Grocery shopping in a time of quarantine | 9Lives
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While I’m not going to advise you to stock your bomb shelter until the second coming, it’s probably a good idea to fill your pantry with a couple of staples that could carry us through this viral apocalypse – or at least through a two week self-isolation period.

On the day after Mr President’s declaration, I was one of those who headed to Woolworths intent on securing at least the necessities to get my tiny family through this time. No, I didn’t take all of the toilet paper but I might have swiped all those Earth Friendly surface wipes.

There was a big challenge around food. Obviously it’s not smart to load your fridge with fresh produce that will probably go off before you get through it. On the other hand it’s also no good eating pasta for two weeks straight. In the end, here’s how I filled my trolley:

Canned Foods

Beans are a fantastic staple – high in protein and a great base for any dish. Baked beans on toast is a firm favourite.
Chickpeas – a great form of protein in a veggie curry, or blitz it up to make some hummus.
Whole peeled tomatoes – this variation has the most flavour.

Preserved Veg

Cured Beetroot – I’ve recently re-discovered this golden oldie and it’s fantastic in salads or on a burger with some blue cheese.
Achar – great as a side to a curry or meat
Kimchi – awesome as a spicy, sour flavour to a burger or noodle bowl.
Sauerkraut – perfect with a Bratwurst
Pickled onions – I love adding this to salads for a tangy flavour, or pop it on a cheese board. It goes especially well with cheddar.
Gherkins – a classic for a reason.

Frozen Veg

These veggies are frozen at their prime so you really score on nutrients and flavour. I especially love peas, mostly because my kid loves them, and they’re super quick to prepare.

Cupboard Veg

Some veggies have a long lifespan, especially if stored correctly. Remember to store root veg, squash and pumpkin in a dark cupboard and in a dark, breathable bag, which will extend the lifespan. These veg are great since you can always chuck them in a soup or stew when they start to go soft. I got some:

Sweet potato

Dried goods

Really think here. Buy dried goods that match the rest of your produce – how would you use it? I’ve had to chuck closed packs of expired rice because I never got around to eating it. Since I’m planning on prepping stews, pastas and general bowl-food, I got these:

Dried beans – a great source of protein and fibre
Whole wheat pasta
Brown rice
Nuts, which are great snacks and a fantastic ingredient to bulk up salads.

Most meat can easily be frozen and defrosted as you need. Again, think of how you would use these cuts so that they don’t end up going off. To go with stews, pastas and curries, I got
Chicken thighs and drumsticks
Chicken fillets
Slow-cook beef
Frozen salmon fillets, which are also a great dinner option for baba.
Cured meats like biltong, droewors and hams which are great for lunch times and snacks.

When push comes to shove, nothing beats a cheese sarmie. Cheese has a long fridge life and is a great source of protein. My go-to choices are:
Cream cheese

I’d love to know how you’ve stocked your pantry, fridge and freezer. Pop your suggestions in the comments below.


I am a lifestyle blogger from Cape Town trying to find the best ways to spend my time, take care of my body and express myself. I am slightly obsessed with fragrances, sneakers, Jamie Oliver and Masterchef Australia. Oh, and I probably drink way too much wine.

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