(NEW YORK) — As people hunker down at home and practice safe social distancing amid the novel coronavirus public health emergency, it’s time to take stock of what’s in your pantry.
When it comes to those non-perishable products, canned goods and other long-lasting, shelf-stable food items, Bon Appetit’s food editor-at-large and cookbook author Carla Lalli Music shared some sound advice for ingredients we should always have on hand.
Best advice for what to buy
“Don’t go out right now and spend hundreds of dollars on food that you don’t already enjoy, use or could put aside for a future emergency,” Music explained. “Look at what you already keep in the house and replenish those things first.”
Start with good cooking fats
The Back to Back Chef host said cooking fats are an essential pantry item.
“You can’t really make anything without some oil [or] some butter — butter stores great in the freezer,” she explained.
There an array of good cooking oils to choose from that are all suited for different cooking scenarios.
Olive oil is great for marinades or finishing a dish; neutral oils like vegetable or canola oil work well for cooking and baking. Walnut oil is great for salad dressings; avocado oil and coconut oil have a high smoke point, which makes them a good choice for high heat pan cooking and roasting.
Grains, beans and other dry ingredients
“Everybody is talking about rice. Get your grains — your farro, your quinoa — and cook those in big batches, then keep them in the freezer,” she recommended.
Back to basics
Music said you can’t go wrong with staples like dried pasta and canned tomatoes.
Plus, she suggested, “dried fruit is great for snacking.”
Long-lasting refrigerated foods
You don’t have to gussy up a charcuterie board, but some of the key ingredients are a great way to get some protein.
“Hard cheeses, salami, jerky, those things are going to hold up a lot better than fresh meat or protein,” Music said.
Don’t forget the condiments
Think about things in jars that are shelf-stable and last a while in the fridge once you open them.
Music said if you’re going to mix up a batch of tuna salad, “you want to make sure it tastes great,” which means you “need to have condiments.”
Mayonnaise, mustard, soy sauce, jarred salsa, tahini and hot sauce can all come in handy in an array of dishes.
Don’t ignore long-lasting produce like onions, potatoes and garlic.
“Just keep it in a cool, dark place so they don’t sprout and that is going to last a really long time,” Music said.
Remember to go for fresh produce
Music suggested stocking up on “a lot of vegetables and fruits that will last a long time.”
FYI no shortage. Shop local. Shop small. pic.twitter.com/WAkoaKDr2G
— carla lalli music (@lallimusic) March 14, 2020
Broccoli, cabbage, leafy greens are great options with a long shelf life, Music said, as are apples and citrus.
“You can keep that in the fridge for weeks and weeks and weeks,” she said. Plus, those ingredients “pack a lot of nutrition.”
Save room for sweets
“Make sure you’ve got your baking staples,” Music advised.
Key items that should be stocked in the cupboard if you want to whip up a dessert include baking soda, baking powder, flower, sugar and salt.
“I like to have chocolate that you could snack on but also chop up and make some chocolate chip cookies with the kids,” Music added.
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