First off I would like to explain the cookie banner you might see on my blog. There are new privacy laws and we have to put this on our blogs. I just have this simple blog but the new rules are to protect people and I abide by the rules.
This blog post is about keeping an old fashioned pantry and a reminder post. This is not about being a Prepper, it is just about living as our generations before us did and living food prepared. We have our first tropical storm weather brewing in the gulf of Mexico. This is very early for one to start and this makes it possibly a long hurricane season.
When we live in our homes and cook our own meals we don't have to be elaborate with each meal or any meal for that matter.
But what we do need to have is food in the house to be able to make our meals. Many people today run back and forth to the grocery store and try to figure out each day what to make and this can become very frustrating. Many end up just eating out.
I like to keep a pantry. I realize that many people do not have a pantry but a pantry can be kept most anywhere. A shelf in the kitchen, a extra cabinet, a closet turned into a pantry a basement or under the bed if needed.
Our pantry is like a closet with shelves. It became cluttered and out of order and so a few weeks ago I started organizing our pantry once again. Above I was removing all the contents.
The big buckets are not working for me because they are heavy and makes rotation difficult. So I got busy and took everything out and with Charles help he removed some of the deep shelves because I feel that if they are too deep it makes it hard to put the new food to the back for rotation. Charles added some better side shelves so I could rotate our food easier. I got out the air sealer for jars and air sealed all that I could.
I want to say that we have learned many things with our history project of living like 1944. We have now studied the years 1942, 1943 and 1944. We understand the food rations and we experienced this for many months, especially when we did the year of 1943.
Above is a photo taken during ww2. Woman did all they could to can food during this time since food was rationed. People planted victory gardens all over the country. Home canned goods were not rationed. Sugar was rationed and sugar was needed to can jellies and some fruits but there was an extra allowance at times for during the season for canning fruits.
We are still doing our 1944 history project but we feel we do not need to ration from our pantry anymore as we need to use it normal for the times we live. We are still continuing to study and live a more 1940s life here at our house. We are going to look into the 1930s soon but during our history projects food storage will be important for us as we want to be responsible and prepared for grid outages.
Charles and I have a very small refrigerator, a dorm style and our 1920s ice box. Since we cannot find block ice we use our icebox to hold some of our home canned food. We do have a very small chest freezer we keep a small amount of frozen food but we are cautious of keeping too much in there in case of power outages. In the 1940s they did have electric refrigerators with tiny freezers but many people still used a non electric ice box.
After the repairs to the pantry, I got it all back in and I am showing you these pictures to show how we improved our small storage area and how I keep a pantry. I am no expert, this is just how we do at our house and what I have developed through many years of feeding a family. One thing I do not like to do is grocery shopping. I don't mind it so bad if I have a grocery list and a plan because I know I will not have to go back for awhile.
This shown above is a row of air sealed shredded coconut. I use it to make coconut milk.
Since we live in a hurricane area and we get hurricanes here and we need to stay on top of things but hurricanes are not the only events that can cause us to suddenly become off the grid. People get many types of weather disasters, some have fires and floods, tornadoes, blizzards and earthquakes. We all still have to eat no matter what kind of disaster might happen to cause a grid outage and if you think it will never happen to you then you might be one of the lucky ones or not.
What you will not see in our pantry is sodas and junk foods. No chips or snacks as we do not purchase those things because we make our own snacks. Even for an oncoming tropical storm or hurricane our pantry remains the same because we have the off grid equipment (camping stoves etc) to continue as normal as possible during a power outage.
There are many other reasons to keep a pantry and that could be a job loss or something simple such as a neighbor has an illness or a death in their family and you would like to take them a food dish or a meal. What if unexpected visitors come before dinner time? Today many people will just take them out to eat but what if we don't have the money to do that? Besides, I would rather offer them a homemade meal. I feel it is very sensible to keep a pantry.
We keep store bought canned items and we home can food ourselves and of course fresh food. We are not long term prepared here at our house I would consider this a seasonal pantry as they did in the past. People grew food during the spring, summer and fall all that they could and stored food for winter. They ate their fresh food while it was growing and also canned, dehydrated, salted, fermented and however else they found ways to preserve food until the next harvesting. Many people had underground root cellars that they used to keep harvested food.
