Amid food shortages, every chef welcomes an ingredient that is readily available and less susceptible to market fluctuations. It’s a good time to fill your toolbox with some flexible, practical ingredients that can stretch your inventory. One example: plantains. They tend to be plentiful and affordable, and they add interest to dishes ranging from appetizers to entrées to desserts. But their best quality may be that they can be cooked at any stage of ripeness – so you can adapt them to changes in your menu, to shifting patterns in customer traffic and even to earlier- or later-than-expected shipments to your facility. Can you identify more powerhouse ingredients with similar qualities that might help you spread your inventory farther right now?