Creating a pantry that is “plant-based friendly” is often an eye-opening experience. You will find that you have a very large number of items to choose from and you’ll be well rewarded when dinner time comes around! Most of these items will keep for several months to a year depending on how they are packaged. Choose organic and non-GMO whenever you can. Once you find your favorites, buy in bulk to save on packaging.
Check labels to make sure products contain no animal products, dairy or eggs. Here are a few animal products to watch out for: Honey, rennet, casein, gelatin, whey, refined sugar, lactic acid.In general stay away from isolates, hydrogenated or fractionated products, modified foods, autolyzed yeast, sulfites and high fructose corn syrup. If you can’t pronounce an ingredient, it’s probably best not to buy the product!
Equipping the Plant-Based Kitchen
Is it time to upgrade the tools in your kitchen? There are a lot of options out there that will make your kitchen life a lot easier and more efficient. Below are some guidelines and suggestions. If you’re starting from scratch or just need an excuse to get some new kitchen equipment, buy the best quality items you can afford; they may cost a little more to begin with but will last decades if you take care of them.
Pots and Pans
A good, heavy gauge set of pots and pans with lids is probably the most important thing in your kitchen. Look for stainless steel or anodized aluminum with a thick bottom that distributes heat evenly. The set should include 2-3 different sized sauce pans, 1-2 non-stick skillets and a soup pot. If the set is all metal, it could also be used in the oven and under the broiler – though non-stick pans should not be used in the oven.
Cast iron is an inexpensive option. Cast iron transmits heat well and can also be used in the oven. Be sure to season cast iron pans and keep them well oiled so that they don’t rust.
A wok with lid is very versatile to have since it can be used as a steamer, a stir-fry pan, a sauce pan, and (if all metal and non-stick) in the oven.
Pressure cookers are great devices for making food fast as well as for canning. They are especially useful for preparing beans and grains. Look for heavy gauge stainless steel with multiple safety features – or a plug-in countertop version.
There are several different on-line weights and measures conversion tables. Here are a few:
To use Google's built-in calculator function, simply enter the calculation you'd like done into any Google search box. For example type in 4 lbs in kg or 1 tbsp in tsp
The result will appear in the Google search engine results.
This chart provides an average estimated range of times for cooking beans with various methods. Times will vary due to size, age and dryness of the bean, elevation and desired softness.