How To Cook Using Just Your Pantry
The global pandemic has forced many changes in our lives, and now it urges us to reconsider our consumption habits. Even the most optimistic prognoses postulate that we need to brace ourselves to live under mobility restrictions for up to a year.
The need to stay in for as long as possible gave rise to a comeback trend of cooking from a pantry across the world. Stocking up is a useful habit that can impact your life in many positive ways. First of all, stocking your pantry on a set budget will help your financial planning. Then, stocking up allows you to reconsider your dietary preferences and might give you a chance to adopt a healthier eating pattern and become a better cook.
Thus, stocking your pantry is a good habit to take up not only in terms of limiting unnecessary contacts with people at stores and markets. Developing a smart plan for stockpiling non-perishable goods is also a way of overcoming overconsumption. In times of global economic crisis, such self-awareness can help alleviate some of the pressure on the food market and save precious resources. As a bonus, this habit is also extremely planet-friendly!
I of two minds on mention the Virus directly. Only because it could get the article flagged. It might be better to say global pandemic. Let’s integrate the article in the first sentence of the article. It helps with SEQ.
Start With The Revision Of Your Supplies
Stockpiling is an art that needs some mastering. As the recent actions of toilet-paper lovers showed, hoarding and panic buying can be destructive and very unwise. To avoid these caveats, consider taking are a couple of steps before going to a store for shopping.
If you’ve been living at your current place for at least a month, chances are you already have something stockpiled or simply forgotten. Therefore, it is time to revise your existing food stash. Modern pantry is rarely a separate room in the basement where all products are kept in the dark. Our pantry is diffused: some of it is in the fridge, some of it on the shelves where you store your cereals or canned food, seasoning, or even in a bar. Make a list of the leftover produce and every food item you store at home. Not only will it help you to plan your pantry shopping but also, it’s a chance to discard expired items and clean up. You can finally go through every shelf and dump the “elder” carrot which lives in your fridge since the Jurassic period with clear consciousness. You should also consider cooking some dishes from leftovers or unused products.
There are a lot of people who think that stocking up isn’t for them since they simply don’t have enough room on their shelves. However, the real problem is in the poor management of free space since its already occupied by the things you never use.
Evaluate What You Might Need
One of the essentials of proper pantry shopping is stockpiling what you eat and eating what you’ve stockpiled. Therefore, after you have assembled a list of products you already have, it is time to figure out the missing foods you will actually eat and cook.
Here’s the list of essentials that will come in handy no matter what you cook:
Oils, vinegar, and spices:
– Extra virgin olive oil, sesame oil, flaxseed oils, and other natural or vegetable oils.
– Vinegar, any variety of your preference will do (apple, wine, rice, pomegranate vinegar)
– Spices. Since it’s a personal multitool of every chief, this choice is up to you. Start from everything you use daily for cooking and baking, like salt and ground pepper to exotic seasonings for particular cuisines you like.
Grains, Pasta, and Noodles:
– Pasta and noodles come in many different shapes and forms and it is a great non-perishable to have stockpiled for any occasion. Long, short or round pasta or noodles is what you are looking for.
– When it comes to grains, rice will be always a wise choice since it’s a universal ingredient for many dishes. Besides rice don’t forget about bulgur, faro, chickpea, lentils, and buckwheat. They are nutritious and should be a part of any healthy diet.
Canned and jarred food:
The first thing that comes to mind when we think about stocking up for a long time is canned and jarred goods. Indeed, these foods are very convenient and versatile in addition to their long shelf life.
– Stock on all sorts of beans, canned tomatoes, and tomato sauces, canned fish, meat, soups, and vegetable stocks.
– Also, don’t forget olives and pickles – these are products are less often used in everyday cooking. It can be a great addition to the dishes cooked from the pantry.
Sweets and baking:
You might not even be a frequent baker but the following ingredients will come in handy for other dishes, too.
– Flour, yeast mix, powdered gelatin or agar-agar, vanilla powder, baking soda, baking powder, and all kinds of cake and pancake mixes. If you are fond of bread, cooking from the pantry with baking supplies is yet another great chance to start making bread from scratch.
– When it comes to sweets, honey, peanut butter, syrups, and sugar should be your first choice. Give preference to nuts, dried fruits, and jams instead of processed candy – this way you’ll have a lesser chance of binge-eating high-calorie foods.
– Potatoes, carrots, cabbage, onions, garlic, celery roots, squash, lemons, apples preserve well.
– However, the majority of other fresh vegetables, fruit, and greens will keep fresh for two weeks tops. Consider freezing chopped up fresh produce to make it keep longer.
Meat, seafood, and dairy:
– Stock of frozen poultry and meat pieces, fish fillets, shrimp. You can preserve liquid eggs, too. Just pour them into an individual cupcake or larger ice trays, and transfer them into a ziplock or a reusable silicone bag after they freeze.
– Milk and yogurts are highly perishable unless they are pasteurized. In this case, dairy products can stay fresh for months before you open them. Hard cheeses are also a good choice due to their long shelf life compared to soft and cottage cheeses.
Cooking From A Pantry
In non-emergency setting, it would be wise and budget-friendly to stock your pantry with enough products for two weeks. As a novice “stasher” such an approach will allow you to try yourself out. You will get a chance to evaluate how much of the products you bought you really need and adjust your next shopping list accordingly. Most diets don’t require much pantry versatility. But starting to cook from a pantry can offer a wonderful opportunity to adopt a couple of recipes that can be your new staple dishes.
When shopping, consider buying a generous portion of ingredients that will match a one-pot or a sheet-pan dish perfectly. Try out new recipes of chicken, pork, or fish roast with potatoes and other root vegetables or black bean/meatball chili. This lockdown can be trying for many, especially for the people who aren’t used to self-isolation and passive in-doors lifestyle. Comfort food can be a perfect solace for the gloomiest days! Learn to brighten your days with delicious simple dishes and you will be rewarded with a great mood-booster.
In addition, keep in mind that cooking always brings in a little chaos that might affect your versatile pantry. Therefore, a good rule of thumb for keeping your stocks in order is always using clean containers, labeling the foods with stickers, and marking leftovers of the products and ingredients. You can also keep a ledger of the foods you’ve used up on paper, an erasable blackboard or via apps such as Fresh Box, or Pantry Check.
A well-organized and wisely stocked pantry will reward you with a fresh look at your cooking and doing groceries. Harsh times bring forth all kinds of challenges, however, with the right attitude you can turn these hardships around. Adopt a habit of stocking and cooking from the pantry and embrace this opportunity to manage your budget wisely and become a more conscious consumer who cares about the ecology of their food choices.