Real Food Tips: 21 Essentials for Freezer, Pantry & Fridge

The timing for this post is perfect because my freezer has never been so beautifully stocked in my life. I’ve actually been wanting to share that my husband and I are lucky enough to be going on the trip of a lifetime tomorrow. While our children stay home with the grandparents we will spend the next 15 days exploring Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia and China. I absolutely love to travel and desperately want to see as much of the world as possible so this trip is honestly a dream come true for us!

Our Freezer

So what does this have to do with my freezer one might ask? Since we have two different sets of grandparents who are generous enough to fly here and baby-sit I decided to take it upon myself to hook them up. Not only is my wine rack fuller than it’s ever been, but my freezer is stocked to the max with homemade soups, breads, tortillas, breakfast items, muffins, etc. I also bought and froze lots of locally and humanely raised meats like whole chickens, flank steaks, ground meat, bacon, and pork tenderloin. I even found some fresh North Carolina seafood that I threw in the freezer, too. The idea is that they won’t have to worry about buying any food other than fresh fruit and veggies while we are gone. Oh, and this will also guarantee that my children will mainly be eating “real food” approved items in our absence…c’mon you know that has something to do with all this, too. :)

So without further ado, here are 21 “real food” freezer, pantry, and fridge essentials including pictures from my own kitchen (click images and then click again to zoom in)!

7 “Real Food” Freezer Essentials

I hope to keep it stocked so nicely for us to enjoy when we return! I also made a “freezer inventory list,” which would be nice to have on hand if we could keep up with it as well.

  1. Frozen organic berries for making smoothies or berry sauce
  2. Whole-grain flours like whole-wheat & masa harina and whole-wheat breadcrumbs
  3. Pre-made stored dishes like soups, sauces, stocks, raviolis, smoothie pops and other leftovers
  4. Pre-made baked goods like pancakes, waffles and muffins

    Our Pantry

  5. Extra whole-grain breads and tortillas for when you can’t make it to the bakery or don’t feel like making a fresh batch
  6. Locally & humanely raised meats and seafood that you stock up on when you find a good source and have the chance to buy it
  7. Frozen organic vegetables like peas and corn (frozen are more nutritious than canned)

7 “Real Food” Pantry Essentials

  1. Nuts (like raw cashews, almonds, & pecans) and seeds (like raw pumpkin & sunflower). The pantry works for short-term storage, but if you don’t go through these items fairly quickly then store them in the freezer.
  2. Dried fruit like raisins, dried apricots, and dried apple rings. Also 1-ingredient organic applesauce is great to have on hand when you are out of fresh fruit.
  3. Baking ingredients like honey, vanilla extract, spices, oils, salt, and baking powder/soda.
  4. Whole-grain products like whole-grain sandwich bread, whole-wheat pasta, brown rice, quinoa, whole-wheat couscous, whole-wheat pretzels/crackers, etc.
  5. Whole grain cereals like raw oats (for oatmeal), homemade granola, shredded wheat, and whole-grain corn puffs.
  6. Fresh fruit that doesn’t need to be refrigerated like bananas, peaches, apples, pears, tomatoes, etc. We actually keep these items in a big fruit bowl on the kitchen table.
  7. Staples like potatoes, onions, garlic, dried/canned beans, and canned tomato products.

Our Fridge

7 “Real Food” Fridge Essentials

  1. Dairy products like milk, cheese, cream cheese and plain yogurt
  2. Eggs
  3. Perishable fruits & vegetables
  4. 1-ingredient peanut butter & “all-fruit” type jelly
  5. Cooking fats like unsalted organic butter, clarified butter (ghee), and lard
  6. Snacks like olives and pickles
  7. Spread and sauces like hummus, tzatiki, soy sauce, maple syrup, mustard, and homemade salad dressings



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  • Comments

    1. liz roads |

      what do you have stored in the mason jars in the freezer?

      • Amy Taylor (comment moderator) |

        Hi Liz. Soups, chicken broth, and various leftovers. You can freeze just about anything that is liquid or soupy in consistency in mason jars. ~Amy

    2. Val |

      Hi, I am referring to the picture of your freezer :) It looks as it is not as high as regular freestanding freezer, but more of an under the counter height … is it? I am looking for freezer that can be incorporated under the counter same as dishwasher etc so If yours is like that, would you mind sharing the brand? thx so much!

      • Amy Taylor (comment moderator) |

        Hi Val. No, it is larger than counter height. Sorry.

    3. Mina |

      How about frozen vegetables. Are they good to use? Thanks, new to your website and don’t know if question was answered already.

      • Amy Taylor (comment moderator) |

        Hi Mina. Sure, frozen veggies are great! :)

    4. Leaving Without Limits |

      Thanks for a lot of great information. I have been wanting to make a lot of homemade items in the past and I appreciate the resources available through your website.

      Thanks a million.

    5. Lisa |

      Do you ever make your own hummus? I saw hummus on your list, but wasn’t sure if you are making it from scratch. I was surprised at how easy and inexpensive it was! Just made some today.

      • Amy Taylor (comment moderator) |

        Hi there. Lisa does make her own hummus. ;)

    6. Mercy |

      Thanks a million for this great sites. I just stumbled on it and I have been glued to it since them. I really appreciate your good works,motivation and encouragement to make all us get back to real food and at a budget. I am trying the meals and will surely get back to let you know how I am doing.

    7. Laura |

      I’m in the Charlotte, NC area and am wondering where you are getting your local meat from.

      • Amy Taylor (comment moderator) |

        Hello Laura. Lisa gets most of her meat from the Matthews Farmer’s Market.

    8. Susan |

      One idea for freezing single servings is to buy ramekins at your local restaurant supply store and fill them with soups, baked pasta, etc. and then freeze. Make one big batch and lunch is ready for the week.

    9. Angela |

      I was wondering the same thing.

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