Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Thoughts on Food Pantries

Well, I ran across a blog post the other day about putting food into your pantry (there are many posts on the Internet these days on the topic) but this particular post made mention of something 
Craig and I have talked about lately and that is the possibility of bartering or  Keeping things on hand that may be of use for trade in the event that we experience some kind of emergency, be it man-made or natural.  So we began to think about things that may be tradable and inexpensive to have on hand that we would actually use ourselves if we needed to.  A few things that come to mind are:  
Coffee, sugar, salt, vodka (good for medicinals), chocolate/cocoa, candy, cooking oils, aspirin/anti-pyretics such as Tylenol or Ibuprofen, and perhaps grains or beans.  I’m sure there are many other things that would be a good idea…maybe duct tape, tarps, rope, old blankets, clothes, coats(purchased second hand or stuff you’re no longer using)…I could go on and on. 

Also, the topic of rotating your pantry was mentioned in the article and is also an issue because it's easy to put food in and forget about it... well, it doesn't last forever.  A long time yes, but not that long!  Paying attention to dates and rotation is a must and should be done on a regular basis.    Also, it is good to keep in mind that winter and spring is the time to eat your canned storage and replace it when it’s on sale or in season.  Summer and fall is the time to eat fresh produce from the garden as it is harvested.  Learn what “in season” in your area and stick to that.  This way, you can eat local and your diet becomes more rotational (you’re not eating the same foods all year).

Also,You have to keep a pantry that has foods you use!!  I have finally gotten my pantry down to items that we actually do eat.
Items I keep in my pantry:  
Salmon, tuna, Canned chicken, turkey pepperoni, beef sausage, peanut butter, jelly, syrup, crackers, beans, rice, pastas, dried potato buds, seasonings, oats, canned peaches, pears, mandarin oranges, pineapple,  raw walnuts, pecans, almonds, apples and potatoes and a few canned soups and broth for when we just don’t have time  to make them ourselves.  Oh, and don't forget, small amounts of flour because it doesn't last long nutritionally once ground, sugar, salt, baking soda, baking powder, corn starch, a little yeast because you can catch it from the air too so I don't keep more than I might us before it's "use by" date is up. I also keep some potato chips, corn chips and pop corn for snacking (and a little candy for treats).  
***I want to note here that we are also becoming aware of the issue of genetically modified foods which are mainly processed foods with corn, soy and possibly beet sugar in their ingredients. We are trying to avoid them either by eating organic or whole foods which are homemade whenever possible (this has been a process in itself because it basically means learning how to cook from scratch…this has been time consuming because I didn’t come from a home that taught cooking as a life skill!!!)  
Another reason for keeping a working food pantry is, in an uncertain job market, it’s a good idea to have a “cushion”  in case you had a few weeks where you found yourself short on cash or have friends who you might want to help if they were having a shortage.

Okay, on to the links (Oh, but you know I have to say this...while I may not agree with all the food choices these sights mention, they give good info and ideas about what you might want to have in your pantry: 

Here is another sight:
I hope there is something you can use here J
**One last note:  Remember bulk purchasing is your best choice for  better prices on items like grains and beans.  If 25# of something is too much for you, share it with a friend or neighbor. Also, purchase canned goods by the case and some stores will give you a bulk discount on your order.  Join a co-op, it helps keep you out of the store where you make your impulse purchases that can break the proverbial bank.  If you begin searching for a co-op be sure to find out if the one your considering allows you to buy 1 of any given item or if most of the items need to be purchased by the case.  It may make a difference if that co-op will work for you because if you have to buy a case of something that has a short shelf life (like milk or yogurt) and you only have 2-3 people in the house, you most likely won't be able to eat it all and it isn't going to be a savings to you to have to throw it away if you couldn't find someone to share it with.

Oh, one last note, those lovely pantry shelves in the pictures above...they aren't mine but they sure are pretty aren't they!

Just a few thoughts,      

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