6 Kitchen Essentials for COVID-19 Quarantine
We’re all staying home to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, so for the first time in a long time, many of us are having to cook. Not only can we take this time to share more meals with family and friends, but we can also come out of this potentially scary situation with a new, important skill set. Here are the 6 kitchen essentials you’ll need during the coronavirus quarantine to take a more proactive approach to your meal prep.
Large Appliances to Power Through Your Pantry
With stay at home orders taking effect, expert nutritionists are recommending that everyone stock up on frozen foods. Slow and steady will win the race, so think meats that will last well into the summer for grill outs, and fruits and veggies for immune-building supplements.
For these items, you’re going to want to call in the big guns, or at least ensure your current equipment is functioning efficiently: extra food storage like a freezer or refrigerator to preserve your new groceries, and a full range oven or stove to fit family-sized portions. If you’re symptomatic and isolating away from your family in your home, a mini-fridge and microwave can be invaluable as you recover.
By learning to value nutrition, you can use the quarantine to adapt and come out stronger. See our Large Kitchen Appliances Buying Guide to decide what tools can empower your kitchen in your pursuit of a more thoughtful diet and a healthier lifestyle.
Small Appliances to Serve Quickly and Store Easily
For apartment-friendly appliances, look to convenient, one-and-done kitchen items like juicers, air fryers, and toasters. These practical, panic-free tools are perfect if the word “homemade” strikes fear into your heart, or you’re someone who always offered to bring cups and ice to potlucks.
Small appliances provide the incentive to stay productive and bring joy to your meals. You can dump all those quarantine-ready dry goods into a slow cooker for huge helpings of a comforting chili or pot roast. Or start each morning with optimism by blending up a refreshing smoothie. Specialty appliances like a waffle makers or steamer are always an easy go-to when your skill level is low (or your mojo – with the isolating effects of quarantine, we don’t blame you).
Check out our Top 10 Must-Have Small Appliances for Your Kitchen to find your readymade chef.
Pots, Pans, and Utensils to Mix and Measure
A cookware set and kitchen gadget toolkit each make a quick, simple solution to account for all the essentials you’ll need in quarantine. That way you’re not caught off guard when you need a colander or a can opener. As a cheaper alternative, you can still get pretty far with a skillet, a stock pot, and a baking sheet. For short-term culinary adventures, aluminum foil pans are big enough for heaps of food and can be thrown out afterward to avoid clean-up. A chef’s knife, cutting board, and measuring cups will cover most of your prep.
Match your cookware material to your type of stove – some metals are more prone to rust, staining, or corrosion, while some are easier to clean or better for high-heat cooking. Learn more in our Cookware Buying Guide.
While you’ll want plenty of hearty, flavorful foods to strengthen your immune system – baked goodies are just as important. From muffin tins to cake pans, don’t forget a bakeware set and decorating tools to help nourish your soul during this extended home stay. Baking is also a fun, interactive educational activity to keep the quarantined kiddos entertained.
Outdoor Cooking to Get Fresh Air
For some of us, smoky and charred are the only flavors we’re capable of creating. But for others, it’s an art form. If you’re a grill master or hope to be, outdoor cooking is a restorative experience that allows you to enjoy the outdoors while still practicing social distancing.
Whether you’re smoking bbq and grilling burgers on your balcony, roasting s’mores over a fire pit, or installing a deluxe outdoor pizza oven on your back patio, there are sizeable options for outdoor kitchens. Check out our guide to Outdoor Cooking Essentials for a full breakdown of how you can dine al fresco during quarantine.
Food Storage to Make the Most of Stock
Now to sort all those pantry items you bought in emergency preparedness. Accessories like a pot rack, Lazy susan, or kitchen cart can all help create cabinet space for dry goods. Once room is cleared, mason or canning jars, storage canisters, and spice racks are all attractive sorting systems to prevent clutter and encourage usage. Knowing How to Organize Your Kitchen will help you to avoid waste, which is more important than ever. With travel restrictions and business closures, we all have limited access to resources. Be honest with your expectations of what you and your family can reasonably get through before expiration dates.
That being said, sometimes you just want to take the night off. While cooking at home is a money saver, takeout is still available and a great way to support local businesses during the pandemic. Tupperware, glassware, and ziplock baggies can come to your rescue when those restaurant portions prove to be massive. And at the end of the week (or a particularly rough day of self-isolation), those leftovers will be there waiting for you again.
Cleaning Products to Stay Hygienic
With more homecooked meals comes the dirty dish pile-up – a dish rack can simplify your process. Don’t forget to have soap, dishwasher pods, or dish soap on hand, and a few washcloths or scrubbers to dig into your dinnerware (compostable bowls and plates are a time-saving alternative). Always disinfect your counters with wipes and cleaning solutions after cooking.
Again, don’t buy in excess. Hoarding the cleanliness items in your community means your neighbors have less. This means those close to you will only continue to catch and spread disease. For safe cleanliness practices, check out our guide to Spring Cleaning Tips During Self-Quarantine.
For all the uncertainties around coronavirus, one thing’s for sure: we’re in this for the long haul. But you can find a sense of control in finally slowing down. Now that you’re not rushing to suck down ramen on your lunch break or speed through the drive-thru to get dinner on the table, you have a chance to eat what you want, just how you’d like it. By investing in an efficient kitchen setup, you’re well on your way to eating clean and feeling happy.
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