Monday, February 23, 2009

Food Storage

The kitchen pantry

I've had food on my mind a LOT the last little bit.

The larger kitchen pantry

In the past week I've purchased:
25 pounds white sugar
75 pounds white flour
1 pound baking powder
36 cans vegetables
10 cans spaghetti sauce
25 pounds Krusteaz (umm...I grind my own wheat for goodness sake. Why do I purchase pancake mix??)
6 cans coconut milk
1/2 pound curry powder
16 pounds spaghetti
25 pounds jasmine rice

Bulk sugar and flour for immediate use, and long-term storage hard red winter wheat, canned

I received a challenge recently to write down 10 meals my family likes, and make sure I have the ingredients to make each meal THREE times. Then...BOOM. You have have a month's worth of food stored in your pantry! A few people scoff- "I only eat fresh food." Yes, that's very true. And it's very good for you, and probably the best thing you could do.

Last summer's canning, plus a few extras: rasberry jam, cantaloupe preserves, marmalade, mint jelly, strawberry jam, chokecherry syrup, apple butter, chow chow, apple sauce, and apple pie filling

But what do you plan to do if the grocery store has no fresh food, or you have no power and can't store it in the refrigerator? We know grocery stores only stock so much, and they depend on trucks coming through every day or so, and they depend on electricity flowing to their coolers.

Well, they WERE on sale...

We sat down to write our meals as a family tonight (well, Ernie just wanted chicken nuggets and rice for the rest of her life) and were surprised we could only come up with 5 meals I make on a regular basis. But you know what, we're OK with that.

Our meals:
pinto beans and rice (a nice, complete protein)
chili and rice (again, a complete protein. If we have company, I throw in half pound ground beef)
spaghetti with meatballs and homemade french bread
coconut curry (we've used prawns, but this could be combined with chicken, or even lentils) and rice

The best way to store things short-long-term: free buckets from the grocery bakery, plus a gamma seal lid.
This is the bulk wheat we use to make our bread, I fill a smaller kitchen container from here every two weeks.

So this week I'll be checking our pantry, making sure we have enough on hand to make each meal 6 times, along with enough to make our daily bread (wheat, naan, corn bread, biscuits, french bread) and breakfast foods like oats, cold cereal, and grits.

Oh dear- our stash of "prepared foods" plus quart-sized Ziplocs. I use SO MANY of those to freeze fresh produce during the summer.

Eventually, the goal is to have three months' worth of food stored in our cupboards, and a years' supply to long-term storage food. Did you know, properly stored, that wheat, rice, oatmeal, powdered milk, sugar, and beans can last over 30 years? At least well enough to sustain life?

We go through about 25 pounds of flour every month- I'm the family baker. We normally make two loaves per batch (about 3 batches a week), and one loaf goes out the door from each batch. I LOVE it! What good is baking if no one will eat it??
We go through 6 cups of wheat, and roughly 10 cups of white flour every week

What does your family eat? What do you store? Do you plan on storing more?


LunaMoonbeam said...

Hmm...we eat a lot of rice, chicken and veggies. Throw in some pork, and an assortment of chinese sauces, and we can last for quite a while. Chinese food doesn't lend itself to stored stuff very well. Not that they don't have it - Hong Kong and Southern coastal china are FAMOUS for their dried fruits and seafood. Those things are just kind of expensive compared to the fresh.

I keep 25-50 lbs of rice on hand, and I have about 75 lbs of flour and 30 lbs of sugar. I should make sure I have enough oil on hand to make bread, and we really should get more canned proteins and dried beans. Oh, and we keep a lot of pasta on hand but use it mostly to make chow mein now that Siu Jeun has limited my diet so much!

Anonymous said...

What a great idea! Breaking it down into 10 meals seems so much more manageable. I'm going to see what I can come up with.

Sam said...

Myrnie, I love it! You are just like Ma and Pa Ingalls! I am having happy flashbacks to the cold-weather storage from the "Little House" books! :) We store nothing. NO-THING. The fridge has some wilting onions and grapefruits and some crusty bottles of jam, and that's about it. Every day I end up having to go to the store if I want to make dinner. I need to learn from you, O Wise One.

And this is random but I'll say it anyway...I'm not at all surprised that you and Aunt Lolo are sisters, because you are both the dearest, sweetest people, though I only know you in the Blogosphere, I must say that anyway. :)

Anonymous said...

I envy your organizational skills as everything looks so tidy and easy to find.

I don't have much storage space and ended up purchasing a tall plastic unit with 3 shelves which helps hold cereal and larger items; it is functional but makes the kitchen look ugly.

My Mom grew up during the depression so I was raised to buy things on sale and stock up and be creative with what you have, which I am thankful for as it has gotten us through some hard times and even though we might have been broke, there was still food in the cupboards.

When I get my tax money, I will probably buy more to store as my ex has been unemployed since June and the main contract where I work at is up this June and I may be out of job.

We eat a lot of potatoes, rice, pastas, canned vegetables and cereals. I hate to admit it but I do buy frozen pre-packaged items that I get on sale that can be cooked quickly in the microwave for the days I work (I work 12 hr shifts) and for my son to fix for himself (I am teaching him how to cook but still don't trust him with the stove yet).

Another bad habit is we drink as case or two of Diet Coke a week. I did invest in a 3 gallon water tap for the fridge to encourage us to drink more water and less pop.

Elizabeth said...

Hi, Myrnie -

I don't know how you found me, but I appreciated your comments on my blog and I am sooo happy to have found yours. I love it and am going to add it to the list of my favorites.

What part of the country are you living in? I'm in Utah.

I love your food storage post...Now, HOW did you obtain those big buckets that you added lids to? I use my dried beans, flour, wheat and rice all the time so I haven't put them in buckets but I'd like to...

It's nice to meet you. Stop by any time and I will keep checking your blog!

God bless,

Su said...

Myrnie, that's incredible! That amazing organized pantry. Very nice.

We eat a lot of rice, bread, pasta and noodles. So, I store a little bit of rice, flour(not as much as you), dried pasta and chow mein noodles. We also have some canned soups, beans and pasta sauce. That's about it.

Erm... I'm not letting anyone see my disorganized pantry, though. :)
You inspire me to organize, though!