What I Order From Amazon Prime Pantry
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Posted on 08 Mar 2018 22:33

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What, a food blogger orders from Amazon Prime Pantry? Don't you spend all your time at farmer's markets and little specialty food shops? I confess, I do not. If you've perused a handful of pages here at Culinary Lore, you may have begun to realize that I'm way too busy researching food history and the other domains explored here at Culinary Lore to spend all my time shopping for food.

Don't get me wrong, I'm a good cook! I have an above average cooking skill and knowledge of cooking in general. But I'm more interested in other food-oriented questions than I am in being a food recipe blogger. I don't want to make cooking my job because I consider writing my job! So, yeah, I order stuff, and one of the ways I order is through Amazon Prime Pantry.

Skip to my Chosen Items

So, why in the world should you care about what I order from Amazon Pantry? Well, there is another clue in these pages. I have a good deal of specific knowledge about many of the products I order. I often have specific reasons for ordering them. Therefore, this page is, partly, intended to be a resource of that type. And, in general, if you haven't ordered, I can give you some practical information about the experience of ordering certain types of products, and simply what I think about them.

I realize you may be new to Prime Pantry and be confused by all the other 'grocery' options Amazon offers. Besides Prime Pantry, Amazon also offers Prime Now and Amazon Fresh. So, here is a quick run-down on them.

Skip to my Chosen Items

Prime Pantry

Amazon Prime Pantry is an option offered to Amazon Prime customers. If you are a prime customer, navigate to the Prime Pantry category to find where to shop for these items. You can purchase everyday grocery and household items and these items are offered in regular sizes. This is not a bulk shopping thing. If you want a 5-lb sack of flour, a regular sized container of black pepper, and a small box of cereal, you can order just that. Will you find every item imaginable? No. But you will find many things beyond what your local grocery store or drug store.

The basic categories are snacks, breakfast foods, beverages, beauty and personal care items, toiletries, and household products. You can also purchase your basic over-the-counter drugs, with generic options, and many other things. The prices are low and there are many coupons and other deals, such as 'buy 5 select items and save $6.

All the items you order are meant to fill a Prime Pantry box. Amazon keeps up with what percentage of the box will be filled with each item and will let you know when it is close to full. If you go over the capacity of one box, a new box will begin. No problem, just delete something from the order. You do not have to fill a box to 100% but it's certainly more cost-effective to fill your box as full as possible. If you have 98% of your box full and you try another and it's too much, you can always try a smaller item. At some point, it becomes tedious and counter-productive to try to fill a box to exactly 100%, especially if you are considering ordering things you don't really need. So, once you're at 98% or so and you feel like you're done, trust me, it's not worth sweating the remaining two percent. The shipping cost is a flat-rate of $5.99 per box, and the boxes are quite large.

You cannot order frozen items or any fresh items. In terms of food, you can only order shelf-stable groceries, and what's more, they must be very shelf stable. As well, certain items may be missing due to how well they would hold up during shipping. That is, the way certain products are packaged, especially liquid, would present a significant challenge. As well, I presume that most products must be very shelf-stable, not just somewhat shelf-stable. For example, there is no shelf-stable milk available, and I presume that this is because such products are only good for about six months. There may be other reasons, though, such as the potential for leakage from the cartons. They do offer one juice box product, but many juice pouch products.

Now, there is one note I'd like to make regarding the boxes. They are very heavy-duty. Amazon needed to make them this way in order to be able to pack so much into them and have them hold up well during shipping and well as protect the items within. Yes, they are stronger than regular Amazon boxes. I feel quite guilty about recycling such nice boxes! They do make a very good storage box if you want to use cardboard, albeit a bit large to move around and store on shelves. They would not make a good moving box, in general, because, again, they are too large. However, this problem of waste pales in comparison to ordering groceries from Jet, which I discuss briefly below.

These items you order from Prime Pantry come from Amazon fulfillment centers. They are not local deliveries. In terms of shipping, you can usually expect your box to arrive within three to four days or so and there have been times when I've received a box within two days. A few months prior to this writing, Amazon was experiencing some delivery issues, and I experienced late shipments on Prime Pantry boxes as well as regular Amazon orders. These issues seem to have been corrected for the time being and all of my orders are arriving promptly. By the way, if you do have a problem believing an Amazon order, call them; don't bother with chat.