We keep dry goods and I air seal all that I can in glass jars. Photo above is flour, rice and oatmeal. I can seal regular mouth jars and wide mouth but nothing larger.
I don't want to depend on refrigeration because if the power goes out we don't have long to use that food. For a refrigerator you would have to eat it right away and for a freezer it doesn't take long for that food to defrost.
We keep canned and fresh fruits..... I have another jar to the left of these jars shown with green bananas that will be ripening.
We keep fresh potatoes and onions and sweet potatoes, garlic and many fresh foods in our home because we eat a lot of fresh food. I also dehydrate and can food. This is a mini grocery store.
When we set up a home pantry many people cannot afford to just go out and buy everything. What we do is make choices in what we purchase. Leave off the soda and chips, cookies and such and buy a few extras of something that will stay on the shelf. If you eat canned corn or peas and you have 2 cans listed on your shopping list and you can afford then buy 4 cans for the pantry. Next time do the same and so on. Buy two bags of pasta instead of one bag.
This pantry is much smaller than it looks. It is 4 feet deep, looking straight in and 3 feet 8 inches wide.
Down on the floor I have wood boxes for harvested potatoes, ginger, turmeric, sweet potatoes and other food. Also melons are kept on the floor and the floor stays cooler so it helps for things to last longer. When the pantry door is closed it is dark. We will be putting harvested potatoes in the floor bins as we have just harvested our small potato crop.
We will brush the dirt off these potatoes today that we dug out of the garden box and put them in one of the wood boxes. I will layer these in flannel cloth. You can use newspaper or paper but I like to use flannel and just wash and dry it when needed so it is reusable.
Charles and I do eat cereal at times with a fruit so we keep cereal on the shelf but we also like oatmeal with apples and cinnamon, grits and eggs and sometimes cheese toast or biscuits and jam.. So we have it all available to make these things. Our eggs do not come fresh from chickens, we buy them at the store so we need to keep ours refrigerated. We do not keep a lot of eggs on hand and we can substitute other things for eggs.
Applesauce, Bananas, baking soda, vinegar can be egg substitutes.
1/4 cup of applesauce can be substituted for egg in cakes and muffins.
1/4 cup of mashed bananas sub for one egg.
Also baking soda and vinegar can be used as 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 tablespoon, water and 1 tablespoon white vinegar
I have a pancake recipe on my blog for eggless, dairy free pancakes.
We keep home canned meat and store bought meat. I am canning more meat because it tastes better but this will do should we have a long term power outage. I am working on this as I can in small batches due to back pain but I get it done eventually. Pressure canning meat is not that difficult, I normally raw pack and can our meat.
We need to eat the foods we keep so we can rotate this food that we store. If we have over bought on something and we see we cannot eat it before it expires we will donate to the food bank before it expires.
Most food is still good after the expiration, that is just a suggested us by date but we don't want to keep a pantry with a lot of expired food that is sitting losing its nutrients.
We keep food items that will help to make pantry meals have more flavor. We keep canned and also dehydrate peppers for meals that have peppers in the ingredients. When we get a new jar it goes to the back of the shelf with the date written on it.
Here above are some canned food that are good side dishes. The tomatoes could be used in a quick spaghetti or pasta dish.
Egg noodles is a good item to make a quick side dish or a skillet casserole. Garbanzo beans are next to the egg noodles to make hummus or just a snack of cooked Garbanzo beans or a side dish.
In a bind, several days of power outage a quick macaroni and cheese dish with some macaroni and a can of cheddar cheese soup. You could even add canned tuna or chicken and you would have a casserole. You can add whatever spices you like. Ok maybe that one was not a great sounding recipe but something I would make and eat if needed.
What about Chicken Quesadillas, now that is always good :) . Make some easy homemade tortillas and saute some onions and chicken and whatever else you want to add or just that. Flip it in half and cook it on a flat pan. Spam, onions and rice is always good.
Of course you do have your small emergency camp stove and fuel right?
There are many ways to have meatless meals from shelf stable foods. These two items make a good quick pasta dish. Add some fresh garlic..
Have some potatoes? Boil a couple, mash it up, chop up some onion, and egg or two, a couple of tablespoons of flour, salt and pepper and shallow fry it in some vegetable oil. These are tasty. If your grid is down and you need to use up some eggs you can do this if you don't have eggs then add some baking powder.
