No pasta, no worries: Six tips for when the supermarket shelves are completely bare

No pasta, no worries: Six tips for when the supermarket shelves are completely bare

Words By Eva Marchingo

Those supermarket shelves are looking exceedingly barren.

A significantly distressing part of the coronavirus crisis is the uncertainty around food. Are all of your staples still being produced? Are they still in stock? Are you going to have to knock an elderly woman to the ground to get that last bag of fettuccine? And then when you finally get your groceries sorted how do you ensure they last? Join us as we give you all the tips and tricks to keep your pantry stocked.

1. Supermarket socialism

Due to panic buying, it’s a common sight to see your local supermarket shelves totally empty. Supermarkets are increasing fairness by enforcing temporary limitations regarding the way we buy and how much we buy – a kind of supermarket socialism, if you will. Some supermarkets have also introduced times specifically allocated for vulnerable members of the community to shop. This means that you will have to be smarter with when you shop and more considerate when your filling up your trolley.

2. Nothing but biscuits and bully to eat

The thought of ‘rationing’ is unprecedented in this day in age. For most Australians, regulating how you eat and when you eat is a foreign concept. It hasn’t gotten to the point of Spam and ANZAC biscuits yet, but what you should take away from these wartime smarts is creativity. No more pouting next to a window wondering, ‘When will my normal groceries ever return?’, Start by thinking of food you can make that will last.

3. Make do with what’s new

Even with the newly enforced supermarket socialism, you might not be able to find the exact products you usually buy. You might not be used to cooking with pasta that isn’t spaghetti, or maybe you’ve never tried brown rice, lentils, or polenta – now is the time. Grab whatever you can and spend your social distancing time exploring new recipes. There are many vegetables you’ll probably have to introduce yourself to as well. Meet chard and celeriac.

4. Learn about food storage

If you’re going to have a fortnight’s worth of food in your pantry and fridge, then you will need to ensure it lasts – no one wants freezer burn on their frozen meals or moths in their cereal. Rubber bands, pegs, tupperware and glass jars are ideal for food preservation. Consider storage requirements for different food as well. For example, fresh herbs and kale should be treated like flowers, if you trim the stems and keep them upright in water they will last much longer than in the fridge.

5. Time for that veggie garden?

You can cultivate a thriving vegetable garden whether your backyard goes on for days, or if you can only just fit a planter box on your apartment balcony. For quick results, start by planting already sprouted baby plants instead of seeds, and thinking about which vegetables grow the fastest. There are also plenty of hardy vegetables that will grow through winter, such as peas, spinach, cabbage, broccoli, lettuce, and leeks. Time to get creative.

6. Cock-a-doodle-doo

If you’re looking for easy pest control for your newly-implemented vegetable garden, hens are your best bet – as long as they don’t become pests themselves. Not only will your chooks follow you around the garden, providing much-needed company in these strange and uncertain times, they will also provide you with eggs – just one more thing to cross off the shopping list.

In these trying times it’s important to stay safe, stay pragmatic, and most importantly, stay calm. After all, Australia produces enough food for a population three times its size.

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