Many of us took this year’s Working From Home stint to reflect on what we really want and need in our homes. Many started DIY projects. Others moved to a house with a garden. And everyone was suddenly really conscious about what they had in their pantries, cupboards and freezers. The mass-hoarding that happened at the start of the first lockdown was difficult to navigate, but thankfully there are a lot of ways to store emergency food supplies that would have prevented any worry. Here we’ll give you a list of nutritious foods that are easy to store for a long time.
Grains and Flours
Storing Grains is easy. Grains like bulgur, brown rice, spelt and barley keep well for months in an airtight container and are a great base for most meals.
They are also great additives to vegan or gluten-free diets as many grains do not contain gluten but do contain a whole host of other nutrients to enrich a diet with.
Flours, made from grains or things like almonds or soy, also keep really well in a pantry. In a clean, airtight container, they will last for several months. Flour is great to have in stock at all times; those times you crave some late-night pancakes? With flour in your house, you can whip some up in minutes!
We all need plenty of fruit in our diets. It contains many healthy vitamins and minerals and fibres. One of the notorious disadvantages of fruit is how quickly fruit goes off, and it is generally not seen as a food great for storage. How wrong we all were.
There are so many varieties of dried fruit nowadays, that you never again need to worry about not having fruit in your pantry. Why not stock up on some delicious dried banana chips or goji berries? They are great toppings for oatmeal, yoghurt, and desserts, contain tons of vitamins, and last for ages in your storage cupboard!
Another option is to can your fruits. It is a relatively easy process that requires a pot for boiling water, a jar (repurposed sauce jars are great), and an acidic component such as vinegar. Once the fruit is canned, it lasts months.
Herbs and Spices
Having a good spice rack is like having a good boiler; they are sure to improve your life for years to come. A broad selection of spices in your kitchen allows for experimental cooking, discovering new recipes, or just upgrading your current meals. As spices are dried plants, they will last for ages when stored right. Any airtight container will do just fine. And the added bonus is that herbs and spices can make even the plainest food extraordinary.
Oils and Vinegar
Oils such as olive oil and coconut oil are great to use for cooking and other health and beauty uses, and last for a year or longer when stored right. Generally, oil should be stored in a closed container, and kept in a cool, dry place. This is why they make a great pantry food to stock up on when you can.
Vinegar or apple cider vinegar is also great for storing for long periods of time. They also should be kept in a dark, dry place. The great thing about vinegars is that they can be used to prolong the life of other foods such as fruits (see the Fruit section) or vegetables, are great for cleaning and can be used for dressings and sauces.
Dried beans or canned beans are both great to add to your pantry. Canned or dried they have a long shelf life at room temperature, they are a great source of protein, contain a lot of other essential nutrients, and are very filling when put in a meal. When you have dried beans, just make sure to store them in a cool, dry place, as getting them wet will shorten their shelf-life. As an added benefit, dried beans are also incredibly cheap, and super versatile.
Seeds are a pantry staple. Seeds can be kept for months in a dry and dark place, preferably in an airtight container. They are great little boosts of nutrients and make great toppings for desserts, smoothie bowls, or oatmeal. Pumpkin seeds are also a great nibble on their own. If you are thinking of using all of that lovely flour you now keep in storage for some home-made bread-baking, why not use sesame seeds or poppy seeds to give your bread some extra texture and flavour?
Why Should You Start Storing Foods?
It is oftentimes not only time-consuming to go to the grocery store, but it can also get quite expensive. Oftentimes, buying in bulk works out much cheaper than buying little amounts every time. If you have a healthy pantry with a nice variety of products, you will always have a base for a meal on hand.
You could also start your meal-prepping journey at the same time as building a food-storage. Meal prepping often works out much cheaper per meal than cooking every evening and is much less time-consuming, leaving you with more time to enjoy the little things in life.
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