You’ve seen the toilet paper jokes. There’s a psychology behind our behaviors, and the coronavirus news in the US is taking it’s toll on folks.
Thing is, while it is a bummer to run out of toilet paper, it’s unnecessary to hoard it. If you have a conservatively stocked closet, you’ll be fine.
On the other hand, it’s always a good idea to have a well-stocked pantry and freezer. Even if this virus doesn’t directly impact you, having food items on hand that you can create meals with is just good housekeeping and homesteading in the event of an emergency.
Be Stocked, Prepared and Stay Calm
Since this isn’t a natural weather disaster situation, where you could potentially lose power, it’s safe to say you’ll have use of your refrigerator and freezer. Still, it’s always good to keep some canned goods on hand as well. Even if you aren’t quarantined, it may make you feel better to just hang out at home for a while. Having your pantry stocked will ease your mind (but, don’t buy that much more than you need). Instead of toilet paper, try a few of these items instead.
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- Tomatoes (diced, whole, pureed, tomato sauce). These can be used to make tomato sauce, soups or chilis.
- Beans (garbanzo, kidney, black beans, chili beans). These can be cooked with rice, pasta or for soups, chilis and stews.
- Soups. While you can make your own soup with the above ingredients, having a few cans ready to go is convenient.
- Canned meat and fish (tuna, salmon, chicken). These keep for several months and can be used for lunch to make a sandwich, tuna or chicken salad, or in hot dishes.
- Fruit and vegetables. Canned fruits and vegetables are just as nutritious as fresh. They are picked at max ripeness and canned within hours of harvest.
- Eggs. My mother always told me “Keep 18 eggs on hand”, and I pretty much follow that advice. You can create a quick meal with eggs or bake with them. Hard cook a batch and have them ready in the refrigerator for a snack or quick breakfast.
- Dairy. Milk, yogurt, and cheese are great for snacks and in cooking.
- Meat. Buy specials, and freeze for another day. Keep some ready to go frozen chicken (trimmed of fat and skin) or lean ground beef in the freezer.
- Bread, bagels, English muffins. These freeze well, and if used within a few weeks retain their quality.
- Plain Vegetables. Peas, mixed vegetables, peppers and onions, corn, broccoli or cauliflower, can be used as a side dish or to top pasta or rice stir fries.
- Fish, Shrimp. Fish is a good source of protein, and cooks up in 20 minutes. Shrimp can be added, along with frozen broccoli, to pasta or rice for a quick meal.
- Ice cream (because you need a treat).
- Frozen bread or pizza dough.
- Flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, yeast. If you have these on hand, you can bake bread, a batch of cookies, or a quick bread.
- Ready to eat cereals, oats, grits. These are a quick breakfast or snack. Fortified with nutrients, they’re a good choice that will last a while on the shelf. Grits or cornmeal (polenta) can be cooked for a side dish or meal.
- Powdered milk. If there is a situation where you can’t leave the house, it’ll be nice to be able to mix up some milk using powdered milk and water. You can use for cooking, cereal, or baking. You can even use it as a protein booster in smoothies.
- Peanut butter, nut butters, jam. A good source of protein, nut butters can be added to oats, sauces, or a good old PBJ sandwich.
- Rice, pasta, barley, lentils. These can serve as the base for all sorts of meals.
These basic items will keep you in meals for a few weeks or more. It’s always a good idea to be prepared. Even if you aren’t quarantined, it’s a comfort to know that you have enough food on hand to get you through a few.
Stock up, stay calm, and carry on!