pandemic pantry - food, getting it, storing it, baking during lockdown

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by pcake, Apr 9, 2020.


  1. pcake

    pcake Supporting Member

    Sep 20, 2011
    Los Angeleez
    i thought we might want a place to talk about the issues, pitfalls and successes of food, pantry staples and drink during stay-at-home, quarantine and lockdown. what can be substituted, what we're finding at stores vs online, how you're dealing with picking up and eating restaurant food. storing larger amounts, time it takes to get your stuff and so on.

    also a good place to talk recipes for cooking and baking. first time bread makers? need a way to make what you have tastier?

    let me start. i eat primarily spelt flour as i'm allergic to wheat but can eat gluten. this has never been a problem - i have 2 brands i eat, while most of the rest process or package their spelt on the same equipment they process their wheat. i've been keeping an eye open for white spelt flour - we like it better - but haven't seen any for weeks. then last night, some 25 pound bags appeared for sale. i ordered one, and i was stoked, but i also have never had more than 5 pound bags, and i know i need to do something to keep it fresh. oxygen absorbers? sealed bucket? i have just over a week to figure it out...
     
  2. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    hey, pcake! good idea for a thread, during these times.

    i didn't know what spelt flour was, but i found this on the www:
    "Shelf Life: if stored in sealed containers or if tightly wrapped, spelt flour will keep for several months in a cool, dry cabinet and 6 to 12 months in the freezer."

    my wife and i are getting along with our "pandemic pantry" just fine for now. she is 'gourmet', and i'm 'meat and potatoes' so we're alternating, more or less. also: i think part of our 'social consciousness' works in favor of some of our favorite eateries that offer take out --- we're helping to keep them afloat.

    our home recipes tend to be the simpler ones (the meat-and-potatoes cook), but they're tasty and have been mostly the soup/stew variety for the past few weeks...with a few entrees thrown in for variation. also: we're starting to use the grill per 'that time of year'.

    we live in the burbs of a metro area and our local kroger hasn't had any difficulty stocking fresh produce (only toilet paper) so we have that going for us.

    i'm looking forward to some recipes! :thumbsup:
     
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  3. Gravedigger Dav

    Gravedigger Dav Supporting Member

    Mar 13, 2014
    Springtown, Texas
    What I find puzzling is the absence of perishables like milk and bread which only last a couple of weeks. Hording those types of items makes no sense, yet the shelves are bare.
     
  4. Boogiepop

    Boogiepop Refugee Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 22, 2019
    Colorado
    25 pounds of brown rice, 25 pounds of lentils (complementary proteins), 50 pounds of wheat berries and two grain mills, one electric, one manual.

    One extra-large Dutch oven for stovetop baking.

    Miscellaneous commercial bulk supplies of paper products, canned soups, etc.

    Assorted smaller quantities of other stuff: beans, peanut butter, soups, dried whole milk, butter powder, etc.

    @pcake, where are you getting your spelt flour? Does your source offer whole, unground spelt? TIA.

    B.
     
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  5. pcake

    pcake Supporting Member

    Sep 20, 2011
    Los Angeleez
    my son is finding fresh milk at the this week at costco and ralphs, although he wasn't for the first few weeks. did you know you can freeze milk? i hadn't realized that, but if you pour two inches out of a gallon and put it in the freezer, it has room to expand.

    we got powdered milk for longer term storage, but i believe the frozen milk will keep for several months.

    alas, in maybe late january our source for unground spelt's source dried up. they're looking for a new source.

    i've seen unground spelt on amazon on and off. things sell out there fast, but they do restock. i haven't found the unground spelt there to be a good value, however. you can check periodically here
    Shop Bulk Grains and Beans at Pleasant Hill Grain for GMO-free, organic and conventional options
    to see if there are other grains you could use or to see if they've found a new spelt source. i love the folks at pleasanthillgrain.

    stovetop baking... i gotta look into that. my son got me a cast iron dutch oven for an early mothers day present. till now, i've been using stainless steel dutch ovens in the oven.
     