I mentioned Jet. Jet is attempting to become a full-service grocery delivery option. You can get fresh, frozen, and everything else which is shipped in boxes through standard delivery companies. I've done it, but only once. While I feel guilty about the big Amazon box that my Prime Pantry items come in, the amount of waste resulting from a Jet grocery order was, in a word, ridiculous. For on fairly small order I received 4 different boxes resulting in mounds of insulation, plastic, and other packing materials. Jet, in a bit of greenwashing, makes a lot of all this being recyclable. Technically, it is. But not at your curbside pick up and certainly not in a way that is practical for the consumer. The insulation was made out of discarded denim, for instance. Where do you recycle that? I won't go into all the different materials but the packing filled two garbage bags. I managed to recycle the large amount of plastic film which I tore off of the foam. My next door neighbor placed a large order through Jet. There were at least eight large boxes stacked on the back porch. Trust me, it's easier to go to the grocery store than to deal with the waste of one of these orders.

Amazon Prime Now

Prime Now offers quick delivery of not just groceries, but all sorts of Amazon items, including electronics, clothing, pet supplies, etc. These can be purchased through the Amazon Prime Now App the standalone Prime Now website. You can set your delivery window and qualifying orders can get delivered the same day within a two-hour window of your choice. You set a tip for the driver and it will be delivered to your door in paper bags. The driver will be tipped automatically and the tip amount is added to your total. You can adjust the tip amount before checking out.

The groceries include a limited, but convenient, selection of fresh and frozen items. As well, you can order certain cooking supplies. For example, I was in a bind last Thanksgiving. At the last minute, I was told I was in charge of the pumpkin pies. I was able to get what I needed from Prime Now, plus a couple of pie plates! I've ordered a few other times including for groceries and a video game that my son had ordered but which had become lost in transit. I found it on Prime Now and had it in a jiffy! Dad's a hero, and he never left the house!

You'd be surprised what you can find. Have a guest coming over to stay but there's no place for them to sleep? No need to run out to Bed, Bath and Beyond. Order a nice inflatable mattress from Prime Now and have it before bedtime. And, as long as there are no perishables, you can have the driver leave your order at the door. They will, of course, ring your doorbell and knock to let you know they've arrived. You can track your delivery through the app or website. The name of your driver is given and you can watch their progress on the map to know up to the minute when your order will arrive.

Expect to pay a bit more for pretty much everything you order from Prime Now. This is not a way, in my opinion, to do your regular grocery shopping. It's for convenience and when you need items quickly and can't get to the store or you don't have time to order them in a regular way.

Prime Now also offers delivery from local restaurants. In my experience, in my area, this has been a bust. None of the restaurants on the list ever seem to be "open for delivery." Grub Hub is what we use.

Amazon Fresh

Amazon Fresh, like the others, is only available to Prime Members but requires an additional monthly fee of $14.99. This is Amazon's complete grocery delivery service but instead of being fulfilled by Amazon the items are sourced locally and picked up by your dedicated shopper to be delivered to you. These items will be left on your doorstep in insulated Amazon Fresh Totes. Ice packs are included as needed for refrigerated or frozen items. You will have to hold on to the totes until your next delivery when you can simply leave them outside for the driver to pick up.

I've never done Amazon Fresh so I can only tell you, based on my own perusal, reading reviews, and doing some price comparison of my own:

1) You can find all your groceries with a robust selection.
2) Depending on where you usually shop, your total bill will probably be about the same.
3) You will be supporting local businesses.

The Amazon Dash can be used to put items in your Amazon Fresh cart. You just say it into the microphone or scan the barcode. If the item is not available on Fresh it will be added to your regular Amazon cart.

My Prime Pantry Choices

Here are many of the items I order regularly, separated into categories.

Herbs and Spices

Obviously, you can only purchase dried herbs through Prime Pantry and I only order them when I know my box will come before my next grocery shopping and I need a certain one. Amazon is now offering the 365 brand familiar to Wholefoods shoppers, which includes a line of herbs and spices. Yes, despite what you may have heard, dried herbs can and should be used in 'real' cooking.

So far, all the 365 dried herbs I've ordered have been top-notch. I always keep dried thyme on hand. It's a part of poultry seasoning and classic Herbes de Provence.

I'm going to take a wild guess: You do not use enough dill, fresh or dried, in your cooking. It may surprise you to know that I go through more dried dill than any other herb or spice in my kitchen. It is, in my opinion, the most underutilized herb in American cooking. No, dried dill, often marketed as dill weed, does not have all the flavor of fresh dill, but it actually does hold up very well and once you realize what it can do for you, you may become a dill-head like myself. It is not just for dill pickles. Next time you make a ham and cheese sandwich with mustard, sprinkle some dill weed onto the mustard.

Dill is my secret weapon in beef stroganoff. It goes in my potato salad, chicken salad, and pasta salad. It is perfect for baked or broiled fish. And, I use it dill often on simple roasted potatoes with olive oil, black pepper, and some vinegar. Oh, and chicken soup? Dill. I've also purchased coridander and cumin. I am, as well, obsessed with paprika of all kinds. While I sometimes buy specialty paprikas like this Chiquilin Smoked Paprika from Spain, I am also happy with McCormick Smoked Paprika, Hot Hungarian Paprika, etc.

