, grains and pasta are a canvas for your culinary creations. The others help to add layers of flavor to your food. Happy cooking!

The Cook’s Palette

Sweet Ingredients: white sugar, light brown sugar, dark brown sugar, honey, maple syrup, molasses, balsamic vinegar.

Sour Ingredients: lemons, limes, red wine vinegar, white wine vinegar, sherry vinegar, balsamic vinegar, champagne vinegar, tarragon vinegar, yogurt, sour cream, goat cheese, wine.

Salty Ingredients: kosher salt, sea salt, soy sauce, Dijon mustard, Parmesan cheese, goat cheese, anchovies, fish sauce.

Bitter Ingredients: coffee, cocoa, beer, citrus peel, olives, yogurt, molasses, goat cheese, garlic.

Umami or Savory Ingredients: greens, mushrooms, asparagus, artichokes, beans, broths, anchovies, soy sauce, fish sauce, avocado, cheddar cheese, Parmesan cheese, potatoes, onions, tuna.

Heat: fresh chili peppers, dried cayenne, red pepper flakes, ginger, harissa, Sriracha, Tabasco, garlic, black pepper.

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