Cooking

How to Stock Your Pantry for Summer

Turn ordinary dishes into unforgettable summer meals with these seasonal condiments and sauces
Best Condiments & Sauces Summer 2017
Photo: Maya Oren

No kitchen is complete without a well-stocked pantry, and even though you're focused on outdoor grilling and dining, summer is actually a great season to restock your kitchen. Between seasonal jams and pickles, there's no shortage of pantry staples just begging to be used during these warm-weather months.

Though making everything from scratch is always the way to go, there's nothing wrong with having a few condiments and sauces on hand—especially if you know which ones. 

So we've dug into our own cupboards and consulted some of our pals who know best—the folks from GrowNYC and The Greene Grape, an artisanal grocery store in Brooklyn—to collect 11 staples that deserve a place in your pantry.

Now the next time someone stops by unexpectedly for dinner, you won't have to sweat it.

  • Sweet Orange Salad Dressing

    "Lets face it. We're looking for every reason not to turn on the stove in these blistering hot summer days," Angela Gelso from The Greene Grape says. "Keeping the pantry stocked with olive oils and vinegars is a great way to prepare for making a big salad after a jaunt to the farmers' market. These little four-ounce bottles of dressing are perfect for bringing on picnics or keeping in your desk drawer at work."

    Buy it here, $5

     

  • Organic Tomatillo Salsa

    When homemade salsa is not an option, grab this jar of organic goodness made with tomatillos, onions, garlic, chiles, fresh lime juice and salt. Serve it with chips and call it a day, or try it as a marinade for chicken, steak or pork.

    Buy it here, $12

  • Chipotle Mustard

    The only question you should ask yourself when you're reaching for that regular mustard is why you aren't using chipotle mustard instead. This stuff is great on hot dogs, sandwiches and burgers, and makes an epic dipping sauce for pretzels, too.

    Buy it here, $8

  • Hot Pepper Peach Jam

    Hot peppery spices pair well with the sweet flavor of juicy peaches in this delicious jam. Spread it on toast or serve it with cheese and crackers.

    Buy it here, $8

  • Honey Hot Bread & Butter Pickles

    "Pickles are essential for summer eats, for sure," Catherine Crawford of GrowNYC says. These bread-and-butter pickles make great additions to just about anything including sandwiches, burgers, tacos and salads.

    Buy it here, $7

  • Tomato Brined Pickled Okra

    Farmstead manager Dustin Busby from Blackberry Farm suggests keeping a jar of pickled okra on hand at all times. Eat the okra and reserve the leftover brine for a delicious cocktail.

    Buy it here, $16

    Photo: beall + thomas photography

  • Carolina Barbecue Sauce

    We all strive to make our own barbecue sauce, but sometimes we need a shortcut. Lillie's Q Carolina barbecue sauce—a perfect combination of tangy and sweet—is the answer. So slather it all over everything from ribs to chicken and even vegetables.

    Buy it here, $12

  • Sourdough Crackers

    "Aida's crackers are a real game changer," Gelso says. "Put them on a cheese board and serve them to your friends, otherwise you won't be able to restrain yourself from eating the whole box!"

    Buy it here, $9

    Photo: Maya Oren

  • Beer Enhanced Caramel

    Turn those basic scoops of vanilla ice cream into a decadent dessert by warming up and drizzling on this caramel, made with a hint of beer.

    Buy it here, ($28 for a set of four)

  • Curry Ketchup

    Ditch the traditional bottle of ketchup for a spiced version made with curry and chili powder. Dip your fries in it and never look back.

    Buy it here, $6.50

  • Chinese Fermented Black Bean Sauce

    "Among our staff here at Provisions, everyone seems to have a favorite," Gelso says of this sauce and marinade. "I personally keep a jar of the Fermented Black Bean in my cabinet at all times. Our head butcher, Lena Diaz, swears by the South Asian Sweet Chili, and head buyer, Laura Heifetz, is smitten with their new gochujang."

    Buy it here, ($25 for a three-pack)

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