As a follow up to this morning and for those who specifically asked, I thought a post on Pantry Essentials and Freezer Storage was necessary. The store cupboard or pantry is the most important part of my kitchen. I am in an out of that thing all day. Having a fully stocked pantry makes recipe testing a whole lot easier. It also makes recipe creation of any type easier and makes for more exciting dishes all round.
During busy or difficult times, having a fully stocked pantry becomes essential and with the recent Covid – 19 outbreak and the potential of many of us ending up indoors, I thought this post would be useful.
Onions (All types) – All onions keep for a while but spring onions can be trimmed, added to a jar and kept in the fridge to make them last longer.
The same applies to all herbs including Coriander, Thyme, Rosemary, Parsley etc.
Tinned Tomatoes and Tomato Puree – Any leftover tomato puree can be refrigerated and frozen.
Garlic – Lasts a while but jarred Garlic also works as does frozen.
Ginger – Jarred ginger and frozen ginger is a great option.
Green Chillies – Can be brought frozen and jarred.
Powdered Spices and Seasonings plus Dried Herbs
Dried Milk Powder, Dairy Creamer
Condiments – Pesto, Chutneys, Sauces can be frozen in small batches.
Stock and Gravy Granules – All stock can be frozen or stock cubes can be used as an alternative.
Nuts and seeds – Cashews, Almonds, Pine Nuts, Pecans, Walnuts, Peanuts, Sunflower Seeds, Pumpkin Seeds, Sesame Seeds, Black Seed.
Oils and Vinegars – Stock up on what you can and keep away from light and heat. Therefore next to the cooker is not a good idea.Having a bag of rice in the cupboard means you will never run out of meals to make.
Squash – All varieties of squash have a long shelf life.
Nut Butters and Tahini – For PB on toast, for energy balls, for Satay sauces, for dressings.
Roasted red peppers and other jarred veg – Keeps well in the fridge.
Olives and Pickles – Also keep well in the fridge.
Assorted Jams/Preserves – Last a long time.
Lemon and Lime Juice – I really dislike bottled lemon/lime juice but during times like this, they become so useful.
Dried or Canned Beans/Lentils/Pulses – Most dried beans/lentils require pre soaking with some needing overnight soaks. Pressure cooking them is a quicker way to cook them. Add a little bicarbonate of soda to dried beans to get a softer texture. These freeze really well too.
Grains – Rice, Quinoa, Millet, Freekeh, Bulgar etc. Keep bags airtight and away from moisture. Some of these grains are meals in themselves.and Noodles
Canned Milks – Coconut milk, Evaporated and Condensed Milk are good to have on hand.
Flour – Having as much flour and a good variety is a good idea. It tends to keep well and goes a long way and is useful to make all types of meals – Breads, Chappatis, Tacos, Cakes, Pakoras, Pancakes, Scones, Pasta etc. Great to use as a lining paste and to thicken sauces.
Sugar – All varieties keep well.
Dehydrated mashed potato
Poha – Flattened Rice that just needs boiling water.
Sauces and Pastes – Chilli Sauces, Mayo, Fish Sauce, Soy Sauce etc keep well.
Seafood – Tuna, Canned Sardines are great to have in stock as is frozen fish – Salmon, Prawns, Tilalpia, Sea Bass, Cod etc.
Frozen – fruits, herbs, vegetables, breads are a good idea. Starchy veg doesn’t store well. Frozen vegetables can sometimes have more nutrients in them than fresh.
Meat of all varieties
Pastry of all varieties
Potatoes – Whether they are baking potatoes, sweet potatoes or new potatoes, these root vegetables keep well when stored in a cool, dark place. Eat them with their skins on to benefit from some extra fibre.
Tinned Fruit – Keeps for a long time and can be added to desserts or breakfasts.
Dried Fruit – Raisins, Apricots, Sultanas, Figs and Dates are great for adding volume and sweetness to breakfasts/desserts.
Bread – It’s always useful to have a sliced loaf of bread in the freezer.
Pasta and Noodles – All varieties of pasta keep well and who doesn’t like pasta.
Dried Yeast – Dried yeast can turn a simple flour, water and salt mix into a freshly baked loaf of bread.
Honey, Molasses, Syrups – Add instant flavour.
Chocolate – Dark, Milk and White.
Assorted Crackers and Snacks
Freezing fresh produce
If you have time and if you have managed to get fresh produce, you can:
Freeze all manner of chopped onions. I am doing that later tonight.
Freeze crushed garlic, ginger and green chilli in ice cube trays with a little water or oil if you prefer.
Freeze cauliflower, celery, leeks, carrots for bases to soups/stews/casseroles/pasta.
Freeze chopped green leafy veg.
Make butters by mixing herbs with butter and rolling into logs in cling film to freeze. These can then be used from the freezer as normal. You can also add spices, garlic and chilli to butter.
Eggs and milk can be frozen but I wouldn’t recommend this.
Recipe Ideas that are quick and easy
Lentils – The easiest lentils to use are red because they cook very quickly. This recipe for Masoor Dal Tadka works well. It can also all be bunged in a pressure cooker for 25 minutes.
OR wash lentils (mixed 1 cup lentils – split yellow pigeon peas, urad daal and red lentils), till water runs clear) and soak for 30 minutes (they will cook quicker of you do this step btw so try not to skip). Put into a pot with 4 cups water, 1 tsp Salt, 1/2 tsp Turmeric and 1/8 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda (not absolutely necessary). Bring to boil then simmer on low for 50 minutes. Add a cup water to thin it down. Make tadka (flavoured oil/ghee) – Heat 1 tbsp oil/ghee, add 1 tsp cumin seeds, sliced garlic, crushed ginger, dry or fresh red chillies. Saute on low heat very quickly and pour over the Daal. You can then squeeze over some lemon juice before serving.
Cakes – Use 225 g each of butter, sugar and self raising flour, 4 eggs and a splash of milk. Cream the butter and sugar together first. Add eggs one by one. You can add any other flavourings at this stage too (vanilla, lemon/lime zest and a little juice, choc chips, coconut, spices – whatever you like. Sieve in the flour. Spread over 2 2ocm round or square tins. Bake at 180 C/GM 4 for 25 – 30 minutes. Allow to cool 10 minutes before removing from tin. When the cakes have cooled, top with your favourite topping or sandwich together with your favourite filling. They are absolutely lovely without anything at all too.
Chickpeas – Heat the oil in a pan on a medium heat, add the cumin seeds and fry for 1 minute, add crushed garlic, coriander powder, turmeric, salt and garam masala. Add a little tomato puree, a splash of water and chickpeas. Cook for 5 – 10 minutes over medium heat.
Chips – Preheat oven to the highest it will go. Slices potatoes into chips. Drizzle with oil, salt. Do not overcrowd the pan and bake 20 minutes. Turn over and bake a further 20 min. Add Salt and Vinegar.
Naan – Try this recipe here.
Roti – Try this recipe here.
Here are some links to meal prep recipes:
Please also see the post from earlier today re recipes that use pantry and freezer ingredients and self care during difficult periods.
Feel free to message me for any other suggestions. More then happy to help!