Rack 'Em Up
No, this isn't my pantry, just a stock photo. Isn't it purty?
A dozen years ago, I had an entire pantry room in the basement. I worked full time, raised cattle AND grew/put-up about 75% of our food, I was younger then. Fast forward through a few major life changes/injuries and I'm back to it. Just this past month I hit my goal of having a nicely stocked pantry and freezer. I've not been physically able to garden like I used to and the cattle were sold years ago. This means that a good portion of our food is still purchased.
Handsome recently built me a couple more sturdy shelves for jars. I've been going through and organizing the pantry a little bit at a time. I really like these canned good racks** that I purchased from Amazon and they hold more than I thought. I keep them on the floor or the very top shelf. This leaves lots of space for jars in the middle shelves where I can see what I have on hand. I also purchased some baskets** for the pouches and boxes of dry goods. I've been using a Food Saver** with the Jar Attachment** to seal flour and pasta. Sugar and salt don't need to be vacuum sealed to stay fresh, they will just turn into a brick if you do. This is a good opportunity to use the jars with nicks in the rim and some of the old galvanized lids for looks.
With the Extraordinary Venison Profusion of 2022 in full swing, I've used up alot of purchased canned goods that I had on hand. I'm looking forward to replacing them with home-canned products this next growing season.
Very often, you will hear folks proclaim they are an "ingredient canner" or a "meals in a jar canner". I'm here to vote for both and freeze some too. On Saturday, Handsome was helping me with some chores that my back couldn't handle. I was working on canning some of the EVP 2022. The stove was full of canners, the fridge was full of deer, the sink was full of dirty dishes and finished jars. What in the world was I going to fix for lunch? I grabbed 2 jars of Chili and put them in a casserole to heat up in the oven. Boom, lunch! To make the Spaghetti Meat Sauce, I used quite a few home-canned tomatoes and home-canned spaghetti sauce. Put up what you have on hand at the time and then you can always make up something else later. Sometimes that means you are gonna can deer cubes and other times that means you're gonna can deer stew. Sometimes it's gonna be Cooked Meat Mix and sometimes it's gonna be Hamburger Veggie Soup.
Be sure when stocking the pantry to include basic dry food items that you can use in recipes later: flours, sugars, salt, fats, spices, alcohol, honey, rice, beans, pasta.... The list goes on. Can up some water for emergencies. Have a couple cases of bottled water. Don't forget to keep an extra bottle of shampoo and favorite dish soap on hand. Not only will this cut down on the amount of trips to the store; but also saves that fuel for something you actually want to do. (If there is anything I do not enjoy, it is grocery shopping.)
Mom kept a stocked pantry. Growing up, there was always food in the freezer and dry goods on the shelves. It might have been slightly out of date and we had 12 bottles of ketchup, but there was always food. When I set up household at 17, I followed that lead and kept a pantry. I've been peanut butter and jelly or box macaroni and cheese poor before, but there was food. I experienced food insecurity for the first time a couple years ago. Thankfully it was only for a few months. This experience has doubled down my efforts. Handsome was also raised with a stocked pantry and understands what I'm trying to do.
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