A well stocked pantry is something that has been on my heart and mind lately. I tried doing my grocery challenge yet I found that I was ill prepared in way of veggies. I had plenty of food to eat, but I can’t do with out my veggies, most of them ended up going to my son for baby food. Then I would need to make another trip to the store. I didn’t need to buy anything else for about 2 weeks, as my pantry was pretty well stocked. There are 5 reasons for a well stocked pantry:
1. You have unexpected guests stop by around a meal time. Sometimes friends or family stop by when you are getting ready to make a meal. If you have a well stocked pantry it is easy to whip up something to include these unexpected guests. Things like rice, beans, canned/frozen veggies, can help stretch what you already had in mind to prepare.
2. A family in need. In my church it is normal to help of a family in need. Whether it is a new birth, a death in the family, or an illness. We hear the need and set up volunteers to make food for the family, anything to make the time easier on them. In any of those cases it is a relief to the family not needing to worry about cooking. Sometimes these things can come up unexpectedly and having a well stocked pantry can allow you to pitch in without having to make a quick trip to the store.
3. There is an emergency or crisis in your family. Right after Christmas my husband and I became very ill, and my father came from out-of-town to watch the kids. My pantry was well stocked and he was able to feed the kids without needing to go to the store or a restaurant. Another crisis none of us like to think of is what if your spouse gets laid off from work? If you have a pantry that is well stocked you can stretch your groceries for months, to help you get over that rough spot.
4. Sudden rise in food prices or utilities. There are several factors that go into considering the cost of food and preparing it. Supply and demand, cost of oil, etc. Now I know you are probably saying cost of oil? Not cooking oil, crude oil. We as a society have moved away from an agrarian culture. We eat food in mass, yet we don’t produce it in mass, and fewer still grow /raise their own food. Most of us buy our food in a grocery store. Ever think of where your food comes from? That juicy red tomato that is in your store in the dead of winter is not local (obviously). It had to be flown/ trucked in to your store, which is factored into the price you pay. So say there is unrest in the middle east….and they control the oil…..and a lot of the countries are blaming the United States for the unrest….so they raise the price of oil…..scratch that it would never happen 🙂 Oh wait….it is happening! We the consumers will then get passed along the cost of the price of oil in our gas, food and countless other things.
5. Natural / economic disaster- Natural disasters can’t always be predicted. In fact our government urges us to have enough food and water on hand for at least 3 days for everyone in your house. Now I say that you need at least 2-3 weeks. When hurricane Katrina hit, we in the midwest got slapped by the tail winds, and some communities around here were without power for a week! So not only do you need food and water for yourself, but you will undoubtedly have friends and family that were not prepared that you will want to help. In addition to the food, you will need a way to prepare it. A charcoal grill, and of course the charcoal is a great way to cook your food. Can openers are helpful, and if you are like me a hand-operated grain mill. I mill all my own flour with an electric mill, so if the power goes out for an extended period of time I am up a creek without a paddle!
So how do you know what to stock? Make a list of frequently used ingredients. There are plenty of companies that sell emergency kits out there, but if you wouldn’t eat it, then it’s a waste of money. The church of the Later Day Saints have an excellent tool to help you figure out what you may need to feed your family for a year according to the size of your family and the ages of the members. Now I am not promoting their beliefs or saying that I agree with their doctrine. All I am saying is they have a free tool that is beneficial if you want an idea of how much to stock. If you don’t want to stock for a whole year then do elementary math to figure out how much you need based on how long you want to sustain. I will post in my links how to get to the calculator if you are interested.
Some of the things that I am going to stock up on:
Charcoal, candles, water, baking soda, borax, super washing soda, castille soap, distilled white vinegar, toilet paper, toothpaste, tooth brushes, deodorant, and dish soap. With all these things I can take care of cleaning and personal hygiene.
Wheat berries, Spelt berries, Oat groats, corn, beans, lentils, split peas, oil, spices, dried fruit, canned veggies, nut butters, honey, rapidura sugar, molasses, baking powder, and yeast.
I am not doing pasta as I can make that from scratch. No jams for me as I will use Sally Fallons method of making fruit spreads from dried fruit. No rice either, white rice stores longer than brown rice, yet has less nutritional value than brown. I am able to make many dishes that call for rice by substituting whole wheat or spelt instead. Another tip is that you can sprout wheat, spelt, lentils, and beans. Doing so unlocks all sorts of nutrients, makes the food easier to digest, and prevents scurvy.
Other items to consider investing in: hand grain mill ( if you want to make your own flour), cast iron cookware (can be used on an open flame), and a food mill (you won’t be using a food processor or an immersion blender if there is no electric).
In addition to stocking your pantry also consider a garden if you have the space, the fruits and veggies will taste better, plus help your wallet. If you don’t have much space, many veggies can be grown in containers: tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, etc. Does your family have a well stocked pantry? How long could you live off of it? What is in your pantry? Do you have an alternative means to cook if you lost power? I am interested in hearing people’s thoughts and their experiences. Thanks!