Holy crap it’s been a crazy few weeks of quarantines, school closings, canceled events, and travel restrictions. And, I think more is coming.
In addition to discussions about social distancing, washing your darn hands, and all the other disinfecting protocols, this seems like a good time to talk about stocking up your pantry and home with good eats that can last a while. As the Girl Scouts say, be prepared.
Let me be clear though about what I mean when I say stock up. Let’s not hoard all the things. Let’s not panic. You can still prepare without hysteria. I’m much more in favor of responsibly, calmly stocking up on items while also leaving enough for other people to do as well.
The CDC says to have at least a 2-week supply of food staples. For inspiration on ways to sustain yourself on more than ramen noodles and powdered mac and cheese, here’s my list of healthy suggestions along with a few recipe ideas, to get you and your loved ones through.
- Beans, rice, pasta, and other grains, like oatmeal. All these will keep for months, so you don’t have to worry about food waste even if you buy more than normal. These are staples in my pantry not just in emergency prep. (Quick tip for how to work with dried beans: http://bit.ly/NoSoakBeans.) If you’re stuck at home you’ll have time to cook dried beans, but if that’s just not you, stock up on canned. I have a combo of both in my pantry.
- Nuts and nut butter.
- Snacks like dried fruit, freeze-dried fruit, or popcorn kernels.
- Canned/boxed broths. Good for soup but also to flavor other dishes. Make rice or grains in broth instead of water and you’ve got built-in flavor.
- Jarred applesauce (pick one without added sugar). It’s a good snack and you can use it to make things like muffins.
- Flour for all that baking you’ll have time to do.
- Canned/Jarred vegetables. As a good Italian girl, I always have sundried tomatoes, canned diced and whole tomatoes, and canned artichokes on hand. To my list of standards, I’ve also added beets, pureed pumpkin, and sauerkraut.
- Canned fish and meat. It’s healthy and will last a long time. Make sandwiches, put it on salads, etc.
- Recipe Idea: http://bit.ly/SpicyTunaCakes
- Oils, salt, pepper, and all your favorite dried herbs and spices.
- Coffee and tea … and if you’re like us, some booze too.
Don’t overstuff your freezer because inevitably whatever sits in there too long will get freezer burn and you’ll wind up throwing it out. Also, a full freezer retains cold better than an empty one, but don’t jam-pack it because the air still needs to be able to circulate to keep it running efficiently.
- Meat and poultry (ideally vacuum-sealed), like chicken, beef, and pork.
- Frozen fruit and veggies.
- Fresh citrus and apples when refrigerated have a decent shelf life, up to 3 weeks.
- Carrots, potatoes, winter squash, garlic, and onions are long-lasting too. Whole winter squash like acorn squash can last up to 4 weeks and butternut squash can last up to 6 months if properly stored. Unpeeled carrots can last up to 2 weeks in the fridge. And, potatoes at room temp will last about that long as well. Garlic and onion if stored in a slightly cool, dry, dark place can last for months.
Don’t Forget About Your Pets
Pet food and treats. Don’t forget about Fido and Mittens! If you can’t leave home or if stores are closed, or who knows what, don’t forget to stock up for your fur kids.
What else is on your “healthy stock up” list?