So, the complete lockdown in India has been announced and there’s compulsory restriction on movement of people to contain the spread of the highly-contagious Coronavirus or Covid-19. Life does seem to have come to a standstill and the next few days need us to buckle up and do our bit by practicing social distancing by not stepping outside our homes unnecessarily. But above all these, we need to look at the positive side – we still have electricity and can make use of our refrigerator to store food for the next 21 days that are ahead of us. Right now, there’s a lot of panic buying happening which is not at all necessary. There will be no dearth in essential commodities, however, it will be a prudent decision to store food items properly during lockdown so that there’s no wastage of food. In this post, we will detail out different ways on how to store food items properly during lockdown period.
Amazing Food Tips to Help You Get Through the Coronavirus Pandemic:
It does seem we are giving a whole lot of importance to sanitizers and indulging in panic buying rather than thinking of ways to properly store the food that we have in hand. We would like to list out important tips to ensure there is no food scarcity before we enter into the lockdown period.
1. Create a three-week supply of water. Store drinking water in bubble top cans after boiling and cooling them down.
2. It’s prudent to buy non-perishable (that can remain stable and safe for long periods without the need for refrigeration) food items like lentils, groundnut, nuts, dry fruits, pasta, rusks, biscuits, wafers which have a long shelf life. Here’s a complete list of food items to last you through lockdown.
3. Pick food items with long shelf life, for example – jams, sauces and snacks like wafers, chikki, potato chips, etc.
4. Do not forget to pick your prescription medicines for one month.
5. Transfer dal and other lentils into steel containers with a lid to keep moisture out of them.
6. Store rice and wheat flour/atta in steel container with a lid. Rice and wheat flour will last you for a long time when stored in such containers.
7. Use plastic bag clips or rubber bands to seal plastic food bags to keep them fresh for long.
8. It’s better to pick canned fruits instead of fresh ones.
9. Do not forget to stock up on readymade soup packets.
10. Use your deep freezer to store non-veg food items like chicken and fish.
11. You can also cut vegetables like carrots, corn, green peas, pumpkin, etc., into small cubes or dices and store them in zip lock bags in the freezer. They will last for a month or two this way.
12. Keep potatoes, onions in a cool, dry place, not in the fridge.
How To Store Food Items Properly During Lockdown:
How To Store Eggs?
We tend to store eggs in the slot at the refrigerator door, but when you store them in the middle of the fridge where the temperature is much cooler, eggs can last up to 5 weeks. With correct storage, eggs can last for about 3–5 weeks the fridge area and for about a year in the freezer.
How to Store Fruits?
Buy fruits which would last for weeks altogether without putting them in the deep freezer. For example, apples can stay good in the fridge for anywhere between 3 to 4 weeks. Oranges can last anywhere between 2 to 3 weeks. Pomegranate can last up to 1 to 2 months, and watermelon can stay fresh for up to 2 weeks. A majority of fruits can be cut up into slices and cubes and stored into zip-lock bags, to be stored into the freezer area. Mangoes for example cut be cut into slices and cubes, packed into plastic bags, and stored in the freezer for up to 6 months. You can also cut and store fruits like mangoes, pineapple, cherries, etc. Additionally, you can place a damp towel on top of the apples to help them retain the moisture. If you want to store the whole pineapple as it is, cut the leafy top and store it upside down in the fridge.
How to Store Vegetables for a Long Time in the Fridge?
Stock vegetables that would last for months altogether when stored properly – for example, potatoes, onions, yam. Wash the vegetables thoroughly and dry them out completely before layering them in the vegetable section of your fridge. Use absorbent paper or tissue paper in between layers to keep them fresh for long. This way, you can keep the veggies for weeks altogether. You can also cut the vegetables into cubes and slices and store them in glass containers with a lid. This way the veggies would last for up to two weeks. When you are storing veggies in zip lock bags, poke holes in the plastic bag or store them in mesh bags and place them in your refrigerator.