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  6. Boogiepop

    Boogiepop Refugee Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 22, 2019
    Colorado
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  7. pcake

    pcake Supporting Member

    Sep 20, 2011
    Los Angeleez
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  8. LBS-bass

    LBS-bass

    Nov 22, 2017
    My big need right now is storage containers. I'm not going into grocery stores and I tried buying them on Amazon, but the delivery dates are three weeks out. With all the additional cooking here, we're really struggling to find creative ways to handle our leftovers.

    Regular wheat flour was in my most recent curbside pickup order, so we'll see if we actually get it. It's been hard to find.
     
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  9. pcake

    pcake Supporting Member

    Sep 20, 2011
    Los Angeleez
    you know what's frustrating? that so many items like toilet paper, flour, alcohol and such aren't available for curbside pickup. i wish stores like target and walmart would get that sorted out.

    when you do a search on amazon and select prime in the upper left corner, the dates show under the listings. i chose the candy to send my son and his GF by checking the dates below the listings, and while i wasn't able to get their favorites, the candy should arrive tomorrow. a lot of the candy wouldn't arrive till the 15th.
     
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  10. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Moderator Staff Member

    Apr 12, 2001
    Olympia, WA
    Lots and lots of baking going on in our house after the wife made a sourdough starter a couple weeks ago.
    We're trying to make meals that last longer and can be turned into other meals as leftovers.
    The struggle for flour is still legit in this area, but we have a friend who works for King Arthur in Vermont who sent us six pounds of sprouted wheat flour that'll be here tomorrow, Friday.

    -Mike
     
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  11. Boogiepop

    Boogiepop Refugee Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 22, 2019
    Colorado
    The Wondermill came today, and we ran two cups of mixed grains through it for testing/cleaning.

    Success!

    B.
     
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  12. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Moderator Staff Member

    Apr 12, 2001
    Olympia, WA
    Do you have a restaurant supply house nearby? It may not be curbside, but they'll likely have what you need.
    We have one in our town (Smart Foodservice) that offers a Click&Carry service similar to curbside. It was great up until about a week ago when they shut it down due to so many products being sold out and staff availability.

    -Mike
     
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  13. MynameisMe

    MynameisMe Be kind. Supporting Member

    Dec 31, 2018
    Jax, Florida
    We don't eat wheat or gluten so it's mostly almond, tiger nut, cassava or coconut flour.
    My wife makes some tiger nut squares that remind me of graham crackers. Sweet and tasty. She also makes her own granola out of almonds and other nuts which is really good.
    Since it's kind of odd, (the odd flours) most of it can be ordered from Amazon. The almond flour is still available at Costco.
    For vegetables we ordered a box from Misfits Market and have it set up for delivery every two weeks. It's all organic. This box shipped is less than $ 40.00. You don't always know what you're getting. First one is like 25% off or something like that. To be determined whether it's worth it but since it keeps us from shopping we will continue until after the crisis.
    The stores here still have plenty of food.
    Here's a pic of the 25 lbs box from Misfits. Our next box shows up Saturday. IMG_20200327_175958.jpg
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2020
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  14. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Moderator Staff Member

    Apr 12, 2001
    Olympia, WA
    Misfits Market? I like that name.
    We order weekly from Imperfect Produce.

    -Mike
     
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  15. MynameisMe

    MynameisMe Be kind. Supporting Member

    Dec 31, 2018
    Jax, Florida
    Probably similar. Ugly veggies they can’t sell in the stores.
    Perfect rejects but high quality.
     
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  16. MynameisMe

    MynameisMe Be kind. Supporting Member

    Dec 31, 2018
    Jax, Florida
    I just checked. Imperfect not available in Florida.
     
