Stocking A Kosher “Pantry”

For all intents and purposes, the second wave of Covid-19 has arrived. That being the case, there are two primary reasons to stock up on kosher food in one shopping excursion. First, manufacturer’s supply chains can be negatively affected. By stocking up on kosher food you can become immune to this. Second, to avoid unnecessary exposure to Covid-19, stocking up on kosher food in one trip as opposed to many will lessen your vulnerability to Covid-19.

In the food world, stocking up, is also referred to as filling the pantry. Pantry staples specifically refer to non-perishable foods that can be stored for long periods of time. Most often these non-perishable goods are stored in the pantry or freezer (though it can apply to the refrigerator as well depending on the food items).

In a recent interview, Melissa Clark, the food columnist for the New York Times, discussed the pantry phenomenon. She spoke about non-perishables and noted that simplicity is the key when it comes to pantry preparation. She said it’s important to keep tabs on where your items are, so that this way when you’re ready to cook up a recipe, everything is easily accessible.

This isn’t the first time civilization was challenged with food shortages. Dan Pasham, who hosts a food podcast, spoke with The Takeaway and noted that historically, over the centuries, people often struggled due to scarcities of food yet adapted. Kimberly Guise, an expert in historical food scarcities, points to World War II as an example of how people adapt and improvise with what they have.

The stocking should be done by category, in organized fashion, so that you can have a precise accounting of where everything is located. The categories should be baking essentials, dry goods, refrigerator items, if applicable, spices, and canned and frozen goods.

For baking essentials, some of the items you want to store are baking powder, brown sugar, cake mixes and vegetable oils.

For dry goods, some items to store are apple sauce, dried fruits, grains and nuts.

For the refrigerator, realize that the longest shelf life will probably be for your butter that could last up to 9 months. Milk will only last about a week after the expiration date and yogurt a bit longer.

For spices, you want to stock up on all the basics, including chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder and paprika.

In terms of canned goods, you want to cover the basics like beans, olives, diced tomatoes and tomato paste. Frozen items should include frozen vegetables and meats.

We picked two OU kosher certified companies, both located in Pennsylvania, to showcase their staple canned pantry items, accompanied by their recipes for the featured products. The first, Hanover Foods, family owned since 1924, lives by the motto, “From Our Fields, to Your Table.” It lies on fertile agricultural lands located 5 miles north of the Mason-Dixon line in Hanover, PA. The second company is Furmano’s, located in Northumberland, PA, where the North and West branches of the Susquehanna river meet. They are a family owned business that prides itself on their tomato crop.

Beginning with Hanover, one essential canned pantry product that they sell is Dark Red Kidney Beans. It’s high in protein and fiber. The company offers a recipe to make Quick N’ Easy Chili using these Dark Red Kidney Beans.

EQUIPMENT

  • Heavy Saucepan

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 lb Ground Beef
  • 2-15.5 oz Hanover Foods Dark Red Kidney Beans
  • 3-8 oz Cans of Tomato Sauce
  • 1 cup Chopped Onion
  • ½ tsp Black Pepper
  • 1 Clove of Garlic Ground/Cut Up
  • 2 tsp Chili Powder

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Brown ground beef in a heavy saucepan, drain.
  2. Add onion and garlic and cook until tender.
  3. Add remaining ingredients and simmer for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally.

A second canned pantry staple item that Hanover sells is Garbanzo Beans that are a good source of iron. The company gives a recipe for Vegan Peanut Butter Bars that can be made with these beans.

EQUIPMENT

  • Oven
  • 8×8 Inch Pan
  • Large Bowl
  • Cooking Spray

INGREDIENTS

  • 15 oz Hanover Foods Garbanzo Beans rinsed and drained
  • ½ cup Peanut Butter all natural
  • ⅓ cup Pure Maple Syrup
  • 2 tsp Vanilla
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • ¼ tsp Baking Powder
  • ¼ tsp Baking Soda
  • ⅓ cup Vegan Chocolate Chips
  • 2 tbsp Sea Salt for sprinkling

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F°, and spray 8×8 inch pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Add all ingredients in a large bowl except chocolate chips and mix until batter is smooth.
  3. Fold in chocolate chips.
  4. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan then sprinkle 2 tablespoons of chocolate chips on top.
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean and edges are a tiny bit brown.
  6. Cool and sprinkle with sea salt then cut into squares.

The second company, Furmano’s, carries many vegetable products and prides themselves on their tomato crop.

One product to begin with is Furmano’s canned Whole Peeled canned Tomatoes  that are low in calories and saturated fats. The company provides a recipe for Tomato Pie that can be made with these peeled canned tomatoes.