Snacks, Nuts, Etc.

We go through a lot of pistachios. I can get Wonderful pistachios at the grocery store or through my grocery delivery service, but I usually end up ordering a couple extra bags in my Prime Pantry order. These are great pistachios. These California pistachios aren't as good as the one I had while I was in Turkey, but they are pretty close.

Told you I was no gourmet. I love these things. They are like Slim Jims but a bit milder with less heartburn. You wouldn't really know they are made of turkey. Judging by the reviews, I'm not the only one who can't get enough of these things. My little cat Petey, who isn't really that much into people-food, goes crazy over these as well. No, sausage type foods are not good for cats because of some of the ingredients, including onions and other alliums, but little bits are not big deal. These turkey snacks DO need to be refrigerated after opening, otherwise, they will go moldy quite quickly. In the fridge, they are fine and dandy.

As crunchy snacks go, pea crisps are about as healthy as they come. These are lightly salted, so low in sodium and are actually a good source of protein and fiber. One serving (1 0z/~25 crisps) has five grams of protein and five grams of fiber. As well, they are a decent source of calcium, iron, and potassium, especially since you will probably eat more than one ounce. They are made of organic green pea meal, which is simply dried green peas ground up into a meal or flour, organic brown rice flour, safflower, safflower, and/or canola oil, and sea salt. Nothing here which does not need to be here. Dried pea snacks, in general, are a tasty and satisfying way to get your crunch quota and pea protein, in general, is a good source of protein. You may also want to try our favorite, Hapi Wasabi Peas and Spicy Sriracha Peas. The Srirachi are available through Prime Pantry, but sadly, not the wasabi, which is my favorite (probably not real wasabi but still really good).

Some other snacks I've enjoyed are the Wickedly Prime Cherry Nut Crunch Bars and other flavors. I will definitely be trying more products from the Amazon Wickedly Prime line.

Tea and Coffee

I am going lump herbal teas into the "tea" category even though they may not necessarily contain any tea leaves. My wife hates tea of any kind but my son go through iced tea by the gallon, and we enjoy many different type of herbal teas. I'll only talk specifically about a couple of the products I purchase regularly.

As for coffee, there is a fine selection available through Prime Pantry.

This herbal tea is my favorite. It's what I drink when I want hot tea. I just love the flavor of it. You can think of it as an herbal spiced chai but it has a particular robustness and almost mocha-like undertone due to roasted chicory and carob. Chicory has long been used as a coffee substitute, or as an addition to coffee, while carob, from which we get locust bean gum (carob gum) is widely known as a chocolate substitute, even though it has a value all its own. This combine with vanilla, cardamom, cinnamon, black pepper, cloves, and nutmeg give a unique flavor that I just love. I could do without the black pepper as I do not think the slight hint of heat is necessary, but I'm not really complaining. It's just as likely I'd miss the pungency that the black pepper brings to the brew. Just writing this paragraph about it caused crave it so I had to make a cup to drink while I work.

This herbal tea is meant to help you relax and fall asleep. If you have tried Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime tea, then you may find this product to be more effective simply because, frankly, it contains more effective ingredients including passionflower, chamomile, hops, and catnip.

Catnip, you say?

Yes, catnip! Catnip is most definitely not just for cats. This member of the mint family is one of the safest herbs around, suitable even for very young children. But, although it is stimulating for your cat, it is relaxing to humans. It is especially good for any kind of gastrointestinal upset, especially cramping and bloating. It helps relax the GI tract while exerting a gentle anti-anxiety effect. Like many herbs, it's no miracle cure-all, it works for certain things. It works so well, and is so safe, in fact, that, when my son was a baby, I brewed a catnip and fennel tea for his colic, to give to him with a dropper. This was such an effective treatment that he would calm down as soon as he saw the dropper. Traditional Medicinals is one of the few herbal tea companies that has caught on to this relaxing herb for humans. And yes, you buy catnip leaf in bulk for making teas, like this Wild Foods Dried Catnip Leaf or, for convenience, in tea bags such as Celebration Herbals Catnip Tea. Do not use pet store catnip for making tea. Instead, buy catnip suitable for human use and use it for yourself and your cat. Be cautious with catnip during pregnancy, as it may have a uterine stimulating effect.

They also have a Traditional Medicinals Nighty Night Valerian Tea. Valerian is a popular herb for treating anxiety but unless you enjoy the smell of stinky feet from a tea, I'd avoid it. As well, valerian is not very effective when used on an as-needed basis. It needs to be taken every day for a period of time before you will begin to have any benefit. It is, therefore, more convenient in a capsule form. Also be aware that some people will find that valerian has the opposite effect intended, and will keep them up as if they consumed too much caffeine before bed. I also purchase:

More coming…

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