In March 2020, in light of the exponential growth of COVID-19 infections #COVID19, the World Health Organisation (WHO) announced a global pandemic #COVIDPandemic, to reduce the spread of the coronavirus infection, an airborne droplet infection that spreads from person-to-person, as well as from direct contact.
Several measures were implemented to #FlattenTheCurve of the spread in addition to #WashYourhands, #SocialDistancing, #WearAFacemask, and the use of #PPE by Health workers. Cities and countries globally implemented variations of restricted movement to keep people indoors to reduce the person-to-person spread of coronavirus infection, a dangerous infection with mortality rates of 3.5% according to WHO.
Stocking up your pantry and kitchen is essential for the prolonged homestay, so here are some suggestions of items for home storage.
The lockdown situation in some areas has forced many of us to assess all our needs again, giving foodstuffs a priority when purchasing basic household needs.
Generally, it is prudent to stock away dry food for use for up to 4 weeks or more.
Appropriate planning means a discussion with family members to understand their food preferences during this stay-at-home period. Food items are purchased based on the nature of the family. For instance, you can’t purchase a bulk product meant for the family of six, if you have a family of four.
Another factor to consider is purchasing foods that would help boost our immune system for this sensitive period. These foods range from the protective food group such as vitamin sources to body building foods such as protein sources.
Here are some steps to take when purchasing food items.
- Safety First: Due to the proliferated outbreak of Covid-19, most national authorities recommend the Stay-at-home policy. People are allowed to go out if there is any significant need. In order to limit your exposure to the outside environment and markets where social distancing is not always adhered to, you can look into asking someone you trust to shop for you. You can send them a list and the funds needed, electronically. Purchases can be dropped off at your entrance to avoid contact. Online shopping services like Jumia or Konga can be used. These services have protective policies and can deliver to your homes anytime.
- Set priorities: When buying food items, you need to set your priorities right. It is wise to buy what you need the most. You have to consider factors like, the family choices. For instance, if your family loves coffee over chocolate, you wouldn’t go ahead in purchasing chocolate. But if it happens you love chocolate over coffee, you can purchase one enough for you alone. Always make a shopping list and make sure the basic items are divided into groups like perishable and non-perishable items.
These are food items that can spoil easily or when stored for a long time. These edibles include meat, fish, fresh fruits, and vegetables. We should learn how to preserve foods to remain fresh. Preservation can be done by freezing, drying, or smoking locally. In countries like Nigeria, where most locations don’t always have constant power supply to refrigerate food items, we can try out other methods of food preservation.
If we find them difficult to preserve, we can easily go for dry veggies or canned vegetables. Those that have a constant working refrigerator can store food for long periods through careful preparation. For example, tomatoes can be ground, boiled, and frozen in bags for daily use. You can also cut vegetables like carrots and green beans and freeze. Ginger, garlic, and lemons/limes can also be purchased, sliced, and frozen. You may need to determine how often you need to purchase these items if you prefer them fresh.
Another tip is that you can buy many fresh fruits and blend to make a smoothie and this has to be refrigerated for a refreshing drink or dessert. If you are not able to refrigerate, eating these fruits like that or drinking the smoothie immediately.
These are food items that don’t spoil easily when kept for a long time. They are always purchased in bulk more than the perishables. Examples of these items like rice, beans, garri, noodles, pasta (macaroni, spaghetti, etc.), yams, coco-yams, salt, vegetable oil, bullion cubes (and other seasonings like thyme, rosemary, curry), dried okro, melon seeds, sugar, salt, tin (canned) tomatoes, tea/coffee, biscuits, powdered milk, maize, maize flour, pap flour etc.
Remember that in the case of children at home, they’ll need their snacks and will eat more of them while at home. There are reasonably priced snacks like caprisonne, Hob-nobs, Cabin biscuit, cookies, bread, sausages etc. Noodles shouldn’t be forgotten from your list for kids.
Note that water needs to be purchased in bulk. Invest in a water dispenser for drinking water if possible. It is friendlier for the environment and far more economical than bottled water. If a water dispenser cannot be purchased, you can order for sachet water commonly called pure water. This type of water can last up to days. You can purchase as many bags according to your family size.
- Gain More knowledge in baking: You can go online to learn how to make pastries like bread, puff puff, doughnuts, chin chin etc. They are refreshing snacks you can use to wile away time and enjoy while you spending time with your family. Add flour, yeast and dairy products like egg, butter, and cheese to your list so you can make fresh pastries. The aroma of these items is soothing to everyone’s frayed nerves this period. Recipes abound on YouTube and other social media.
4. Gas for cooking and Diesel for generator: Make sure you have some diesel stored in the generator. Try to have gas ready for cooking, an electric burner as a backup, or a camping stove, if possible.
Note: Please remember to keep all combustible items outside your house and far from any buildings.
We hope these tips will help us organize our homes, our kitchens and our lives. As always, stay safe, practice social distancing, wipe down surfaces in your home daily and wash your hands often. We will get through this together.