  17. Tom Bomb

    Tom Bomb Hypocognitive Supporting Member

    Apr 23, 2014
    "Despite strong demand for basic foods like dairy products amid the coronavirus pandemic, the milk supply chain has seen a host of disruptions that are preventing dairy farmers from getting their products to market."
    U.S. dairy farmers dump milk as pandemic upends food markets

    Might explain the milk deficit. Look at what's going to waste. Hard to stomach :(

    Regarding emergency storage options: don't underestimate the worth of the PE freezer-bag. You don't necessarily have to freeze the contents — just bag it up and box it. We'll use slipknots and sometimes wooden clothes-pegs to seal them so we can use them again, depending.

    Apples last for ages — our supply, refrigerated, is still going strong. They'll last for months — and dried fruit, dates, sultanas, figs etc. now wait in the wings for the change of season. Love my apples — see bircher meusli. But we're ready for some necessary slumming.

    Yogurt's one to consider, DIY: we're using this one to great effect, once the fresh stuff disappears. Dry storage potential, in the packet, is exceptional.

    Last night we had pizza (my turn on the tools :)) — no fresh produce. Well, one fresh red cayenne pepper, finely diced. The sauce was one small tin of Danish mussels in tomato sauce. We're capitalizing on a product that comes in a sachet — with Beans (42%) (red kidney beans navy beans chick peas) purse seine caught skipjack *tuna* (Katsuwonus pelamis) (30%) water onion sunflower oil sea salt (0.5%) cracked pepper (0.5%) garlic powder — so that covers a few bases. I added anchovies out of a jar, some Moroccan seasoning, black pepper and then the cheese — mozzarella which had been frozen in the bag some time ago, then thawed and relieved of all its liquid.

    The bases were simply flattened, home-made damper: once cooked, the loaves were sliced in half, length-wise — tops were set aside and used later on for cinnamon toast with coffee. The bottoms, nice and thick and flat, serve perfectly as a pizza base.

    Not your usual fare,not exactly pizza, call it bruschetta or tostada if you like. Whatever :) I did it all surf no turf, it's good to be the cook, but there's a heap of options, bordering on pizza, in the offing. Like Margarita for example :)
     
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  18. fhm555

    fhm555 So FOS my eyes are brown Supporting Member

    Feb 16, 2011
    that’s a running joke in these parts. Whenever a hurricane looks like it’s going to make landfall on the NW FL gulf coast and may make it across the panhandle in to south Alabama, milk and bread are the first food items to disappear. Makes sense to me. A few days ahead of a big storm that will most likely leave you without power who wouldn’t run out and grab a six week supply of milk and bread? I’m thinking it must be regional because any impending big weather event triggers massive buys of milk and bread. Snow, ice storm, etc.
     
  19. pcake

    pcake Supporting Member

    Sep 20, 2011
    Los Angeleez
    i'm dying to hear more about the wondermill. i've had my eye on the wondermill or the nutrigrain classic. is your new mill easy to use and clean? not too loud considering it's a mill? anything else worthy of note? my husband is more interested in the wonder junior deluxe, which is a manual mill. Wondermill Junior Grain Mill, Wonder Junior Deluxe + Hand Grain Mill

    i make a quick, easy pizza dough and press it flat rather than rolling. but i'm considering personal size pizzas since i just got a tortilla press.

    if you're expecting power outages, it doesn't make any sense at all. powdered milk and bread making ingredients might work better.
     
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  20. fhm555

    fhm555 So FOS my eyes are brown Supporting Member

    Feb 16, 2011
    my sister gave me a ceramic coated iron dutch oven and it’s become my go to for slow simmering on top and roasting in the oven. I take it up and get a lot of heat in it on the eye then pop it in the oven (covered) on low to medium heat 325~375 and check it every half hour or so until whatever i’ve got in it is ready. It makes killer stew, chili, soup, beans, etc etc. I’m thinking i’m going to try making a stew then see if I can bake a cornbread crust on it. I’ve had luck doing it with chili in ramekins but i’d like to try it for a stew in the bigger pot.
     
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    Primary TB Assistant

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