Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Expounding on the Pantry:
Some questions were asked in regard to my previous post on stocking up and I thought I might as well expound in post form rather than comment form. I hate writing comments back to people because I never know if they actually check back, or if it is a waste of my time.
So~ Here's the scoop...
Thus far, my pantry consists of:
~Bulk spices, oats, flour, sugar, yeast and other baking supplies I happened to stock up on at a Mennonite store when we moved. These things are not packaged to last very long though. I am planning on putting an order into THIS place very soon. Their wheat and oats come in the handy storage bins. Obviously though-this requires a larger monetary investment than just picking up a few things here and there. This is why it is taking me longer.
~Dried bananas and apples. Nary a day has passed that my deydrator has not been working for us. I get TONS of bananas every time I am shopping and dehyrate them. Apples I buy less often because they are a bit more expensive, but still get them because I have discovered the joy of apple cinnamon apple chips. Yum! I'm telling you-these things are DEE-LISH!
~Household necessites. CVS stockups. Shampoo. Toothpaste. Laundry detergent. Toilet paper. ALL good things to have on hand "just in case". While I add things each week, I do ransack this almost each week too.
~Canned goods. Aldi has el cheapo cans of food and each week I just grab a cardboard tray and fill it up with a particular food. 12 cans and because of the tray~they are easy to transport AND easy to stack in the pantry. At Aldi prices, 12 cans ends up being 3-4 dollars. A very SMALL weekly investment, but I am watching the pile grow-and it's a good feeling. In the long run, if food is scarce for any reason and I see my family hungry, lack of money is going to be a sorry excuse-because that is just what it is. Three dollars is worth it in the end.
~Pasta, dried beans and split peas. Shelf-stable cheap things. Two of my favorite words. Oh-yeah-and good for you too.
~Things that have been on sale...and I took advantage. Peanuts were a big post-holiday sale item. Peanuts are also a good, filling, healthy thing to have on hand. Corn Syrup (Don't ask me WHY corn syrup would be marked down 75% after Christmas?!? It stores for AGES. I don't ask questions...I just jump.) Summer Sausage. Chocolate. I HAD several bags of peanut M&M's...but I won't tell you where they went. *blush* All these things are PERKS, adding variety and fun to the cupboard.
Right now~ we can reliably have bread, pasta, Krotenmenspek (not sure how to spell this Dutch meal of Beets and Potatoes), veggies, and lots of soups (for casseroles, stews, or just plain soup) and a few yummy snacks for a while.
While this is a good start (considering this is a very recent decision on our part) we have a tremendous way to go.
My personal goal is to have enough until springtime. About a 3-6 month supply. Since we are somewhat self-reliant and on the way to becoming moreso, I enjoy gardening, canning and so forth. Therefore, I am trying to store things that I won't be preserving LATER on. Once spring and summer comes, I can stock up on things we grow ourselves. I can dehyrate apples that fall from our very own tree. I can preserve our harvest by canning, freezing, drying, and storing cold weather foods. Hopefully, by that time as well, we will be able to have some chickens for eggs and enough money to purchase a beef and dairy cow. Lord willing. Even if we can not at that time have all (or any) animals, because we are able to live off the land through gardening, I am worried less about truly LONG term storage, at least on those things we can do ourselves.
There is still much to do. I have to find a reasonably prices electric grain mill and a Foodsaver vacuum sealer to help me in my efforts. Also~I need to find out if the pressure canner I have actually works.
I also liked this concept (part 3) of planning certain meals and stocking up on those necessary ingredients. Then, it isn't a free for all-and when the time comes, you aren't left with a case of stewed tomatos and nothing else to do with them. Frankly, stewed tomatoes don't sound very appealing to me! This is next on my to-do list.
I am also going to make a spreadsheet that details the item stocked, when it was added and when it expires. Hopefully, this will help with food rotation. We don't have money enough to stock up on food just for it to go bad.
Since this will be my first garden in TWO years~and it now has the added responsibility of feeding us THROUGH wintertime also--I have a LOT of research to do and a lot of PLANNING in preparation for spring.
That is about all I can think of to say, I hope I answered all your questions. If I didn't, just let me know.
Here is my disclaimer~ Only a month or so ago did Matt and I recognize this as a priority in our lives and so, I am JUST starting out on this (very interesting) path. I do not have all the answers. I am much less in the mentoring phase and much MORE in the learning phase. But I'll be happy to walk the path WITH you, and share all that I am learning as I go.