Time to Revisit the Pantry and Freezer Stores

After nearly four months since quarantine began and grocery stores ran low on staples like pasta, beans, rice, and of course toilet paper, it’s time to reassess what’s in your pantry and your freezer before food becomes waste as items reach their expiry date. 

Frozen items purchased in March, for example, should be used soon.  Try making a large batch recipe that can be divided and shared with family or friends.  After months of eating only our own cooking, tasting a dish someone else prepared can be a welcomed treat.  Excess canned and dry goods can also be donated to local food banks that are running low.  Read more about the difference between best before dates and expiry dates in a previously published Oldish article here

In the early Spring months, baking sourdough bread and cooking hearty comfort food was all the rage.  But now as the weather warms and fresh produce is in good supply, it’s time to think about lighter fare that may also help adults trim any added weight that may have been acquired along with new culinary skills. 

If canning or jam making is in your plan this month, try looking for recipes like this Peach Freezer Jam that slashes the sugar content in regular preserves.  Blackberries, cherries, raspberries, and nectarines are also ripening this month.  Keep fresh berries mold-free by washing them in a diluted vinegar rinse; 1 cup vinegar to 3 cups water to kill mold and bacteria. Rinse them under cool water and dry as thoroughly as possible with a salad spinner lined with paper towel.  Store in the fridge in a paper towel-lined container left slightly open to allow any moisture to evaporate. 

Or try your hand at pickling. It’s not just for cucumbers. Refrigerator pickled veggies will keep in the fridge for up to 1 one month.  Traditional canned pickles can be stored at room temperature for up to a year.  And fermented foods like pickles are high in probiotics which are beneficial for a healthy gut which can boost immunity and help adults avoid weight gain.  They also contain vitamin A for good vision and strong bones.  Eat pickles in moderation however because they also contain quite a bit of salt.