15 Store Cupboard Essentials for Your Student Kitchen
06 December 2017
1. Chopped Tomatoes
Chopped tomatoes are the unsung heroes of the student pantry, providing a healthy base for a truly massive variety of meals – be it curry, pasta, chilli or even a homemade pizza. Unlike fresh tomatoes, these cans last a lifetime, so you should always have at least two tins in the cupboard to whip up something tasty and wholesome when the mood hits.
2. Tomato Purée
In a similar vein, invest a whopping 30p into a tube of tomato puree, whose savoury tang will bring out the flavour of any tomato-based dish. With just a teaspoon needed to jazz-up your pasta or chilli, this stuff goes a long way and will last ages in the cupboard (and longer in the fridge). Just make sure to reseal it to avoid a gunky nozzle.
3. Tinned Soup
Healthy and hearty, soup is a godsend for students strapped for cash but in need of something satisfying. Eat it for lunch, and soup will keep you going through a gruelling afternoon of lectures. Eat it in the evening, and there’ll be no need for that 2am takeaway. Supermarkets often do good ‘buy X for X’ deals on tinned soup, so shop around for the best price and varieties.
4. Salt and Pepper
What can we say about this immortal seasoning duo? Sprinkle onto even the most humdrum of dishes, and things should quickly start to taste more edible. Remember to use salt sparingly, as isn’t great for the old ticker.
Flour might sound like a serious baker’s ingredient, but it’s actually very versatile and inexpensive. It can be used for making all sorts of simple baked goods (pizza anyone?), and is also great for whipping up simple sauces, like classic cheese sauce – an enduring student favourite.
Bread might not be the healthiest option, but it’s bound to be a big part of your student experience, so embrace it. We don’t need to tell you what you can make with bread, just let your creativity flow and remember to invest in a sandwich toaster – no student kitchen is complete without one.
Boil ‘em, roast ‘em, mash ‘em or slice ‘em into wedges – no veg is more versatile than the potato, so make sure you’ve always got fresh ones to hand. What’s great about potatoes is that, while they taste warm and satisfying, they’re packed full of vitamins and minerals that are great for keeping you fit and healthy. To avoid sprouts, whack them somewhere cool and dark, and they should last a few weeks.
8. Onion and Garlic
Like chopped tomatoes, onion and garlic form the base for a massive amount of popular meals, including curries, pasta and chilli. Dice these babies up and chuck them in a pan, and you’ll be well on your way to a great-tasting dinner. Onion and garlic should last around a fortnight in the fridge, so you’ve plenty of time to throw them into a few staple dishes.
9. Stock Cubes
Again, this might sound like we’re straying into serious cooking, but hear us out. Stock cubes are cheap and can be stored for years in the back of a cupboard. They’re also a key ingredient in a lot of dishes, and are great if you fancy having a go at making your own soup. Add a stock cube to your favourite chilli or Bolognese recipe, and you’ll be amazed at the transformation in flavour.
10. Tomato Ketchup
Not just for dolloping on your takeaway, tomato ketchup is also a handy ingredient that adds an interesting sweet and tangy kick to a range of recipes, including your favourite Asian dishes. Add a tablespoon of ketchup to sweet and sour chicken or spaghetti Bolognese, and enjoy the rich, strong flavour. It’s also a surprisingly tasty accompaniment to cheesy nachos; just squirt over tortilla chips with a handful of cheese and bake in the oven.
11. Baked Beans
It’s difficult to believe that we got to #11 on our list without mentioning the national student staple that is baked beans. Great on toast, in a spud or as a satisfying side, beans are cheap, tasty and also count as one of your five a day. If you like, you can make the humble baked bean sexier with a dash of tabasco or a squirt of BBQ sauce – great for serving as a side with Mexican mains.
Pasta is easily one of the most readily consumed student staples, and for good reason. Whichever way you like it, it’s possible to have pasta every day of the week without getting bored. Just mix and match your toppings and get creative with sauces, and you’ll always have a wholesome and nourishing meal close at hand.
Like pasta, rice is effortlessly versatile, cheap to buy and will last a lifetime in your store cupboard. While some reckon it’s difficult to cook, there’s now a range of microwaveable or boil-in-the-bag options out there that take the stress out of cooking and make sure you get the right portion size.
14. Cooking Oil
Your first foray into cooking for yourself begins and ends with cooking oil. Most, if not all, dishes rely on oil, and it comes in many different varieties. We’d choose a low-cost olive oil, as it’s healthier than vegetable oil but cheaper than extra virgin. If you’re health conscious, coconut oil is another option, but it does come at a premium.
15. Mixed Herbs
While many recipes list a huge variety of different herbs and spices, it’s easy to get by with a shaker of mixed herbs. Supermarkets offer many varieties of mixed herbs, combining different flavours, so it comes down to the sort of food you cook the most. Add a teaspoon of herbs to a dish, and it’ll taste nice – what more do you need? At aparto, we take student accommodation further, making your whole experience of living away from home more immersive and welcoming. To find out more about our purpose-built student homes, visit the homepage or email firstname.lastname@example.org.