Keeping a well stocked pantry is one thing, using that food before it goes out of date or spoils is what must be kept balanced when keeping a stocked pantry.
I removed the old pantry post because it was almost six years old and a lot has changed in the last six years. Mostly learning more about what is in processed food.
If you don't have a pantry you can convert a closet into a pantry.
My goal with our pantry is to have the basic ingredients to make the basic foods that we eat.
There may be times when we need our pantry to carry us through.
I believe in food storage but only the amount we can
keep rotated properly and not have food to go bad. I would like to say
that getting our pantry to the stage we are at this time has not been
easy. Food is expensive for us too and if we could afford it everything
in our pantry would be organic but we have to make choices and buy the organics
we can afford and then the next best thing and we do this by not purchasing sodas, cookies and snacks. The jars above to the left are dehydrated bananas and dehydrated apples. These do very well in food storage for us because I air seal them.
We stay busy working in the yard trying to grow as many vegetables as we can in our very limited space.
How much food we should store depends on the size of our families. Our potato storage bin holds ten pounds of potatoes. I layer paper and paper towels between the potatoes. When we get down to about five pounds left we remove all the remaining potatoes and put a new five pound bag down in the bottom and the others on top. Always checking the potatoes before placing them in the bin.
Potatoes or rice come in handy when you need food to stop the hunger.
Keeping a pantry saves us money because we can cook all our meals from home. It is extremely rare for us to eat out and we like it that way. When you have stored food in a pantry you can ride out hard times and you can wait for things to go on sale. Keeping a stocked pantry is a very good thing.Everyone has their own needs, family size and taste preference matters when keeping a pantry. There is no one size fits all when keeping a pantry.
I hope I can at least give you some suggestions and help you to make your own decisions when keeping a pantry. I am not promoting any particular products these are items that are available in my area and we change brands off and on. These brands are what we have in our pantry the day I took these photos. One big thing about keeping a stocked pantry is do not buy anything you don't like to eat.
There are many reasons to keep some type of food storage, to me it is mostly because it makes sense. There are storms, and natural disasters that could occur making it difficult to get to a store. There are hard times for many reasons and having a food storage can help us over the humps in the road and the gullies in the fields. Our generations before us stocked up on dry goods as some did not get to a store that often. In the past people did not shop as often as we do today. It concerns me how many people do not keep staple foods in their home. They will be in big trouble getting by in any kind of an emergency.
We have been keeping a pantry for many years, I thought that I would share our good and bad experiences with keeping a pantry in hopes of saving you some money.
First I always mark a expiration date on any item that goes into the pantry. I learned through the years that you must rotate everything when something new comes in to the the pantry. That means if you don't feel like removing all the items and putting the new items in the back of the old items then you need to wait until the next day to do it properly so it is always rotated.
Always keep the item that is going to expire first in the front. Pictured above is the last cans for 2015 so we have done pretty good rotating this year because this is November as I am writing this and there are only a few cans left dated 2015.
I vacuum seal many items that we keep in the pantry so they can stay on the shelf longer.
We always keep dried assorted beans in jars and vacuum seal them as well.
I also vacuum seal our oatmeal as well as brown sugar.
We canned and froze quite a bit year before last from our small garden. But did not do as much this past year. This is pear preserves on top and pear relish on bottom.
These are pickles that we canned from our cucumbers that we grew over a arbor in our backyard. We don't make a lot of anything like people with large gardens but something is better than nothing.
This is dehydrated corn air sealed in a canning jar.
The pantry should contain fresh foods too such as onions and apples as shown above.
Sweet potatoes, garlic, bananas, and other fruit, foods that do not have to refrigerated.
We keep our five gallon buckets on the bottom floor of the pantry. The buckets keep flour, rice, sugar and extra pasta. We are actually storing less pasta than we use to because now we mostly make our noodles.
There have been a few times through the years that we see ahead that we cannot use up something we have bought. This would occur when we bought something in bulk, not thinking it through. Before it has time to expire we donated it to the food bank so someone that needs it can use it.
Another thing to remember when storing dry goods such as flour and rice. Some times small bugs can be in the flour or rice that comes unnoticed from the grocery store. We had two buckets of goods one year to go bad due to bugs. One was flour and one rice. After the loss we purchased large ziplock bags and put each bag of rice and each bag of flour in a zip lock before putting them into the bucket. We have never had this problem since.
We also store extra dog food in our pantry. We always keep at least one full bag put back if not two of dry food and some canned food because we would feel terrible if something happened and we had no food to feed our babies.
We have given much thought for the things we keep in our pantry. If someone has a special occasion, a new neighbor moves in, someone gets sick. I can go to the pantry instead of the store to make a cake, a pie or a simple meal.
We don't store junk food, such as chips, cookies, sodas or snacks. we make our snacks and cook as much as we can from scratch. I keep cocoa to whip up a cake, brownies or cookies.
We keep the things that make the food we eat. Those things to make snacks and such.
There are certain foods that do not have a very long shelf life so it is important to know what they are so we don't stock up with too many or else they will go out of date before they can be used up such as canned or powdered milk or canned or boxed broths. Look at the expiration dates on any food you purchase at the grocery store.
This summer was not good for me health wise so I did not put up jelly or relish like I did before....
So little by little we stocked the pantry with store bought fruit jelly and preserves. This is three rows back so there are 24 jars here. Why? If something bad happens it is very comforting to have biscuits and jelly. We already had one bad event this year when a very bad storm came through our town and knocked out power and made a mess in our neighborhood and all over our town. It was hard to get anywhere and some of the nearby grocery stores had to close. We have a way to bake without power and baking biscuits with jelly to boot is a good thing to have.
It is important to think of what we would do in an emergency, how would we cook, clean up? Wash and dry clothes? At our house, we would do it the old way, as they did in the past and just keep on going.
To me it is better to eat a simple sandwich and a glass of water than to eat something that you cannot pronounce.
There is most always something growing at our house. It may be in a small pot or raised bed or small plot in the front yard. But normally something eatable is growing.
Cabbage and pepper plants that are still producing a few peppers.
Carrots in the raised bed garden as well as cabbages.
We most always have carrots growing somewhere in our backyard.
It is nice to go out and pull up a fresh snack and our bunny loves the tops as well as the carrot.
We have to say goodbye to our fresh basil because it will not grow in freezing weather. I Hope this helps you to get your food supplies in order :)
Fresh foods are the best food for us but keeping the staples and basic foods in a pantry can keep you going in between times you shop or times of need.