Who would have thought we would ever reach a point in our history where we would be fighting over toilet roll and tinned spaghetti? Watching the Prime Minister’s press conference felt like a visit to the Principal’s office – ‘stop it’ we’ve been instructed. This is un-Australian!
So, it’s time to put down the box of baked beans and pay attention. The best way to get bunker-down ready is with big batch cooking and that begins in the fresh produce aisle.
Tinned soups, stews and meals are often packed full of a list salt, sugar and preservatives and are usually just a single serve per can. Resist the urge to snatch up these sad versions of delicious homemade meals
Instead, fill up your trolley with fresh fruit and vegetables. Supply of fresh produce is still strong in supermarkets and greengrocers alike. Start with big bulk vegetables that are in season like potatoes, pumpkin, eggplant and zucchinis. Better yet, think about stocking up on fresh ingredients that will help to boost your immunity like broccoli, capsicum, spinach and ginger.
A trolley full of fresh produce is a great starting point for meal-prep and batching. You can make simple recipes like vegetarian chili, vegetable soup, casseroles and curries in huge batches with minimal ingredients. These types of dishes freeze really well and will last in the freezer for up to 6 months.
Don’t forget that most of us already have a pantry full of essentials like spices, herbs, flour, stock and tinned tomatoes. These items alone can create freezer-friendly meals in big batches, when paired with some fresh produce or legumes.
Being really smart and thinking outside the box is exciting. The humble roast chicken can be turned into soup, risotto and a salad. Roast Pumpkin can be used to stir through pasta, top bruschetta or in a super quick curry. Having some great flavour bases in the freezer such as homemade curry pastes will ensure you can always make a meal from scratch that taste delicious.
Social distancing has become our duty and that isn’t likely to change any time soon. Worried about going stir crazy? Now’s the perfect time to get back into the kitchen. Look at our limited grocery supply as an opportunity to try something new, and expand your repotoir. Get the kids involved in the kitchen and experiment with different flavour combinations.
The moral of the story is, let’s all listen to ScoMo – hoarding is ridiculous and there are beautiful and abundant fresh fruits and vegetables available. It’s an unsettling time for everyone, but it’s important not to panic. Shop smart, keep calm and cook cleverly.
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