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Stock Your Pantry and Freezer amidst COVID-19 National Emergency

Posted on March 18, 2020 at 7:00 AM by Madhu Gadia

March 17, 2020

Stock Your Pantry and Freezer amidst COVID-19 National Emergency      

The country, the world is trying to contain the Corona Virus. The news and the restrictions change by the hour, by the minute. The only thing, I know is that I have to do my part, in this effort.  

In my world, which is me and my family, it all started last Monday, the 9th. I was going to travel to New York and Boston to see my kids and my daughter called and alerted me. She was so worried about me travelling. I was disappointed, but of course, I cancelled my trip. 

Share Your Stories

I’m sure you have similar stories, feel free to share them as comments on this blog, or on my Facbook page. This quarantine is isolating and reaching out to people with similar interests can be a positive social outlet and a connection. 

Try to Stay Calm

It’s hard not to get sucked into the panic of COVID-19, especially since we don’t know how long it will last. Before you go out and buy the grocery store, take an inventory of your pantry. Most of us have more food/dry goods than we know. I know, I just needed replenish a few items in my pantry and I’m good for a few months.

Check Your Recipes   

If you like to make new dishes, which I’m sure you do, since you’re signed up for this blog, select a few recipes that you want to try in the next few days. Before you go shopping, make a list of items you need. Shopping takes time and it’s so much easier to try a dish when you have everything you need.

Make the best of these times and learn to cook new dishes you always wanted to try. And by the way, share extra with your neighbor, especially if they maybe under the weather (the common flu is also going around). 


Stocking Food for this Emergency

We are being reassured that the grocery stores will remain open in this quarantine and I, want to believe that, as the world food supply is intact. But, just in case, we can’t get to the grocery store for 2 weeks or so, and the food isn’t available online, here are the items you should stock, just enough for your family. Try not to overstock.

1.    Dry Goods: Just buy one more box or a little more than you need.   

a.    Lasts a long time: rice, pasta, sugar, dry beans, dals (Indian beans), whole grains like quinoa, cracked wheat, farro, or buckwheat. 
b.    Have an expiration date: Dry Cereals, Oatmeal, All-Purpose Flour, and Whole-Wheat flour (atta), or cornmeal. 
c.    Nuts: almonds (raw, roasted, slivered, and sliced), peanuts, cashews, pistachios and pine nuts (I keep opened nuts in the refrigerator, as they last longer). 
d.    Fats and Oils: Canola oil, olive oil, and ghee. 
e.    Snacks: Chips etc. Buy only what you will eat, too many snacks can be an unnecessary temptation. 

2.    Canned/Bottled Goods: There items are a staple in my pantry.  

a.    Canned beans: chickpeas/garbanzo beans, kidney beans, black-eyed peas, pinto beans, refried beans, and black beans. 
b.    Canned tomato products: tomato sauce, tomato puree, tomato paste, and diced tomatoes. 
c.    Canned tuna, salmon, and sardines.
d.    Broth/Stock: Vegetable Stock, or any other stock you like. I just use vegetable stock for all my soup recipes. This is my new pantry item as I’ve obsessed with soups lately.
e.    Pasta Sauce: Buy the one you like, keep 2-3 different types of pasta sauce; I primarily buy marinara sauce and spice them up. 
f.    Nut Butters: peanut butter, almond butter

3.    Spices and Herbs:

Check your pantry, before you stock up on more. I always have enough for a year supply. Spices are great antioxidants and add tons of flavor to your meals. 

4.    Freezer Items

a.    Frozen Vegetables, they are convenient, healthy and taste great. I bought 2-3 extra bags, depending on the vegetables, of frozen peas, corn, mixed vegetables, green beans and spinach. 
b.    Frozen Meals: Since we’re house bound “Shelter in Place,” a few frozen meals can give you a break from cooking. 
c.    Meat, Fish and Poultry: Get a variety of products that your family eats. 
d.    Breads: I keep an extra loaf of wheat and white bread, and English Muffins in my freezer. Just don’t leave them in there forever. 
e.    Frozen Fruit: variety of berries, peaches

5.    Perishables: Make sure you’re buying enough fresh fruits and vegetables for the family, for the week.

a.    Dairy: Milk, Butter, Cheese, and Eggs
b.    Shelf stable vegetables: potatoes, onions, sweet potatoes, winter squashes
c.    Vegetables: along with your favorite fresh vegetables, add cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, and broccoli – as refrigerated, these last a long time.
d.    Flavorings: ginger, garlic, cilantro, parsley
e.    Fruits: buy your favorite fruits and add apples, oranges, grapefruits as these last longer than bananas and berries. 


These are just what is in my pantry, refrigerator and freezer. Buy some unique items, as you have more time to cook them or just eat them. 

Happy and Healthy Cooking!

Inspire us: Share your Indian cooking ventures, with photos (if possible), in comments here or on my Facebook Page


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