Wellness :: Pantry Essentials & Foodie Tips

During this trying time of isolation and the need to limit trips to grocery stores and to make the most of what we purchase, thought I would share with you these wonderful tips discussed during Vanessa Hong‘s IG Live Talks yesterday  with guest Sophia Roe (chef & wellness advocate). 

 P a N t R y  E s S e N t I a L s  & F o O d i E  T i P s

Tip: Given there is currently an abundance of fresh produce, select them and save to use the canned stuff for later.  Ms Roe suggests buying 30% (if single)/ 50% more (if a family) of fresh produce than what you normally purchase, given the optimal ways that you can use and freeze them (see below).  Label all your items with date of expiry.

Suggested pantry essentials:  Nutritional yeast, quality canned tomatoes, coconut aminos, miso (tip: add miso to tomato sauce and stocks), nuts & seeds (see below), nut & seed butters, steel oats, coconut butter (tip: 3 tbsps + 1 cup warm water = coconut milk, or add 1-2 tbsps to coffee as replacement for creamer) & nori & kombu seaweed strips (tip: add to beans & lentils to help with digestion & enhance flavour).

Fresh produce:  Fresh produce like kale, broccoli, snap peas, carrots, asparagus, brussel sprouts, etc., can be frozen.  First blanch (i.e., add to boiling water for 15-30 seconds, depending on hardiness of the vegetable), then place into an ice bath, pat dry then freeze) // sautée mushrooms, then freeze // cook beets in boiling water for 5 minutes, peel, then roast and eat or freeze for later.

Fruits:  Thoroughly wash fresh grapes and berries & freeze // take perfectly ripe avocados (do not refrigerate beforehand) and put into freezer whole (do not cut); when ready to eat, de-thaw for 30 minutes, peel and eat // place fresh fruits (washed and cut/sliced), like rhubarb and strawberries, at lowest oven level for 2-3 hours to dehydrate, add to granolas, etc // stew apples, or add fresh apples to curries and soups for added flavour // Add citrus peels (organic) to stocks, or soups for added flavour // (Tip from editor:  make your own jams, by stewing fruit of choice with a few tablespoons of maple syrup over low heat, then add a few tablespoons of chia seeds, cook the mixture down until thickens.  Add extract flavouring of your choice and more maple syrup, if desired).

Eggs:  crack, whisk and then freeze in ice cube tray then into a freezer bag for scramble, or separate white from yolk, then freeze separately for baking.  Test freshness of eggs by placing in a bowl of water, any that sink to the bottom are older and should not be consumed.

Tip:  Never refrigerate tomatoes, citruses, onions, ginger & garlic.

Rice & pastas:  Cook & freeze (keeps for up to 8 months & also removes the carbohydrates).

Pickle juices:  Reuse liquid from pickles for sauces.

Nuts & seeds:  Buy peanuts, cashews, almonds, sesame, sunflower, chia & hemp seeds in bulk (cheaper) and freeze in containers provided by the store, or in glass jars.  When ready, take from freezer and make into nut/seed butter or milk. Alternately, make nut/seed milk first then freeze.

Fish: Fatty fish, i.e., salmon & tuna, freezes better than flakier fish, i.e., cod, halibut, sole, etc.  Wrap tightly in parchment paper, then place into a freezer safe bag.  If frozen, keep frozen until ready to use.

Herbs:  Thyme, basil, parsley, cilantro, garlic, ginger (chop, portion into ice cube trays), add water or oil & freeze.

Source:  Vanessa Hong IG Live with Sophia Roe // Image, Pinterest

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