With the current pandemic, most of us have come to realize the value of a well-stocked pantry. But we also recognized the importance of low-priced food items that offer us the most nutrition. Sure, asparagus taste great, but they are quite expensive. And seeing that they only last for about two days, they’re likely to spoil before you get to cook them. Luckily, we’ve rounded up various foods that are cheap, versatile, and will keep for a long time!

Potatoes

In most countries, potatoes are relatively cheap (the exception is a few Asian countries). For about $3, you get two pounds of potatoes – enough to make several meals. Not only can you make baked potatoes as a standalone dish, you can add them to soups, stews, and casseroles. A great way to stretch your dishes! It goes without saying that potatoes make up some of our favorite side dishes. French fries, mashed potatoes, and potato salad…need we say more? Store uncooked potatoes in a dark, dry place and they will keep for months!

Beans and legumes

Even though their popularity has increased, beans and legumes are still somewhat underutilized by most of us. They are a great source of protein, but unlike meat, they’re surprisingly cheap! If you are willing to make a little more effort, choose the dried variety. They are cheaper than the canned ones, and only need a good soaking. Don’t feel like going through the whole soaking process? Then go for lentils. They contain protein, fiber, and health-promoting polyphenols that are great for your heart! Both dried beans and lentils will keep for a year or more.

Rice

Rice has been a staple food for thousands of years. And even today, it’s still a favorite in many homes. And with good reason. Being a starchy carbohydrate, it makes for a filling meal.  It’s also packed with vitamins and minerals. In most countries, rice is relatively cheap. And get this, uncooked white rice will last for more than four years in your pantry, and will keep for up to 30 years when stored in the freezer!

Carrots

Carrots might not last as long as rice, but they still come out on top when compared to other fresh veggies. If you store them in your pantry, they will last for about 5 days. But store them in the fridge, and they will stay fresh for several weeks. Eat them raw, as a side dish, or add to soups and casseroles. They’re even good enough for dessert…who doesn’t love carrot cake?

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