So you bought all your food and supplies to prepare for the quarantine, but now, how do you smartly manage it all? Eat what will expire; preparing and freezing sauces, broths, etc. for later days and weeks to come; having flour and dry active yeast on hand, as it’s cost-friendly, to make bread, pasta, and pastry from scratch; and lastly, rely on shelf-stable items as your backup plan.
I’ll continue to update items and provide examples of how to preserve and mindfully consume each to ensure that you and your family will be nourished for the time to come. On the plus side, there is a lot of time that can be spent in the kitchen if you want there to be. If you’re like me, you thrive off this time, and it’s always spent with the music blasting, a little wine, and a whole lot of fun.
- Yogurt, eggs, cheeses, and milk hold longer than you would like to think. I’m often going off of taste, and smell, and thus I’m not so worried about the date marked on their sides. I savor these items and keep them as long as possible.
- A cheese like mozzarella can be frozen and then it’s easier to shred anyways. A sin, I know, it’s not typical of me, but now is not the time for morals.
- Beeswax over cheese
- Eggs (unbleached) hold fine (do they float? maybe throw those out). I prefer to purchase unrefrigerated eggs when they should hold for longer.
- Clean, peel, prepare and freeze fruit. Once ready to use, thaw and put into a small pie, make into jam, etc. at a later point.
- Peel bananas and place in a freezer bag
- Kale and spinach
- Freeze plain; turn into pesto, soup, preserve in oil, etc.
- Turn lettuce into a soup (Tamar Adlar has awesome solutions for lettuce soup; lettuce spread over bread).
- Kale and spinach
- Herbs: Preserve in oil and place in the freezer, or dry them out if you are inclined at this time
- Long-life vegetables:
- Includes carrots, potatoes, onions, turnips, parsnips, eggplant, horseradish root, celeriac
- Places potatoes and onions in a cool, dark place
- Divide raw meat into portions per meal (i.e. 2 persons, 2 pieces of chicken per bag). Label & freeze.
- Roast and chop, prepare into a sauce; garnishes and seasoning are not essential at this time. Freeze.
- Confit: Cover tomatoes in oil with a head of garlic cut horizontally, and a bit of salt: Roast until bubbling. Serve smeared over garlic toast, with eggs, or how you like.
- Keep a scrap bowl and save all skins of garlic and onions, cores, leaves, stems, lemon peels, etc. This will create your vegetable broth for later in time.
- Keep an ‘odds and ends” bowl to place the 1/4 onion you didn’t cook, the 1/2 pepper that was not needed, the rest of your sliced scallions. For your next meal, use these bits first, slice as a garnish, etc.
- First consume mushrooms, zucchini, peppers, cucumbers, radishes, etc. first – they will not freeze well.
- Know your needs – plan to eat regular portions of meat fewer times per week, or smaller portions of meat more frequently during the week.
- No big projects – no baking or large cooking projects.
- It is more likely that projects (i.e. making large batch cookies, cakes, complicated meals, or even large meal-prep meals) will create waste. This is my opinion, particularly about meal prepping. I rather understand my needs for that day and act accordingly, but this is not the case for everyone – do what makes you comfortable.
- We only make what we will eat for that meal. No more, no less.
- The ONLY exception to this is bone broth – this is a project, but yields weeks worth of results.
- Be mindful:
- Do I need to use that much oil? That much milk?
- How many cups of polenta (or x) will actually fill me?
- How can I use these scraps tomorrow? Or preserve them?
This will continue to be updated throughout the duration of this quarantine period in order to give provide advice and ‘rules’ to live by for approaching your inventory. This hopefully will keep you out of grocery stores and crowds after making your big purchase and will have you feeling confident about stretching your stock as long as possible.