Users ask me sometime to add a pantry manager to Shop’NCook software. So here is the news flash:
Shop’NCook has had a hidden pantry manager for years.
OK, now I see you become a little sceptic. I mean, why would I hide such a useful feature in my software?
The truth is, when I wrote this feature, I didn’t realize it was a pantry! For lack of a better term, I called it: “The list of items that are automatically deselected” – which is an apt description of what it does but that doesn’t help understanding what it’s useful for. That is, until a customer pointed out to me that it is actually a pantry.
The pantry manager is a very useful feature and I warmly encourage you to use it, if you aren’t already. It lets you keep track of the ingredients you have at home so that they don’t get added to the shopping list. Without it, you get a lot of things you don’t need to buy on your shopping list – like water, salt, pepper, etc. – and have to remove them manually each time. The pantry manager is still rudimentary: if you would like it to do more, let me know!
I tell you below how to set it up, what it does and the best way to use it.
Accessing the pantry manager
You find the pantry manager in the Shopping List tab of the preferences. To enable it, select the checkbox next to “Enable the list of items that are automatically deselected” and click on the “Edit List” button.
This is what you will see at the beginning:
Adding ingredients to the pantry
You need to add to the pantry the ingredients you have usually on hand. For example, I have always a few packs of flour at home, enough for any single recipe, so that usually I don’t need to add it to my grocery list. Here is how you add an ingredient to the pantry manager:
Click first on the Add button (1). It will create an empty line at the bottom of the list. Type the name of the ingredient (flour) you want to add in the white field (2). Click then on the arrow at the end of the field (3) and select the appropriate item of the database (4).
The color of the ingredient has now turned black, showing it has been correctly added to the pantry list:
There are also ingredients you keep on hand but not in sufficient quantity for every recipe. For example, I keep always a few eggs on hand, but they may not be sufficient for some cake recipes that require a lot of eggs. In this case, you can specify a threshold quantity from which it will be added anyway to the grocery list, as follows:
After adding the ingredient to the list, type the quantity in the Quantity field, display the pull down menu of the Unit field and select the appropriate unit.
Here is what is looks like now:
When you are done adding ingredients to your pantry, save the list by clicking on the OK button and close the preference panel.
Shop’NCook will make sure you don’t add ingredients to your shopping list that you keep in your pantry. After setting up your pantry, the ingredients of a recipe may look like this:
Note the ingredients that are deselected. They are not added to the shopping list by default: without the pantry feature, you would have to uncheck them manually.
Next, I explain below how you can keep your pantry stocked. But first, before reading the remaining, go ahead: take a piece of paper, go through your pantry and jot down the things you keep and the maximum quantities you are confident you always have on hand. Good candidates are:
To help get you started, here is my own list (it’s quite long, click here to jump to the end):
Spice and condiments:
The list only includes the ingredients likely to be used in recipes. I haven’t included ready-made food like breakfast cereals, cookies and baby food for example that are not used to cook.
You are bound to keep very different ingredients on hand, so make sure you go through your own pantry, then add all the ingredients to the pantry manager.
What other ingredient do you keep in your pantry?
Keeping the pantry stocked
A good way to keep the pantry stocked is to create a sublist with all your pantry ingredients in it. You can also add to it other non-ingredient items, like cleaning supplies for example.
To keep track of the pantry items that need replenishing, a post-it on the fridge does fine. If you would like a more high-tech solution, a note on your iPhone works too. The day you create your grocery list, select on the sublist the pantry items you wrote down and add them to the shopping list.
What is your favorite way of managing your pantry?
The Hidden Pantry is brilliant!!
What I would like to see included is a use by and best before date reminder alert.
For eg. the product turns red and alerts the user that the product may not be suitable for consumption.
This will allow the date to be inserted in a field when entering a product.
Can I print either of these lists? That would be great to just post them on the inside of the door. Also the sublist is a new feature for me. Can I create that easily or do I need to manually enter items here. I need to make a freezer one.
You cannot directly print a sublist, but you can create a new shopping list, add to it the ingredients of the sublist and then print the shopping list.
Also, the most convenient way to create a sublist is by making a shopping list with all the ingredients you want to include and then save it as sublist (File menu).
I posted this question somewhere else, but now can’t find it.
It appears there is a way to barcode scan items in (and out?) of the pantry, according to the users manual. But the instructions aren’t helping.
Am I misunderstanding.
Also I agree with Peter about the suggestions for “best by” dates.
At the time being, you can only use the barcode scanning to input data into a supermarket. Scanning items in and out of the pantry is in the plan, but not yet available.
Thanks for the notes on the hidden pantry manager. They will be most useful as I am just starting to seriously use the programme.
[…] you have prepared a sublist with your pantry ingredients as recommended in an earlier post, have a glance at it and make sure you have enough of them for […]
I’m new to shopncook software (I was using MacGourmet) but one feature that I’ve been looking for is the ability to USE UP stuff in my pantry or freezer. If we inventoried what was in the pantry and freezer perhaps some rudimentary background scan of our ingredients vs “you’re most of the way there to this recipe” prompts would be helpful?
Yes, it would be interesting if recipes on the menu reduced your pantry/freezer inventory.