I have been trying to go to the grocery store as little as possible in light of COVID-19, which has entailed some new strategies in the kitchen and pantry that I thought might be useful to some of you.
First, I noticed that a significant amount of space in the freezer was taken up by an ice cube tray that sits under the ice cube maker. I took that out to make room for frozen veggies, fish, fruit, chicken, tempeh, butter, bread and tortillas, homemade soup and seitan, and a container of ice cream.
I ordered a few 25-pound bulk bags from my local co-op, one each of flour, oats, and brown rice. The flour, so I can make my own bread (got some yeast packets, too), oats for oatmeal, granola, oat milk and maybe some other baked goods, and the rice for dinner needs (and to make me feel healthy).
I had purchased a bag of flax meal, which has been super useful as an egg substitute for baking and french toast, so we don’t use up all our eggs at once. I also ordered a bag of whole milk powder, which has been great to stir into coffee, and also for making yogurt (alternating this with opening a container of whole milk). A jar of ghee has been useful as a cooking butter (and does not need to be refrigerated).
In preparation for staying at home, I stocked up on longer-storing vegetables like cabbages, carrots, onions, and potatoes, as well as canned goods. The cabbage I make into sauerkraut and kimchi, eat raw, and also sauté as a side dish. As soon as fruit is ripe and is not going to be eaten right away, I stick it in the refrigerator (think pears, bananas).
We have also been making use of the wild greens in our yard, picking violet leaves and flowers and dandelion leaves to eat. We planted a small garden of greens as well, which I am hoping will be coming up soon.
When I make oat milk, I use some of it to make chia pudding. Every seven days, I need to make cow milk yogurt again, so as to be able to continue to use the same yogurt culture. This involves a thermometer and a small crock pot, but is really quite easy. Last week I made corn bread, which was another easy way to feel like I was creating plenty out of not much (corn meal and flour).
I know that in a week or two, we may start to miss some of the fresh groceries we are used to (most notably, I think, bananas!). But it seems like a small price to pay for reducing risk of exposure to coronavirus.
Overall, it has felt good to be more conscious of grocery planning and to be making more foods from scratch. At this point, I think we will be fine not going grocery shopping for another three weeks.
Healthy wishes to all of you! What tricks are you finding for staying nourished and safe in the time of COVID-19?