1. How to store tomatoes: To store the tomatoes in the refrigerator or freezer, place them in a zip-lock bag and squeeze the air out. Put them in the refrigerator for up to a month in the vegetable box. If you seal them in a container with all air squeezed out, they can last up to 18 months in the freezer or refrigerate them. You can also preserve tomatoes in olive oil – Wash the tomatoes and dry them out. Remove the stem, cut into half and place them in a ceramic or glass baking dish. Now, sprinkle the tomatoes with salt. Cover the tomatoes with olive oil, up to 2/3rd depth of the tomatoes. Slow cook the tomatoes at 175 degrees for 3 to 5 hours. The exact time will depend on the size of the tomatoes you use. Once the tomatoes cool down, transfer them to mason jars or other non-metal containers that are airtight and store these jars in the fridge and they would last for up to one year. Another awesome way to preserve tomatoes is to “sun dry” them. You can use sun-dried tomatoes in curries, salads, sandwiches, and also as pizza topping. Sun-dried tomatoes lose 90% of their water content after they have been dried under the sun or in a microwave. To do it naturally, wash the tomatoes and pat them dry with a cloth. Remove the stem and cut them into halves. Place these tomatoes on a muslin cloth side by side in an open area with proper exposure to sunlight. Within a few days, your sun-dried tomatoes will be ready to use.
2. How to store green chillies: To preserve green chillies for longer period, store them in zip lock bags. Just remove the stem part and transfer the green chillies inside a zip lock bag. Place the bag inside a refrigerator and use the green chillies whenever they are required. This way, chillies can last up to two weeks.
3. How to Store Leafy Green Vegetables like Lettuce, Spinach: Rinse the leafy green vegetables, wrap them in a paper towel or tissue paper, and refrigerate them after sealing them up in a container or sealed plastic bag.
4. How to Store Fresh Herbs: Fresh herbs like mint, curry leaves can be stored in bags filled all air sucked out and sealed tightly.
5. How to Store Lemons: Citrus fruits such as oranges and lemons can be kept in a cool and dark place for a week without exposing them to direct sunlight, but in the fridge, they would last up to two weeks in a mesh bag.
6. How to Store Potatoes for long: Potatoes need a lot of air circulation around them and need to be kept away from light, in a dark place, because they tend to sprout upon exposure to light. Keep the potatoes in a cardboard box, paper bag, mesh bag, or basket to ensure good ventilation. Plastic bags won’t allow them to breathe and will shorten their shelf life considerably, so remove them from a plastic bag if you have purchased them in such bags.
7. How To store Onions for Long: Keep them in a dark yet well-ventilated area, separate from any other vegetables. Spread the onions in a single layer, not stacked on top of each other. Select a cool, dry, dark and well-ventilated area to keep them in use for up to one month. Do you know, peeled onions can be stored in the fridge for 10–14 days, while sliced or cut onions can be refrigerated for 7–10 days.
How To Store Non-Veg Items, Especially Chicken For Long?
Do you know raw chicken pieces can be stored in the freezer area of the refrigerator for up to 9 months. Cooked chicken would just last up to three days. To lessen the chances of freezer burn, wrap the chicken pieces separately in aluminium foil and place them in the freezer. You can do the same with fish after cleaning them thoroughly. Another great way to store non-veg items is by marinating them for 30 minutes to one hour in the marinate masala and then packing them up into plastic bags and placing them into the freezer for up to 3 months.
How to Store Ginger and Garlic:
Make a paste out of ginger and garlic pods and store them up in mason jars either together or separately for later use.
How to Store Milk:
It’s better to buy milk powder rather than thinking of ways to store fresh milk. In case, milk powder is not available, you can also make milk out of oats. It is prepared by blending together rolled oats and water, and straining up the liquid to get the milk. To make oat milk, add 1 cup rolled oats in 4 cups water into a blender and letting it spin for 45 seconds. Now, strain the liquid through a cloth and voila, your oats milk is ready.
How To Store Lentils/Dal?
Transfer dal such as masoor, arhar, moong, etc., into vacuum tight containers. Flaxseed, chia seeds can quickly spoil, so do not cut open the packets randomly. Once open, transfer them into air-tight containers.