By: Judy Davie - The Food Coach
OK I'm going to start this off by saying that I think we've all gone a bit bonkers lately which is particularly annoying because I have genuinely run out of toilet paper and there's literally none to be found within a 20 km radius of where I live. And, I think, it's particularly mad because if we do all have to bunker down and not leave the house for fear of the Corona Virus spreading, there are many more important things to stockpile than toilet paper; food that is rich in nutrients which helps to keep us healthy for example.
Being a glass half full kind of person, and as terrible as it would be to be quarantined at home, this is the season when we could survive quite well for a few weeks exiled in our own homes because Autumn produce is flooding in and it's much less perishable than summer produce.
Take apples for example, new season apples are sweet, crunchy, and delicious and will keep for months in the fridge.
Pears too; think about how frustrating it can be when you buy a rock-hard pear and it's not ready to eat for 5 days or so. Now you can stockpile pears safe in the knowledge that in about a week, stored out of the fridge, they'll ripen on the inside and once ripe will last for a further week in the fridge.
Pomegranates are absolutely packed with vitamin C to help boost your immunity and protect against infections. They are in the stores right now and can be stored out of the fridge for 1 - 2 weeks and in plastic bags in the fridge, pomegranates will stay good for 1-2 months
And then there's pumpkin. Throw a whole pumpkin in your trolley and it's good for 1 - 2 months out of the fridge. It's an excellent source of beta-carotene and fibre and antioxidants and a food-survival mainstay. The same must be said for carrots, sweet potato, and potato.
Onions are the most used vegetable in the world and for good reason. They are inexpensive, add flavour to most savoury dishes and they store for a very long time. In the pantry, kept away
Speaking of flavour, it's hard to think past garlic. Stored in a cool well-ventilated area, garlic will last for 3 - 5 months. We know there are many health benefits to consuming garlic including improving our immune function. Garlic has been used for its medicinal properties for thousands of years unlike toilet paper which man managed perfectly well without up until the late 19th century!
Vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower don't store as well as root vegetables but they can be blanched and stored in the freezer for 12 - 18 months. To blanch, simply wash the vegetables thoroughly and cut off the leaves and woody stems; Split the flowerets and stalks into 5 cm pieces; plunge in boiling water for 3 minutes; chill quickly in ice cold water and drain off excess moisture. Pack in airtight containers and freeze immediately.
Pick up a fresh purple cabbage and you have the base to a great coleslaw and the assurance that it will last up to 2 months stored in the fridge. You also have the assurance of powerful anthocyanins which contribute to the body's defence against free radical damage, and vitamin C which helps maintain a healthy strong immune system. You'll also get fibre which gives you a good reason for all that toilet paper!
Limes are a good buy right now and out of the fridge they will store for about a week. In the fridge they will keep for about 4 weeks and, believe it or not, they'll freeze whole and keep for about 4 months in the freezer. The skin will be mushy but the juice is still good to use to flavour dishes.
Other than that, what else should you stockpile to thrive?
I'd have to say canned tomatoes. Canned tomatoes may be the one thing you can wrestle your neighbour to the ground for because they, and tomato puree, are a fabulous source of lycopene an antioxidant which may be even more powerful than vitamin C.
Dried beans such as kidney, cannellini, mung and black beans are an excellent source of plant protein and fibre. They are also very inexpensive so it's good to know, if we can't work and earn money, we can still afford to eat!
While pasta is racing off the shelves, there's still plenty of flour around and since flour is the basis of pasta, bread and pastry, and if we are all going to be stuck at home with nothing to do but watch Netflix, we could entertain ourselves better by learning to make our own pasta, bread and pies.
Personally, I don't think we're all going to be shepherded home and bolted in for weeks but it's interesting to think about how we might survive - and thrive - if were. For my money, with a roof over our heads, and fresh water from the taps. the next most important thing we need to do is head out to your local greengrocer store and buy some fresh healthy produce.
I hope you enjoyed this article which was written for fun more than mass hysteria.
Let me sign off by saying, don't panic.
Thanks to Galluzzo's Fruit Market, Mountain Fresh Growers - Winmalee, Natures Best Belrose, Patricks of Bellevue, Trims Fresh and Schinellas Fresh Food Market for thier continued support of The Fresh Food Club