I don’t know about you, but we aren’t looking out the windows for Zombies or Aliens!
When we talk about preparedness, we’re talking about preparing for both good times and bad. We all have times in our life when things are going really well with: our job, our finances, the economy and our local weather, etc. What about times when those same things are not going like we expected? I’m not sure about everyone else, but we’ve had more than one year when our income was less than we expected and still other times when our finances were restricted due to unforeseen expenses.
Outside of jobs and finances, come bigger issues: our economy, food availability and weather.
We try to plan and prepare as much as possible for our family. Our economy, food availability and weather, are some of the things beyond our control.
So what can we do today, to feel more in control?
We believe that having food in our pantry (aka larder) puts our mind at ease for those times, when we might not have the resources to purchase items or in more extreme cases when food is not available for one reason or another.
Our ultimate goal is to have a years supply of food in storage, but for now … we’ll add to it, in Baby Steps! It sure makes me feel better each month to know we are ‘making progress’, Yes?
Where do you start when stocking the pantry (aka larder)?
That is a great question. I guess for us, we just started right where we were. I pulled out all the food we had in buckets and checked our pantry. Next I put together a written list of meal components that we use (or need) to prepare weekly meals. I tried to look at Fall and Winter, since those are the upcoming seasons for us … keeping in mind we didn’t want 50-lbs of something in “stock” that we only use in the winter.
When it comes to deciding what we eat for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner … We follow a method we call a Meal Rhythm. This makes figuring out what’s for meals so much easier!
How much food will we need for a Year’s Supply?
Ok … stop right there! I know lots of people who could figure this out in 20-minutes, but for me … it’s OK to say “I’m starting” and “I’ll figure it out as we go along”. I have had this on our list of things to do for months. I got stuck in the “planning” mode … so, I crumpled up all those plans and just started!
Since we’re not buying enough rice to last an entire year … it gives us some wiggle room to make changes as we go along. Keep in mind that we already had some food buckets and had started, so we have learned along the way. Sometimes I’m really glad we only have 5-lbs of something, if we change what we want to stock and still need to use up something … if you know what I mean?!
We had previously bought hard white wheat and hard red wheat … and since then have decided to proceed forward with Einkorn wheat and Spelt, so we’ll be using those up and replacing them … not a mistake, just a change of plans. We have found along the journey, that changing up some items is beneficial to achieving better nutrition or is better for some members of our family addressing certain health issues.
We have found buying slightly smaller amounts of some items, like wheat, allows us to make changes more easily.
How much will we spend each month?
After long discussions, we have decided to spend ‘about’ or ‘about-ish’ $100.00 per month on preparedness reserves. That money will be used to purchase new or additional items to build up our larder. This amount is spent outside of our “normal” monthly food budget, which is where we allocate money to refill items in our larder, which as a Traditional Foodie is already substantial.
What did we start with, in October 2016?
My goal was to look at the components that lasted the longest and to “stock” those items first that we needed for our Meal Rhythm. So for the month of October 2016, we decided to start with: Rice, Beans, Legumes, Peanut Butter and Laundry Detergent.
I know what you’re thinking, Laundry Detergent is NOT food. I know. Preparedness involves so much more than food. I’ll be sharing my thoughts, as they come up, don’t worry!
One of the things I have found is that transitioning from buying boxed laundry detergent, to making our own basic laundry detergent, has given us additional money each month to invest in “upgrading” some of the items we use each week or month. It’s amazing how adding $20 to our monthly food budget, borrowed from boxed laundry detergent, gives us the $$$ to upgrade the kind of ground beef we buy. We went from buying “box store” ground beef, to organic ground beef from Costco, to pastured ground beef from our local rancher … Yep, amazing how far that $20 has gone! Our Homemade Laundry Detergent Recipe is also shared this month.
What items did we buy this month?
White Rice (Costco) … a basic pantry staple
Short Grain Brown Rice (Costco) … a basic pantry staple
Wild Rice (Azure) … a basic pantry staple
Tomato Sauce (Costco) … a basic pantry staple
Diced Tomato (Costco) … a basic pantry staple
Peanut Butter (Azure and Costco) … because we LOVE it!
Cocoa Powder (Costco) … for homemade chocolate milk, hot chocolate, baking or homemade shakes
Carob Chips (Azure) … for homemade chocolate chip cookies
Molasses (Azure) … for making homemade brown sugar
Apple Cider Vinegar (aka ACV) (Azure) … for soaking
Super Washing Soda (Walmart) … for our homemade laundry detergent
Beans and Legumes: Black Beans, Black-Eyed Peas, Fava Beans, Garbanzo Beans, Mung Beans, Red Lentils … we received an Azure Standard Discovery Box for FREE which included 7 bags of beans and legumes (valued at $30), which was perfect to add to our larder! (I needed to buy some anyway to replace some that were low!)
Somehow the Carob Chips were removed before the picture was taken … I’m thinking we needed to make Homemade Chocolate Chip Cookies …
You can see my ‘not so fancy’ labeling … I used to buy more fancy labels, then decided that it made my perfection brain crazy, so today it’s masking tape and a sharpie marker! You can actually write on the jar with only a sharpie, but I like the masking tape look better …
I guess the Beans and Legumes from the Azure Discovery Box were put away also, so here is a quick picture of them … the extra in the bags, will be used in the next month, so no need to dirty another jar.
A Basic List of Foods to Buy and Store, for a Traditional Foodie’s Homestead Kitchen
We’re hoping the below list is helpful for those who want an idea of what we keep. Please use this as a jumping off point, to get started on what you want to keep in your Homestead Kitchen. While all of our kitchens will not stock the exact same things: due to preferences, food issues or allergies, food styles … the idea of having things ‘at the ready’ is HUGE when needing to prepare meals.
We will continue to add to the list, each month.
Beans and Legumes
- Beans (dried and canned)
- Black (turtle)
- Cannellini (white kidney)
- Garbanzo (chickpeas)
- Kidney (red)
- Lentils (brown, red and small green)
- Peas (split green and yellow)
- Pinto (pink)
- White (great Northern or navy)
- Almond Flour, Blanched
- Coconut Flour
- Corn Flour or masa harina
- Rye Flour
- Spelt Flour or Spelt Wheat Berries
- Einkorn Wheat Berries or Einkorn Flour
- Hard Red Wheat Berries
- Hard White Wheat Berries
Grains and Pastas
- Brown rice, short or long grain
- White Rice, short or long grain
- Wild Rice
- Oats, thick rolled
- Pasta: Rice or Whole Grain
What are our storage options?
Storage options in our kitchen has been a journey in itself. When I was in college, I had glass jars. Then I changed to the plastic OXO storage containers. Now, I’m back to Ball Canning Jars … and I wish I would have never left.
My favorite size for storage is the: 1/2 Gallon Ball Canning Jar. I use Gallon and Quarts for most of our larder storage. I prefer the 8-oz quilted jars for spices and for drinking.
For long-term storage and larger amounts, we prefer 5-gallon food grade buckets with gamma seals, which we purchase from Azure Standard . com!
We just purchased some smaller 2-gallon food grade buckets with gamma seals for smaller quantity items, such as pastas, nuts and seeds … which we’ll be working on in November 2016.
What will we add to next month?
We will be adding things to our pantry (aka larder) each month that will make our lives easier in both good times and bad. Next month we have to work on: pasta, nuts, seeds and dried fruit.
Where will you begin, as you stock your Homestead Kitchen with Traditional Foods?