Preparing your cupboard for Fall/Winter

In the summer it’s hot. We want foods that are light and crisp and cool. When the weather turns cooler in fall and winter, people look towards warmer foods to make them feel better and raise their temperature. This means more soups and casseroles, breads and comfort foods. Is your pantry ready to handle the change in meal choices? Make a list of what you will need. What types of meals do you typically make at this time of the year? Account for those ingredients in your shopping list for your pantry.

Most of the items you have are probably common staples that any pantry needs. There is nothing wrong with having two bags of flour or sugar. Dry staples will last a while when kept in a dry, cool and dark place.

Stock up on beef or chicken stocks or bouillon cubes. Vegetable, beef and chicken stock or broth add flavor to dishes without adding salt. It is easier than straining and making your own broth. Choose low sodium, gluten free or organic varieties if that is better for you.

Make room for grains. Quinoa, couscous, oats, oatmeal and barley are great sources of fiber and also create a filling dish. You can eat well and feel full without gaining excess weight.

Don’t forget some common filling staples such as potatoes, garlic, a variety of spices and onions. Store them at the lowest level in your pantry. Keep them hanging in the bags they were purchased in if you want. They provide a wealth of meal ideas. Dried herbs and canned or frozen vegetables from your garden are also great staples to have an abundance of for fall/winter recipes.

Be prepared for a great season of “comfort food” cooking. Happy Fall Y’all!!

Storing Foods: Garlic, Onions, and Shallots

garlic onions and shallots.jpg

Storing Foods: Garlic, Onions, and Shallots

The correct way is to store these items is in a paper bag with holes punched in the bag.

What you would need:

  • Brown paper bags, lunch bag size
  • Hole punch
  • Paper clips
  • Marker
  1. Make sure the onions, garlic, and/or shallots are firm and blemish free.
  2. Punch holes in the bags.
  3. Fill each bag half full and fold over the top; do not mix the vegetables in the bags.
  4. Label the bag with the description of the contents then paper clip it to hold the top down.

This punched paper bag method should extend the life of onions, garlic, and shallots in most situations. However, their specific life may vary depending on the temperature, humidity, and light conditions where the bags are stored.  Do not store potatoes in the same area as they give off gases that will accelerate spoilage of each other.

These will last the longest in a dark, cool (but not cold), dry storage area. I’ve successfully kept them in my 65-70ish degree kitchen drawer for up to 3 months.  A cool, dark basement is a good choice or a cellar, if you happen to have one. Onions should not be stored for an extended time in the refrigerator because the cold temperature will soften their texture; plus, onions will impart their flavor on surrounding produce.

No plastic bags: Don’t ever store onions in plastic bags. That will accelerate sprouting and spoilage because of the lack of air circulation.