How to Stock a Healthy Kosher Pantry (and Kitchen)

Kosher Pantry Items

Here is my list of foods that I always keep at home for a healthy well-stocked kosher kitchen, with some quick guidelines on buying packaged foods. Preparing your own meals and snacks is an investment in your health. Look for the healthiest ingredients you can find and afford, and delicious nourishing meals will follow.

What to look for when buying packaged products:

1. Ingredients you can pronounce.
2. As few ingredients as possible.
3. All natural ingredients free of artificial colors and preservatives and harmful additives like MSG, hydrolyzed proteins, hydrogenated vegetable oils, and soy-based imitation foods.
4. No added sweeteners, real or artificial- Aspartame, NutraSweet, high fructose corn-syrup, agave nectar, refined white sugar, and cane sugar.
5. To avoid GMO’s (Genetically Modified Organisms) corn, soy, sugar, zucchini, and papaya, should be certified organic. Other possible GMO foods are vegetable oils which are not healthy regardless of GMO’s (avoid cottonseed oil, corn oil, canola oil, and grapeseed oil).
6. Shop farmer’s markets and food coops for staples like nuts, olive oil, dairy products, and eggs in addition to fresh produce.
7. Limit or avoid processed grain products like breakfast cereals, granola, and store-bought baked goods. All grains need to be soaked in an acidic medium to minimize enzyme inhibitors and phytic acid that make these products hard to digest and cause mineral deficiencies (be especially cautious with kids developing cavities). Also, most of these products are highly processed, have no nutritional value, and can lead to inflammation and hormone disruption associated with chronic diseases and other health conditions. If you consume grains, homemade is best.

My Real Food Pantry

Pantry Items

Extra-virgin olive oil
Raw coconut oil and expeller pressed coconut oil
Macadamia nut oil
Raw apple cider vinegar
Raw coconut vinegar
Coconut butter
Coconut milk (not light)
Sustainably caught canned sardines, tuna, and salmon
Wild-caught anchovies
Marinara sauce – organic, no-sugar added, in glass jars
Organic grape juice (fruit juice is not a healthy drink option and should be limited- we only drink if for the weekly Friday night/Saturday lunch Shabbat or holiday blessings)
Organic herbal teas
Capers
Olives
Organic fruit spread – no added sugars. Make your own “quick jams” by cooking down fresh or frozen fruit, like blueberries until thick, season with citrus zest and raw honey if needed.

Organic Spices

Sea Salt
Organic peppercorns
Organic dried herbs – basil, dill, mint, thyme, oregano, sage, Italian seasoning, bay leaves.
Organic spices – anise seeds, caraway, cardamom, cayenne, chili powder, cumin, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, curry powder, garlic, ginger, poultry seasoning, saffron, smoked paprika, nutmeg, and turmeric.

Grains/Legumes

Rice
Rice paper wrappers – (Sushi Metsuyan)
Rice Pasta – Tinkyada is a good brand
Buckwheat Noodles
Steel-cut oats
Organic or non-GMO popcorn
Lentils

We don’t consume much beans – if you do it is preferable to soak dried beans and soak overnight instead of buying canned beans.
For better digestion and to increase mineral absorption, prepare grains and legumes with bone stocks (chicken, beef, or fish broth).

Baking Products

Blanched Almond Flour
Organic Sprouted Whole Grain Brown Rice Flour
Coconut Flour
Tapioca Flour
Arrowroot
Aluminum free baking soda
Aluminum free baking powder
Pure vanilla extract, or make your own
Pure vanilla powder
Organic, 70% dark chocolate and chocolate chips
Organic cocoa powder
Unsweetened shredded coconut

*Organic Sprouted Whole Grain Flour
*Organic Unbleached White Flour
*Instant yeast

*My family does best on a mostly gluten free diet – the exception I make is for challah bread I make for Shabbat (Sabbath) – either a sprouted whole grain challah or variations of my sourdough no-knead bread.

