Buy Now, Eat Later: The Pantry Staples Worth Stocking Up On

Just in case you want to add a few extra items to your shopping list this week.

Remember when there were near-riots in Ireland over Brennans Bread during the last big snowstorm in 2018?

As the World Health Organisation (WHO) has officially deemed coronavirus (COVID-19) a pandemic, many people are starting to think about what it would mean for them to be stuck at home for two weeks or more.

Broadly speaking, tinned and dried goods are the best options to have on hand at all times, regardless of whether we're in a crisis or not. These foods often have a longer shelf-life than fresh food and are also extremely versatile.

Our pantry staples series takes a look at the ingredients that most people usually have in their press at home, showing you tasty ways to use up what you have and how to make sure you get the best out of your goods. 

If we were to recommend a few things that we think you should have on hand right now, we'd be hard-pressed to keep the list short! Here are some of our favourite pantry staples that we think you should have in your press right now. 

Dried pasta

Is there any food more comforting than a bowl of delicious pasta? Dried pasta comes in heaps of different forms, is easy to store and cooks quickly. While we love making fresh pasta when we have the time  – if we get stuck at home for a few weeks soon, we might be able to perfect the craft! – dried pasta is a great alternative.

Along with a couple of other storecupboard staples, you can easily whip up a nutritious dinner as long as you have some sort of pasta on hand: think spaghetti bolognese, carbonara, or even pasta with pesto.

If you are short on ingredients or energy, spaghetti aglio e olio is one of the tastiest dishes you can whip up: simply fry six sliced cloves of garlic in about 80ml of olive oil until golden, add some seasoning, dried basil or mixed herbs and dried chilli flakes, then mix through freshly cooked pasta and enjoy. If you have Parmesan on hand, a light sprinkling wouldn't go amiss either. 

Rice

Similar to pasta, rice is amazing to have on hand because there are so many things you can make with it. Between arborio, jasmine, long-grain, basmati and more, there are hundreds of different types of rice that you can choose from so pick your favourite and maybe add an extra bag to your trolley the next time you're shopping. 

Rice dishes are great for batch cooking – think pilafs, risotto and rice salad – but make sure you store it in the fridge once cooked and only reheat it once, otherwise you run the risk of making yourself sick – which is not something you'd want to contend with while in self-isolation from coronavirus!

Tinned tomatoes

Tinned tomatoes are the basis of so many of our favourite dishes. You can use them in a soup, pasta sauce, as the base of a stew and much, much more. Tinned tomatoes come in several different varieties, but the most common varieties seen in Irish pantries are chopped and whole tinned tomatoes. Whole tomatoes often have the best flavour, as they have been processed as little as possible.

The reason that most people have a tin lying around is because of the versatility of tinned tomatoes: the last for a long time, don’t need refrigeration and can be added to nearly any dish for a flavour boost. We love to add a tin to chilli, huevos rancheros and stocks to enhance the flavour.

Worried about obtaining the disease? You should follow the advice on how to protect yourself and others from coronavirus and other infections like flu.

For more information, please check the HPSC/HSE's frequently asked questions here. 

This article was originally published by our sister site, FOOD AND WINE.

Main image by Conor Clinch for the April edition of Irish Tatler, on shelf now. 

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