A well-stocked, well-organised pantry is an oddly satisfying achievement. At the moment, our options for shopping are limited. We’re going out less and relying on what we already have on our shelves and in our cupboards. Store cupboard staples are making a guest appearance in our stay-at-home menus!
We know you’re eco-conscious but we also know that staying sustainable during a pandemic can be tricky. At the core of living consciously is trying your best. To help you cultivate a more eco-friendly pantry, here are a few of our favorite tips:
Stock up on dried goods
Beans, lentils, pasta, and rice are all great examples of essential dried goods to keep in stock. They form the base of countless dishes and are easily transformable to a full, nutrient-packed meal. Dried goods can also last months when properly packaged in an airtight container, making repurposed jars a great way to store them.
Choose stainless steel or glass containers
We’re big fans of using what you’ve got. So if you have a cupboard full of plastic takeaway tubs that you’ve saved from landfill, then great! But if you don’t, or if it’s time for an upgrade, opt for containers made from glass or stainless steel. These materials won’t leak chemicals into your food and will far outlive plastic containers. Reusable containers are an essential to any sustainable kitchen! Just be sure to wash them properly in between each use.
Limit the packaging
Plastic packaging accounts for the vast majority of consumer waste. It’s virtually impossible to avoid, especially during coronavirus times, as our shopping options have become more limited. Yet we can try our best to limit our packaging by becoming more mindful of how we buy. For example, swap the 6 individual yogurt cups for the larger container of yogurt. And instead of grabbing the individual snack bag size, reach for the larger bag of crisps and reseal the pack after each snack using a clip or an elastic band.
Vary your seasonings
The key to not getting bored with the same pantry ingredients? Herbs and spices! By varying how you season your dried pantry goods, you could enjoy new flavors regularly with the same core ingredients. From Italian seasoning to garam masala to chili powder, seasoning mixes can truly transform your dish. What’s your favorite seasoning or spice to cook with? Another great tip is to store herbs and spices in brown glass to keep them fresher for longer (a great way to reuse old marmite pots!).
Freeze fresh food you won’t eat in time
The freezer is one giant, beautiful pause button. It helps preserve food for weeks to months, allowing us to reduce our food waste. So before your fresh food goes bad, be sure to freeze what you can! If you need some inspiration, Pinterest has a whole slew of ideas for how to transform fresh ingredients into freezable items. One of our favorites is blending fruits and veggies, freezing them in ice cube trays, and popping them out to put in smoothies.
Reuse packaging if you can
Have we mentioned we love reusing? It’s so satisfying to give plastic, paper, foil or glass packaging another life and saving it from landfill. Foil is great for reheating items and glass is ideal for storing. While plastic isn’t on our best friends list, it’s better when reused to store food or help organize other items than it would be in the bin.
During these unprecedented times, we are all adjusting to a new normal. Though this may mean having less choice in how we shop, we can still take small but mighty steps towards being sustainable — including in our pantries.
What are your favorite ways to practice sustainability in your kitchen at the moment? Let us know in the comments below. 👇