Sweeteners

Raw local honey
Organic maple syrup
Maple sugar
Coconut/palm sugar
Sucanat or Rapadura

Snacks

Raw nuts – almonds (store-bought are not raw), pecans, walnuts, macadamia nuts. Soak raw nuts in salted water for 8 hours and dry in a dehydrator or warm oven.
Dried fruit (unsweetened and unsulphured)
Organic nut butters – almond, hazelnut (make homemade Nutella with three ingredients)
Coconut flakes (Unsweetened)
Dried seaweed
Larabars
Rice crackers
Beef jerky

Refrigerator

Pasture-raised eggs from farmer’s markets or look for Vital Farms and Frenz’s in the health food store
Raw whole milk, or organic whole milk from grass-fed cows and not homogenized
Organic whole milk plain yogurt (from grass-fed cows)
Raw cream or organic cream, preferably from grass-fed cows, and not ultra-pasteurized
Raw butter or organic butter from grass-fed cows
Clarified butter or ghee
Grass-fed raw cheese
Flax seed oil
Sesame seed oil
Bubbie’s pickles
Homemade sauerkraut, or Bubbie’s in markets (other brands are pasteurized). In Los Angeles check out Brassica and Brine (kosher certified).
Fermented soy sauce
Whole grain mustard, no added sugar
Organic salsa
Organic ketchup
Homemade granola
Tallow – rendered beef fat (from grass-fed cows, available from Kol Foods to render at home) great for high heat cooking
Fermented cod liver oil (food based supplement) and fermented cod liver oil/butter oil blend

Freezer

Organic fruit – no sugar added (great for smoothies)
Organic or *grass-fed meat
Organic or *pastured chicken
Chicken bones, feet, necks, etc (for homemade chicken stock)
Frozen sustainable fish fillets
Homemade frozen beef, chicken and fish stocks – though I have been buying fresh fish stock from my local fish market and freezing it for risottos and sushi rice (freeze in 2-cup pyrex containers or canning jars)
Frozen red/white wine (freeze leftover wine in jam jars)
Homemade almond flour waffles (freezes well)
Gluten-free bread – for school lunches, I don’t recommend consuming too many store-bought gluten free products.
Brown rice tortillas- for crispy pizza
Ground flaxseed
Coconut milk ice cream
Organic whole milk ice cream (the fewer ingredients the better)

* Grow and Behold Kosher Pastured Meats and Kol Foods ship kosher certified (OU or Star-K) pastured poultry and beef. They also have kosher nitrate-free sausages and hot dogs with only real ingredients. Look for a local buying club (or start your own). When I can’t buy their products, I stick to lean cuts of organic meat like London broil.

Fresh produce

Always keep lemons, limes, onions, garlic, ginger, parsley, cilantro, celery, and carrots around. They form the flavor foundation of so many dishes. I fill in with local vegetables and fruits from the farmer’s markets and my CSA box. Fresh is best, but frozen produce is also good. Avoid most store-bought canned fruits and vegetables.

With these produce staples and your well-stocked pantry you’ll be ready to make anything. You can find some of these items in my Amazon store (it’s also helpful to see what they look like for when searching in your local health food store).

How do you stock a pantry with healthy ingredients? What items do you wish were available for kosher consumers?

More Real Food Digest’s Tips for Eating Real Food

Tips on weeknight dinner planning and favorite last minute meals.
For more guidance on choosing pesticide-free produce, GMO free foods, sustainable seafood, eggs, dairy, and meat/poultry, check out my favorite guides to buying real food.
Read about why you should avoid GMO foods.
Print out my guide to fats and oils and end the confusion on what to cook with and what to avoid.

Check out Pantry Tips from other Real Food Bloggers;

Do You Need a Pantry Intervention? | The Healthy Home Economist
Stocking a Traditional Foods Pantry |The Nourished Kitchen
Cheeseslave’s Real Food Kitchen Tours
The Organic and Thrifty Pantry Shopping Guide
BPA Rises by 1200% After Eating from Cans | Food Renegade

List of Kashrut Supervising Authorities around the world with the Kosher Symbols

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 This post is linked to Kelly the Kitchen Kop | Real Food Wednesday.

"PAID ENDORSEMENT DISCLOSURE: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog." I only endorse products that align with the ideals of Real Food Kosher and that I believe would be of value to my readers.

Comments

  1. Dina says

    We buy a lot of similar items! I see capers in your picture, but don’t recall seeing them on the list, not sure if I missed it, if it was an oversight, or if you changed your mind and don’t use them anymore? A few items I use that I didn’t see on your list that I do buy are organic sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil, mirin, and organic tahini which I thought would be ok…I also buy balsamic, rice wine, and red wine vinegar, but I assume you would say these are no-no’s, right?

    • lisa says

      Thank you for the feedback, Dina!

      I’m sure there are a few items that I forgot to write in and this will be one of the posts that I will update as I find kosher options for (I’ll make a note of this in the post) and add in products I forgot. So thank you for catching the capers – I will update that – it’s such a wonderful flavor enhancer.

      Ever since I got a dehydrator I’ve been making my own dried tomatoes and storing them in olive oil and dried herbs, but it’s a good pantry staple so I’ll add that in as well.

