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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Core Pantry

(The path to preparedness is a lifelong, enjoyable road.)
Hi everyone! After the last post I did, a reader asked that I explain more of what I meant when I mentioned my 'core' pantry. I'm going to try to answer that question today as well as I can.

My core pantry came about through a number of different venues. First, I found this LDS food storage calculator. I thought this was great! Enter the number of people in your home, 7+ and 6 and under, and it shoots out some magical numbers for the amounts of food you should store! Obviously, I know that everyone's recommendations need to be tweaked to my own situation, so I don't follow the food storage calculator exactly. For example, when I put in 2 adults it tells me that I should store 100 pounds of rice. WOW! Hubby doesn't like rice very much. In fact, I serve it less than once a month. So, I'm definitely not storing 100 pounds of it! Also, it says that I should have 80 pounds of sugar and only 6 pounds of brown sugar. Well, because I've tracked how much food I use, I know that I use alot more brown sugar. So, I store 60 pounds of white and app. 24 pounds of brown sugar. I can't stand lentils, so I'm for sure not going to store 10 pounds of them!Take the calculator recommendations to heart and then tweak it to fit your family's needs and desires.

Now, this might sound silly, but I also use 'how much space I have' to help decide how much food I store! I want things to be stored nicely, so as long as I have shelving and convenient storage spaces I will store more or less of certain items. I know some folks recommend that you store food wherever you can--under the bed, behind the couch, in boxes in the basement. That's fine for them, but my brain--and my hubby--needs to see things efficiently organized and in their proper space. That's just how it works in our house! I started in this house with the built-in pantry shelves that were already here, and a jelly cabinet for home-canned goods. Well, as my awareness of prepping grew (and our confidence in the governement shrank), we added 2 wooden shelving units from Menards. Then we added another shelving unit. 5 gallon tubs store bulk grains in underneath another mess of shelves! As we speak, hubby is building me some 8-foot shelves for home-canned goods since the jelly cabinet is no longer holding everything. (Don't worry the jelly cabinet will be placed in the pantry and used for more food storage!) We've grown the pantry to accomodate the growing amount of food we store!

So, what do I store? Well, I cook largely from scratch, so I need lots of all baking ingredients. Flour, wheat berries, oats, baking powder and soda, salt, yeast, spices, condiments, oil, sugars, canned milk. I have as many of these items as I possibly can have. Next, I think of what I'm going to use to make the things I'm going to cook: chocolate chips for cookies, dried fruits and nuts for breads and oatmeal. Next, I think of all the things that I buy fresh and make sure I have their canned counterparts stored for ease of replacement if fresh isn't available. This includes store- or home-canned veggies, fruits, meat, soups, meals-in-a-jar. Hubby is a meat and potato guy, so I have 4 of my cardboard can rotator shelves full of canned potatoes! I don't want to be caught in an emergency without potatoes! Next, consider all non-food items such as foil, baggies, tp, toiletries, meds, paper products. As I shared last time, I stay stocked up on ALL of the items in my pantry. When even one item is used of a particular category, I replace it asap.

So, what do you not want to be without in an emergency? What foods do you need to be able to make no matter what's going on in the world? The best advice that is out there is to 'Store what you eat and eat what you store'. If you do that, you can't go wrong! Roxie, I hope that I've answered you question. Please, please let me know if I haven't or if I need to clarify something. Thanks for asking!!
Prep On!
Gen-IL Homesteader

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Roxie said...

Thanks!! You did answer my question and you also answered the next question I was going to ask! I was going to ask you about your can boxes, LOL! I am going to be ordering some of those real soon. While I can a lot of our vegetables, I like to have bought cans of food too. You never know when a shelving unit could collapse and break my canning jars. It hasn't happened to me, but I don't want to have all my "eggs in one basket"

Jane said...

I love your posts about being prepared. I am storeing as much as I can, not near enough space. but still trying. Blessings jane

Roxie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gen-IL Homesteader said...

Yeah, Roxie! I'm glad it helped! And those boxes are absolutely fabulous!! You will love not having to rotate all your jars by hand! I am making strides every year to have as much of my food home canned as possible, but I, like you, also have store bought foods. Those boxes are worth their weight in gold!
Thanks, Jane! The space issue is a real big issue, isn't it? For hubby, and my sanity, it has to be organized but that makes us be more creative in the 'how' and 'where departments!
Thanks for stopping in, ladies!

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