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If your city or country is currently under lockdown, you might be finding it hard to shop the groceries you need as panic buyers strip the shelves of essentials. To help you plan your next grocery shop more efficiently, Zach Conrad, assistant professor in the Department of Kinesiology & Health Sciences at William & Mary, offers his tips on how to shop for groceries, mindfully.

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Don’t freeze milk

Although it’s ok to freeze most foods under the right conditions, it doesn’t work as well with milk. When you defrost it, you’ll find it separates and becomes slightly chunky, and it’s no longer the consistency you want for drinking. However, you can still use it for baking.

If you can’t find milk

If you can substitute milk for cream, then buy that, as it will last longer. Or, you could try plant-based alternatives, which also last longer and have a similar nutritional profile to milk.

Think about fruit

shop for groceries

Lots of people want to buy perishable fruit. But, remember you will have to think about how to store them and how long you can keep them. Peeled bananas freeze really well, but they don’t thaw well at all; use them to make smoothies or banana bread.

What about vegetables?

Foods like carrots, peas, and corn defrost pretty well, especially if you’re adding them to prepared dishes. On the other hand, defrosted broccoli is disappointing, as it gets soft, mushy, and loses its crunch. But, its nutritional value stays the same, so defrosted broccoli can be used to make a thick healthy soup; add some cheese, onions, and garlic for a really great meal.

If in doubt about freezing

Behind all this food hoarding are people who probably don’t have too much experience preparing food for long-term storage. There is a lot of work that goes into safely storing large amounts of food so that they’re ready to be defrosted, prepared, and consumed. A good option is to buy pre-frozen and canned goods because this can reduce your time and labour commitment, and can help reduce waste and can be great alternatives to fresh varieties. Just make sure to choose canned items that are low in sodium and added sugar.

Get creative

For people who have time and the right kitchen resources, this is the opportunity to expand the types of ingredients we typically use for our recipes in our foods. For example, if there are no onions, try shallots, which are essentially onions that are much smaller. This is a time to experiment with new ingredients and expand our palates.

This article is published via AFP Relaxnews.