What should you be buying now? Avoid the mistakes others have made and invest in basic ingredients that will enable you to create nutritious meals but that also cater towards great taste and flexibility.
It was a shame to see in the news all the wasted fresh foods that have now made their way to the dump after the nation went mad stockpiling everything in sight. A little thought beforehand, could have avoided this. The foods discussed here will last, so even if this all blows over quicker than we thought, you will just be left with a well stocked kitchen.
For the freezer
Bags of frozen fruit and vegetables are a must. Just as nutritious as their fresh counterparts with zero waste. Use your fruit to top your porridge, bake into muffins or add to smoothies. Keep your brown bananas, these are perfect for banana bread or chop into four and freeze ready to be put straight into a smoothie for that creamy texture or whizz up into banana ice-cream. Frozen vegetables make a quick and simple side dish or add into curries, stews and soups. Something I hadn’t thought of came from food writer Harry Eastwood who recommends freezing lemon slices for gin. An absolute must if you ask me!
Jars and sauces
These have really come into their own in recent weeks. If you can get your hands on preserved or fermented vegetables like sauerkraut, kimchi, beetroot, cabbage and capers then make sure you get some. These pack a flavour punch and can dress up any dish. plus, they last forever in the fridge. In the case of fermented foods, these are good for you due to the presence of beneficial bacteria.
Jars of curry paste (always lurking in the back of the fridge) can simply be added to a tin of coconut milk (again long lasting) with some of your frozen vegetables to make a quick and tasty curry.
Having a good supply of spices and dried herbs can jazz up the dullest of dishes so make sure you get a good variety but basics include smoked paprika, ground cumin, coriander, chilli powder and turmeric.
Oil. Always ensure you have a decent rapeseed oil on standby. This can be used on salads and also doubles well for cooking at high temperatures.
Nut butter, any type, should go without saying. It tastes nice and can be used in sauces for dinner, sweet treats or simply spread on your toast.
It goes without saying that tins of beans, lentils and pulses are essential and can form the backbone of many dishes. They are a great source of fibre and b vitamins. Most importantly, they are versatile so can be used in anything from a salad to a stew. Lentils can be used in place of mince or go half and half to make your meat go further.
Tins of fish – tuna, sardines, anchovies can be used for many dishes and add a lot of flavour. Sardines whizzed up in a food processor with some bread, makes a particularly tasty topping for pasta.
Many people plumped for pasta and rice, make sure you have the whole wheat variety. Personally, I find that the mixed bags of grains (you might see them labelled as super-grains) are a great option as they provide the variety and fibre that our body needs and loves. Even if you can only get your hands on the microwave pouches these are fine for a quick and easy lunch or dinner.
Nuts are packed full of vitamins and minerals. Plus, there were loads of these left on the shelves when stockpiling was at its worst. Add to your breakfast, make into healthy snacks, add to tasty cakes and bakes or eat them just as they are.
Dried fruits are also great for the same reasons, combine the two together for a healthier snack which is kinder to your teeth.
Popcorn kernels for homemade popcorn are a prerequisite for all those Netflix binges or films on Disney Plus for the foreseeable.
Potatoes, butternut squash, garlic and onions keep fresh for a really long time if kept in a cool and dark environment. Cooked beetroot also keeps well in the fridge for a long time, as do hard cheeses and eggs if you can get them fresh enough.
Bread, get a loaf for the freezer. For some it can be worth sectioning into slices to make this last even longer.
I think that just about covers it. What have I missed? What do you always have a stash of in the freezer that you couldn’t live without?
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– How to cook with limited food supplies
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– Nutrition advice based on your specific circumstances
– Should you be taking supplements
– What to feed your kids who are constantly saying “I’m hungry!”
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