Summer is fast approaching and with it comes an abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables. It's the perfect time to take quick walks to the store to pick up a few seasonal items for a simple and easy throw-together meal. While spice racks give us fabulous flavours to play with no matter the season, summer offers its own set of pantry essentials to stock up on. With that in mind, the team at Bentall Kennedy Residential Services has 5 seasonal pantry items for you to stock up on this summer.
Good Quality Meat
If there's one thing that defines summer, it's the BBQ. Whether you opt for charcoal, propane, or natural gas, there are few who can resist the aroma of barbecued foods. Markets and grocers offer specials throughout the summer months to entice you to grill more. Stock up on good quality sausages (pork and turkey), chicken thighs and drums, stewing beef (that actually makes for great kabobs) and pork loin (both of which drop in price in the summer months). Even when meat prices are high, buying frozen portioned meat in bulk can cut down on costs and ensure you have something tasty to grill all summer long.
With many types of fruit and veg in season during the summer, most of us opt to enjoy the abundance fresh. While gorging yourself on fresh cherries is an amazing way to spend a summer day, resist the urge to eat it all right away and opt to portion some of it out and store it for fall and winter instead. There are many ways to enjoy summer produce year round including freezing, canning, pickling and dehydrating. Most summer produce items are cheaper in summer than in fall and winter, making them worth preserving. Frozen berries not only last longer, they add a burst of flavour to shakes, breakfasts, and desserts. Frozen basil, cilantro, or mint can be added directly to pasta sauces and soups. Corn can be frozen on the cob or removed and stored for use in salads and stirfrys. Even zucchini and cucumbers can be sliced and frozen for future use! Eating in season also helps reduce your carbon footprint and support local farms and businesses.
Sea (or Coarse) Salt and Black Pepper
While these simple items might seem a little pedestrian, there's nothing better than freshly cracked pepper and a coarse sprinkling of salt on pretty much anything you could ever eat. Gordon Ramsey (not to mention basically every chef ever) will season basic meat dishes with only these two items. When you want to let the freshness and quality of a food item shine, including the manner in which it is cooked (barbecuing for example), all a piece of meat, fish, or veg really needs is these two staple spices. While standard table salt, and generic black pepper certainly deliver, a pantry stocked with coarse salt and peppercorns can't be beat for seasoning classic summer staples like steaks, fish, chicken, and portobello mushroom burgers.
Fresh herbs and spices
Nothing says summer like the smell of fresh herbs! Stock up on herbs like parsley, basil, cilantro, mint, thyme, rosemary, and sage at high harvest in summer and store them for the dreary months to come -- they'll add a burst of fresh flavour to your fall and winter meals. It takes a bit of work to prep them for storage - removing leaves from stalks, chopping in a food processor, hanging to dry, or molding into cubes - but the result is well worth the effort. Serious Eats has a good guide on how to freeze herbs here.
While it's not a traditional "pantry" item, beer is an iconic staple of summer. With the explosion of craft brewing in recent years, it's become commonplace for breweries to whip up seasonal batches that allow their artistry to shine and appeal to the needs (and traditions) of certain times of year. While stouts reign in winter, crisp and hoppy IPAs and APAs, radlers, and refreshing lagers dominate the summer. Buying a few extra growlers of your favourite beers will ensure you're well stocked for summer gatherings. We also recommend that you try cooking with beer -- it will give your dishes body and complexity. Check out Taste of Home's collection of recipes that feature beer here.
The Bentall Kennedy Residential Services blog team hopes these summer pantry essentials find their way into your home this year. They'll help you prep for a stellar summer, not to mention a more enjoyable fall and winter. For more information about Bentall Kennedy properties in your city, please visit our website