What's in Your Pantry?
As a food writer and personal chef, I thought it might be helpful to offer some tips and tricks to stock your pantry, and reduce trips to the market while sheltering in place. Stocking essentials means different things to different people. Having basics in your dry cupboard, refrigerator, and freezer can reduce stressful cooking situations. We've been urged to stay at home -that means, stay at home. Reducing trips to the supermarket is one way to reduce our risk of exposure.
If your community has a farm shop or co-op, order in advance. If there’s a service in your community that offers home delivery, consider it. Or create a safe, social distancing co-op with people you know and trust and to take turns going to the supermarket. These are all options to reduce trips to the store and re-think ways to avoid crowded supermarkets.
When it comes to what to stock in the house, having a few essential items on hand can change the trajectory of your cooking endeavors and help you create delicious meals. It is important before you shop to make a list of the items you need. This is not the time to browse the aisles, and I love browsing.
The list of things I have on hand in the pantry is pretty basic. Consider organic whenever possible.
What’s in my Pantry?
Rice: Brown and Basmati rice.
Dried and canned beans: black beans, garbanzo beans, and red lentils
Whole Grain Pasta
Polenta, and couscous
Nuts, And Seeds: Quinoa, almonds, walnuts, and chia
Honey or maple syrup
Cans of protein like tuna, salmon, sardines, and chicken are great to have in a pinch.
What’s in my fridge?
The Basics: eggs, butter, mustard, mayo, ketchup, tamari, lemons, and hot sauce.
I love leafy greens, kale, chard, and spinach, I usually have them my fridge. Their shelf life is short if they look like they may start to wilt, sauté them in olive oil and salt, and they'll last a bit longer. I try not to waste food.
Produce I try to keep on hand:
I generally keep onions, garlic on hand whenever possible. They are essential, in my opinion, healthy and add delicious flavor to most recipes, and they have a long shelf life.
Broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, and root vegetables are heartier. They can be par-cooked and frozen to be used for a later date. Cabbage lasts a long time, and roasted cabbage with olive oil and salt is delightful.
Sweet potatoes and hard squashes like butternut, spaghetti, and acorn squash are useful items to have in the house. They have a long shelf life, keep well, and don't need refrigeration.
I recommend cooking vegetables for easier digestion, especially if you live in a cold climate.
What’s in my freezer?
Chicken stock, bone broth, gluten-free bread, meat, poultry, and fish.
Spices I can’t live without:
Salt, pepper, garlic powder, dried onion, turmeric, cumin. Cinnamon, ground ginger, and Montreal seasoning.
Other thoughts: During this time, you might consider this an opportunity to be mindful, and reduce your intake of processed foods and refined sugar. It's an excellent time to support your immune system.
Consider having your biggest meal in the middle to late portion of the day and eat a lighter fare in the evening.
And be gentle on the self whenever possible.
Be safe and be well.