‘Pandemic Pantry’: Ten Long-stay Items To Stock Up On

#PandemicPantry: A pantry set up to provide health, nutrition, sustenance during a situation/ period with constraints on movement for extended periods.

I would never have imagined writing this, living through this, living in a time when the whole, entire world is gripped by the Coronavirus/ COVID-19.

I’ve always wanted to write about the Nigerian pantry – or more accurately, the Nigerian ‘store’ where food and everything required to rustle up deliciousness lives. And now, I am.

I know it’s tough times for us, for many people around the world and I love just how many people are doing what they can to support each other. Give how you can, give love and kindness and everything else possible you can share. We’re in this together. I pray God keeps us, strong, together, recovering from this.

And so, I’m sharing ten things to fill your pantry with, in these days of lockdowns.

The List

Here are ten things I buy in bulk – sufficient to last anywhere from a couple of weeks to months. If you’re looking to fill your pantry, here are some ideas.

I won’t include salt, pepper, sugar, seasoning because I assume those come standard.

1. Raw rice/ pasta/ noodles/ beans – these are great for a variety of things. Take rice, you can do a lot with it from making ‘milk‘ to dessert and everything in between.

Nigerian Jollof Stickrice Recipe

2. Flours & Ground Meals – Wheat, Yam, (Cassava), Garri: these can form the main sides/ staples, you can bake bread, make snacks, create thickeners for sauces and more

3. Canned goods – tomatoes, palm nut cream, chickpeas, sweetcorn, beans, peas, olives, sardines, tuna, tinned fruit – these are gold. From canned tomatoes which can go for soups and stews, sauces and more, you can create dips from the chickpeas and beans or add them to the stews and stirfries, top salads, make patties and do a whole lot


4. Oils, vinegars, sauces – palm, vegetable, olive, sesame – a spoonful here and there will change the game. I always keep soy sauce handy too

Setting up

5. Dried fruits and Nuts/ Seeds/ Nut butters – thickeners and snacks are a few of the possibilities with these. Add a few spoonfuls of peanut butter to your smoothie, oatmeal or the base of a sauce. Tigernuts, peanuts and your favourites are great things to have for a variety of reasons

Fruit and Nuts

6. Cereal, Oatmeal, etc – everything from breakfast to snacks, to base of sauces, to drinks. You can make your own oat milk if you’re so inclined

Oats and Bran

7. For Drinks & More – Tea, Coffee, Milk, Cocoa Powder – powdered, evaporated, condensed, UHT – cereal bases, bakes, sauces. Powdered milk works a treat – you can do so much with it and use it in many ways. I also have dried hibiscus for making zobo


8. Yams & Potatoes: sweet, Irish and the like for pottages, soups, fried, boiled, baked, whatever


9. Plantains – could be fried, boiled, baked, pureed and made into flatbreads. I like to buy them green so I can expand the variety of things to do with them as they ripen


10. Onions: oh the magic of onions – caramelised, the base of all the stews and sauces – so so so much to do with them. Garlic and ginger are great too but Onions are my ‘can’t live without’



The next thing to do is figure out what can you order online/ have delivered and what should could pick up. I then re-arrange my shopping list by store, work out my route and the rest is history.

I use Google Keep for my shopping list – it’s installed on all my phones, I can access it on

I make my list, add check boxes and pin it so it’s at the top.

This way, I have access to my lists wherever I am and I can also build the lists on the go.

Payment Readiness

Then, I make sure I have some cash just in case there are issues with the payment systems and the like. I’ve experienced breakdowns in the system at various stores so if you can, if its safe to get cash out – it’s nice to have

Coming next? Seasonings I like to have which give me a great deal of flexibility

Did I forget something? What things do you like to have on your list?


  1. Dear Ozoz,
    Thank you for your advice !
    Good healthy food is important in this difficult time.
    Are you all o.k. ?
    If you donot know what to do : counting rice korreltjes. How many are there in a bag of one shop and how many are there in a bag of another shop ?!
    Or hagelslag . . . ., toiletpaper. . . .
    My mom is o.k. ! But all the news makes her a bit sad.
    Stay healthy !
    X Engeline

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.