Organic Chef and Lifestyle Expert
Here, chef and Organic Authority.com founder Laura Klein shares her tips on creating a well-stocked organic pantry that will help you put together a great meal at a moment's notice.
If you wear multiple hats and are a busy parent, executive, spouse or individual, preparing a meal last-minute for guest can be a source of stress. Take out the stress by keeping a well-stocked pantry, and make it organic while you're at it. Not only will it be free of toxic pesticides and chemicals, but you will have delicious, high quality organic foods available at your finger tips.
You can also keep a few ingredients on hand to make your favorite recipes, but don't let traditional recipes restrict your inner creativity. Use recipes as a guide and make it your own by using your favorite, delicious, organic ingredients.
What's great about stocking quality ingredients is that when friends drop in or the kids come home hungry, you can be ready to share your favorite foods with others at a moment's notice.
STOCKING YOUR ORGANIC PANTRY
When it comes to stocking a pantry, traditionally there have been two categories: perishables and non-perishables. I have added a third category, superfoods. Perishables are things like fresh vegetables, butter, and any other items that will spoil if not stored in a refrigerator or sealed up in your pantry. You’ll need to keep your eye on them so you can purchase them weekly when you start to run low.
Most of these items are now available in the organic aisle and make a great place for you to start your organic food shopping. Remember, shop for in-season produce and veggies and buy local. This will save you money on purchases and ensure you are getting the most delicious foods on the market. And you'll be supporting your local economy.
Shopping in-season also means you may have to adjust your menu planning as the seasons change, but this can prompt you to try new recipes—it’s a cooking adventure!
Non-perishables—like beans, rice, and flour—are all ingredients that can be stored nearly indefinitely in your pantry, allowing you to stock up on them months in advance. Here, too, there are many organic options now readily available in most grocery stores, with few restrictions based on season.
Superfoods are foods that are packed with nutrients. Some Superfoods you may be familiar with – they may be everyday fruits or vegetables. Other SuperFoods may be new. Pick a few you like and find fun ways to get them into your meals.
Keep a list of these basics handy so you can review it before a grocery shopping trip. That way, at a glance you can determine what pantry basics you’re missing and what you’ve got enough of. And of course, be sure to choose organic varieties whenever you can!
Happy shopping … and cooking!
About Laura Klein
Biting into a fresh-from-the-farm, in-season heirloom tomato quite literally changed Laura Klein’s life.
In 2003, Laura attended the New School of Cooking in Culver City, CA, a truly life-altering experience that put her on a one-way path to green advocacy and sparking an unstoppable ardor for communicating the positive health impacts of living green to the masses.
Awestruck by the superior flavor and quality of organically grown produce, pasture-fed meat and sustainably harvested fish, there was no turning back for Laura to inferior conventionally grown foods.
She discovered that non-organic farming, with its herbicides, pesticides and other chemicals, is deeply destructive to the planet, animals – and human health and creates nutritionally deficient food; a realization that created a paradigm shift in her life.
If toxic chemicals are poisoning our food and water supplies, and radically depleting the earth, Laura began to wonder, what chemicals and toxins lurked in her trusted home care cleaning products? Or her beauty products? Or ‘basics,’ like toothpaste, shampoo and even a bar of soap?
“I began to wonder how all of these ‘invisible’ ingredients, ones that we use repeatedly, day after day, impact my health, my family, and the health of the world around me.”
The answers shocked her. Delving into research, Laura soon learned that dangerous chemicals are present in every single area of our lives. So eager to share her burgeoning knowledge of these invisible toxins, Laura launched OrganicAuthority.com in 2005. A labor of love, Laura’s grass roots online effort now reaches tens of thousands of followers and readers and continues to grow.
Laura is Publisher of www.OrganicAuthority.com and the web mistress for the subscription membership site, LauraKlein’sGreenClub.com, which will launch soon. She has developed her own line of home and car cleaning products, available on www.LauraKleinsGreenCleaning.com. She is also a regular speaker at green seminars and events as well as the host of the television show Better Living with Laura Klein.