      I’ve read different things regarding vinegars and haven’t come to any conclusions if I think they are good or bad – I haven’t done too much research into it. I stick to the raw apple cider vinegar because of its health benefits (and taste) but it’s probably fine to use the others – I just wish we had more kosher options available! If I find out more information about vinegars I’ll let you know.

      • says

        Thank you. I really liked this post. very informative. where do you find aluminum free baking powder and soda? and what is cod liver oil a supplement for? thanks. Sylvie

        • lisa says

          I use “Rumford” baking powder and “Bob’s Red Mill” baking soda – both are aluminum free. There may be other brands, but these I find easily at Whole Foods.

          Fermented cod liver oil (FCLO) is a food based supplement, a true “superfood” that provides Vitamin A and D. These vitamins need to be taken in the right ratio, many processed cod liver oils don’t have enough D and can lead to Vitamin A toxicity.

          FCLO also comes as a blend with butter oil (excellent source of K2), which I give to the kids (and myself) regularly, because of how well it works together with the fermented cod liver oil.

          These are all vitamins that are hard to obtain in our modern diets but are essential to bone health (and teeth), cardiovascular health, good for the brain, and much more. This deserves a separate post, but definitely read up on its benefits; http://www.westonaprice.org/cod-liver-oil/clo-number-one-superfood.

          The only company that produces this in a traditional way is Green Pasture; http://www.greenpasture.org/public/Products/ButterCodLiverBlend/index.cfm
          It’s unheated without any synthetic vitamins added in. (I buy it through the local Weston Price chapter for a better price).

          Also, read this great post from Sarah on her blog how she healed her son’s cavity with the butter oil/fclo blend;
          http://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/2011/05/how-i-healed-my-childs-cavity/

          • Sarah says

            I see that you do not provide a brand for arrowroot. Does it need a hechsher? I don’t know if it is processed or a flour. I cannot find information on this topic anywhere and would very much apprieciate your input as I have recently gone gluten free and just got a bunch of gluten free cookie recipes I would like to try out with my young sons who love to bake and eat cookies.

          • Lisa says

            Hi Sarah,

            According to the Star-K, arrowroot starch/flour does not need a hechsher. (You can email them directly for questions like these). I use Bob’s Red Mill since it is easy to find at the health food store. But if you do prefer a kosher certified version, Wilderness Family Naturals makes one certified by Earth Kosher (you can buy it on their website).

            Good luck with the gluten-free baking! Let me know how it goes…

            (Update – the OU wrote me back that it does require certification – you may want to check with your community Rabbi to clarify since every community has different standards).

  2. Milana says

    Hi
    I also bought the Fermented cod liver oil (FCLO) however, it does not contain any kosher certification.
    I thought i would only give to my kids on need basis when they are coming on with a cold or something.
    Also when i tried that my youngest 2 (ages 4 and 1) developed an allergic reaction on their faces with red patches, and i gave 1/2 the suggested dose of Weston Price.
    So is the other Fermented cod liver oil (FCLO) with butter oil kosher?

    • says

      Hi Milana,
      Do your kids have any food allergies? Have they reacted to any kind of fish oils in the past?

      Both the FCLO and FCLO/Butter oil blend do not have a hechsher.

  3. Sharon says

    Came across to this link when I was doing some research on kosher grass fed meats in the Los Angeles area as I had been getting it through Kol Foods and Grow & Behold Buying Club… this is a great resource link!

    What about sea kelp? Any kosher certification or is it required?

    Which cod liver oil has kosher certification if any?

    • lisa says

      Hi Sharon,

      I would prefer not to answer questions regarding if items require certification or not. Different communities have different standards and its best to consult your rabbi or contact the star-k, ou, or kosherquest.org.

      The cod liver oil I use does not have a kosher certification (Green Pasture Fermented Cod Liver Oil and Butter Oil blend). Though it’s not a universal practice I know many individuals with strictly kosher homes who consume this. Many rabbis will allow consumption of non-kosher vitamins and supplements for medical reasons.

      Please do your own research.

  4. says

    Nice advice will help me to be more organized!

    @sharon, if you are looking for certified kosher wine, we have nice Kosher Mevushal from Argentina.

  5. pamela goforth says

    I am looking to buy online Kosher Certified Cod Liver Oil ! Is there any where in the World that this is Sold if so where can I Buy it from ? I don’t consume fish and Dairy together if Seems to defeat the Purpose of eye ball looking creature and dairly another Creature product ! So No Butter no Dairy no Meat , only Cod Liver Oil Preferable Liquid. email newlife21@verizon.net or call 814 677-0339 Thank You.

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