For the serious disaster and we might have to leave home we have these dehydrated meals. We have been slowly purchasing them in the camping section of Walmart. These you just add a small amount of boiling water stir and wait and you have a meal. This is where the small camp stove and gallon jugs of water will be needed. They are made by mountain house. I would consider this prepping.
I always write on the tops what is in a jar because grits, cornmeal, flour, sugar can all start looking similar when in a jar.
For our oatmeal I normally peel and cut up a fresh apple and cook it with a small amount of maple syrup and water and add cinnamon. If we don't have any fresh apples I take out a jar of canned apples that I canned.
Recently I tried these dried apple rings just to see how they do over the ones that I dehydrate. I realize many people do not have food dehydrators. These are good, they can be eaten as a snack or re-hydrate them in some boiling water and add some cinnamon, a little maple syrup if you like and they are tasty over oatmeal. Of course there are many other fruits and dried raisins and currants, prunes and such to go with oatmeal. We have all of these things on our shelves.
Some of our family members have food allergies and peanut, almond and cashews is a complete no no at our house. So we buy SunButter for easy sandwiches or snack. The only thing about sunbutter is it needs to be refrigerated after opening so I would need to bake cookies with what is left over. We need to find ways to make a refrigerated item usable after the grid goes out. Baking something is helpful and why we need a way to bake.
We can bake in a dutch oven, or big green egg or coleman oven and such as that and another reason why these are helpful items to have for power grid outages.
We can always make a cake to use up those eggs. :) But we need those camping items to cook and bake.
We have many jars of home dehydrated foods. Here is cabbage and it does well for us. I can rehydrate this and add it to a soup or just eat it cooked. I have dehydrated carrots and celery, apples, bananas, peppers and other things I cannot think of right now.
I air seal all of our dehydrated foods and such things as raisins. It keeps them fresh much longer.
I don't can butter because I am unsure of canning butter so we keep shelf stable Ghee in our pantry.
We have a couple of Coleman one burner camp stoves that we love to use. They are easy to just turn on and cook. We cook on our back porch with these stoves. We keep a supply of the cans of fuel that go in them. We also have a grill/oven, a big green egg. We made off grid cooking items a priority here at our house. We have purchased things along the way to build our off grid supplies even though we live in the city. Amazon sells many good camping cook stoves and ovens as well as walmart and Dicks sporting goods and other sporting goods places that sell camping supplies.
I keep dry milk, powdered, white and brown sugar stored. I have some air sealed and some not that I am using.
If the power goes out and we have fresh produce in the fridge and it looks like the power is going to be out long term I will take the produce and put it in paper bags and place it in a pan or bin and put it on the floor in the pantry to keep it dark and cool. Other foods will need to be used immediately as refrigerated food will spoil quickly. Just be food smart and do not take chances on something that can make you sick.
This is why we like to keep a pantry of non refrigerated foods. I try to keep onions, carrots, garlic and herbs growing in the garden. If I don't grow anything else, I try to keep these items growing. This past fall I did not grow carrots and I miss them terribly and we have just put in a new large raised container to grow our carrots.
One last thing I want to discuss is water. I have gone through many ways of trying to store water. Storing water is not easy and takes up a lot of space and unless you are fortunate to have a large basement or storage then it is a problem. The gallon jugs can puncture or leak and can cause issues. So check them often. But we also have two 50 gallon barrels filled with fresh water and a 65 gallon water container from tractor supply. Then we have many 5 gallon food grade buckets that we keep up against our brick wall under our carport. This makes me feel better to have this. We also have 5 - 50 gallon rain barrels.
We keep extra dog food stored in the pantry. Our dogs eat part homemade and part kibble for their food. This way should we have a long term outage or had to leave they could eat just kibble without having upset stomachs.
We live with and use city water but there are things that can happen to cause a water outage and we have had that to happen here a few times and had to go into our reserve.
Please do not rely on others to help you out if you did not plan for you or your family. Many people do not plan, go through life never giving it a thought and why there are so many long lines in a disaster. Those places that are there are set up for people that have lost their disaster supplies. Our Government has always told us to prepare for disasters and we should do so. I hope this helps in some way. Grandma Donna