Ingredients

  • DOUGH
  • 3 1/2 cups All Purpose Flour
  • 2 teaspoons Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Rapid-Rise Yeast
  • 2 1/4 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 1/2 cups Water
  • SAUCE
  • 2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 tablespoons Unsalted Butter
  • 2 teaspoons Minced Garlic
  • 1 tablespoon Dried Oregano
  • 1 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
  • 3 1/2 cups Furmano’s Canned Whole Peeled Tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon Sugar
  • 1/4 cup Onion
  • As Needed Kosher Salt
  • 1/4 cup Finely Grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • 2 cups Furmano’s Whole Peeled Tomatoes, Sliced, From Separate Can
  • 2 tablespoons Chopped Basil

Preparation

  1. For the dough: Combine flour, salt, and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment. Whisk to combine.
  2. Add olive oil and water. Knead on low speed just until dough comes together, about 3 minutes
  3. Let dough rest for 10 minutes.
  4. Then knead once more on low speed for 10 minutes. Dough should pull away from sides of bowl but stick to bottom.
  5. Remove dough hook, cover top of mixing bowl tightly with plastic wrap, and let rise in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours and up to 24 hours. Meanwhile, make the sauce.
  6. For The Sauce: Heat olive oil and butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat until butter melts.
  7. Add onions, garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes.
  8. Cook, stirring constantly, until softened and fragrant, about 1 minute.
  9. Roughly puree Furmano’s Whole Peeled Tomatoes in a food processor or blender and add to saucepan.
  10. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until rich and thick, about 45 minutes.
  11. Season to taste with kosher salt. Allow to cool in fridge while dough rises.
  12. Two hours before baking, remove dough from fridge. Generously grease the inside of a 13- by 18-inch rimmed baking sheet with olive oil (about 3 tablespoons).
  13. Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface. Form into flat ball and transfer to baking sheet.
  14. Using your hands, coat the ball on all sides with olive oil.
  15. Loosely cover the baking sheet with plastic and let dough rise in a warm spot for 1 hour. The dough should spread out.
  16. Carefully stretch and push the dough into the corners and edges of the pan.
  17. Cover loosely, and let rise for 1 hour longer.
  18. Meanwhile, adjust oven rack to upper middle position and preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  19. When dough has risen, gently dock center with fingertips and use your hands to create a risen ridge about 1-inch wide around the edge.
  20. Spread sauce generously over dough, leaving the raised 1-inch edge un-sauced.
  21. Add sliced tomatoes on top of sauce.
  22. Bake until edges are light golden brown and crisp, about 20 minutes total, rotating pan once half way through baking.
  23. Remove from oven and allow to cool at room temperature for at least 15 minutes.
  24. Sprinkle with Romano cheese (a high quality OU kosher certified Romano cheese would be Grated Romano from The Cheese Guy), cut into slices, and serve.

Another staple canned product would be Furmoano’s Spaghetti Sauce – Italian Style. It has protein, Vitamin A and iron. The company presents a recipe to make Crepes Florentine with this product.

Ingredients

  • CREPES
  • 2 each Eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups Milk
  • 3/4 cup All Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon Crushed Basil
  • FILLING
  • 10 ounces Frozen Chopped Spinach, Thawed & Drained
  • 8 ounces Mozzarella Cheese, Shredded
  • 8 ounces Ricotta Cheese
  • 3 1/2 cups Furmano’s Italian Style Spaghetti Sauce
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese, Shredded
  • 1 each Egg

Preparation

  1. FOR THE CREPES: In a bowl, mix all the ingredients for crepes.
  2. Cook crepes on a buttered griddle.
  3. FOR THE FILLING: In a 13″x9″ baking dish, spread 1/4 cup of Furmano’s Italian Style Spaghetti Sauce.
  4. In a bowl, combine the spinach, mozzarella, ricotta and egg.
  5. Fill the basil crepes with spinach, cheese, and egg mixture.
  6. Roll up crepes and arrange in baking dish.
  7. Top with remaining Furmano’s Italian Style Spaghetti Sauce and parmesan cheese.
  8. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes.

In these times we must hope for the best but be prepared for the worst. In times of Covd-19, every effort must be made to stock up with enough kosher food in case of food shortages. By following the pantry model, food can be organized and stored in precise fashion. In this way one will be prepared for any unforeseen circumstances.

 

Steven Genack
Steven Genack has worked at OU Kosher for nearly ten years with a specialty in ingredients. He is an attorney and former editor of a newspaper who continues to contribute articles to numerous Jewish publications. During a summer session at Harvard University, one of the disciplines he studied was journalism. He is the author of an upcoming book relating to his family’s Torah. He has a wide array of interests including playing tennis, golf and basketball and reading biographies and memoirs. He has worked with special needs children in the past and feels passionate about their causes. He is currently working on a few books.