Preparing and cooking food at home allows you to cook healthy and delicious meals for your family. It also lets you save from expensive takeout foods. But you cannot cook food at home if you just have a few ingredients in your refrigerator or pantry. You need to stock some refrigerator, freezer, and pantry essentials so you will have the items ready when you need them to prepare or cook food.
Refrigerator – Refrigerator essentials include fresh produce and items that need to be stored in a cool place. The cold temperature inside this appliance helps preserve foods and prevent bacterial growth. However, when storing food, it would be good to put your fresh produce in a separate container with a cover or a zip lock because the dry air inside the refrigerator will also cause these foods to dry out. Juices and other items should also have their own covers. If you have leftover juices and other beverages in a can or other disposable containers, transfer them first to another plastic container with a cover before putting them in the refrigerator.
1. Fruits – apples, oranges, banana, grapes, berries, and other seasonal fruits
2. Vegetables – green leafy vegetables, carrots, tomatoes, peppers, celery, and cabbage
3. Juices – orange juice, pineapple juice, and other homemade juices
4. Dairy – butter, milk, cheese, and yogurt
5. Condiments – salad dressings, mayonnaise, and other sauces that require refrigeration after opening
6. Others – eggs and leftover foods
Freezer – There are just a few things that fall under freezer essentials. These are items that require extreme cold temperature to preserve for several days. When storing meat, poultry, and seafood products in the freezer, it would be good to divide them on a per-meal cooking rather than in bulk then put each batch in an individual container or plastic. This way, you don’t have to thaw an entire batch but only what you will cook for a particular meal. Freezing, thawing, and freezing again can destroy the quality of freezer essentials.
1. Meat – beef, pork, and lamb
2. Poultry – chicken
3. Fishes and other seafood
4. Frozen fruits and mixed vegetables
5. Precooked foods – If you use to pre-cook food for an emergency meal and would like them to last for the entire week, then its best place is in the freezer.
6. Fresh Milk – If you like your milk to last longer and maintain its fresh quality, you can also freeze it
Pantry – Your pantry is more like the dry goods section of the grocery. You store here all the food items that do not belong to your refrigerator and freezer. Pantry essentials are foods that are best kept at room temperature. It is important that your pantry is away from direct sunlight or heat.
2. Herbs and spices
4. Whole grains, pasta, and cereals
5. Canned goods
7. Baking products
8. Others (potatoes, garlic, and onions) – Some people put these items in the refrigerator but they can also be kept as pantry essentials. At room temperature, these items can survive for weeks.
These are just some of the refrigerator, freezer, and pantry essentials that you ought to have so that you can prepare a good meal for your family anytime of the day.