As all of us had to stay indoors for many weeks, it is evident how people, including myself are trying their hand at new things, being innovative, trying out new recipes which they never had time to make before, or home gardening with growing one’s own vegetables and fruits and even new business ideas to generate some extra cash. Some of us also work from home and if you’re in the media business, then going to office and other places to cover your stories from time to time as well. What I found really interesting is that, things we always took for granted, like those hundreds of seasonal mangoes from your home garden mango tree, the jackfruit you didn’t give a pittance for, the banana flowers from your back yard banana trees, the passion fruit leaves, the herbs in your home garden that grow abundantly like Karapincha, Hathawariya, Welpenela, Murunga leaves, and so many other varieties (I have all these in mine, most of them which I planted), have suddenly become so precious. Cooked properly, these can be delicious and healthy accompaniments to our daily meals. Did you know, I figured out a way to preserve the mangoes (of course after giving away so many to my neighbours as well), with making a really delicious mango chutney. This is fantastic with any meat dish be it a pork curry or chicken bake, and also, all those mangoes in excess, I just discovered that you can puree it to make a pulp and preserve in your freezer in plastic jars for up to one year. This pulp can be used in cheesecake toppings, mango puddings, mango mouses, etc. These discoveries come at a time when some people have no access to fruits and vegetables in some areas, even online orders take weeks to appear at your door, so to make full potential of the fruits or vegetables that you have access to or that come your way once in a while, just buy a kilo of carrots, beans and whatever you can preserve and keep. With this type of vegetable you can make pickles and store in jars. Another great longterm keep is brinjal. You can deep fry the brinjal and bottle it. Although we knew all this before, it was never really practiced rigorously as we had everything in abundance just a few minutes away. Of course meats you can keep for a number of days if cooked without coconut milk. A good fish ambul thial or miris maalu will last for over a week and a haal masso baduma or seeni sambal do wonders to any meal. These dishes come in handy not only in lockdown time, but if you’re a busy working mom and have to go to work daily as well. All you have to do is cook a fresh pot of rice, and a dhal or potato curry with your daily greens from the garden and serve the family with your preserved accompaniments.