Saturday, April 13, 2013

Saturday Pantry Suggestions

Hubby and I continue to clean and organize the garage (note to self:  do not let two years go without cleaning the garage again).  This is truly a case of "out of sight, out of mind" even if my washer and dryer are there.  Since we don't have a basement or attic, we use the garage for our pantry as well as a storage area for boxes and such.  

Which explains how our pantry shelves became so cluttered.

Hubby decided to go through all the canned goods and write the expiration date on them with a black Sharpie.  We were both surprised at the number of cans that were about six months past their expiration date... but still good.

We moved all of the older cans into the kitchen to use over the next few weeks.  None were bulging but we'll still be careful as we open them.  I've used cans a year past their date or more and all but a couple were fine (I never use canned food from a bulging can or if the can explodes when opening!).  Then he moved the oldest cans in the garage to the front of the shelf and the newest to the back.

Circumstances were such for awhile that... since we were not organized as we usually are... we let some items get pushed to the back while using the more recent items immediately.  Something every person who keeps a pantry knows not to do.

I have my own projects to complete, which will end with cleaning out and defrosting our deep freeze.  There isn't very much in it right now so it's the perfect time.  We both agreed restocking the freezer is a goal when we have additional funds coming in as well as purchasing canned items that we use a lot and only have a few left... like canned tomatoes.

This huge project is reminding me over again how important being organized is if one wants to utilize a pantry efficiently.  My pantry isn't all that deep these days and I still ended up having to throw away a few things (blush... I had a box of soda crackers that were a year past their "use by" date, which is way too old to use for crackers!).

I'd seen that box of crackers on the shelf for awhile, keeping them "just in case" I needed them someday and didn't realize just how long they had been there!   Lesson learned once again... time goes faster than we think!

Which reminds me, I watched a show about Food Hoarders recently on the Cooking Channel.   I was interested to see if they discern between keeping a deep pantry and actually hoarding food.  They did and it was fascinating to watch.

People who are food hoarders receive peace and joy just from having huge stocks of food and don't use a fraction of what they purchase.  

They never think they have enough food put back even when, in the case of the woman whose story they followed, the groceries were taking over her house and causing problems with her husband and children.

One of the symptoms of a food hoarder is when your family wants food from your stash (I can't call it a pantry) and you don't want anyone to eat what you have purchased.  (I'm not talking about food you have put back for a specific recipe.)

Now if I can let food extend on the shelves past their expiration date with a small-ish pantry and an equally small food budget... imagine how much of a Food Hoarders pantry goes to waste.

Once again, having a very deep pantry does not mean you are a Food Hoarder.  I know so many people who are being led to really deepen their pantry and they are not Food Hoarders, they "feel in their bones" that there is coming a time they need to be stocked up with essentials such as food and other items.

I truly believe they are hearing from God just as Joseph was told to stock up in Ancient Egypt.

When I was doing research in the 1990's, I found articles of Christians in pre-WWII Europe who had those same inclinations to stock up, even though they couldn't have known what was coming when they started.  Many of these people helped to feed their relatives during the war.

Who knows but perhaps you have been led "for such a time as this".  Yes, that was Queen Esther and not Joseph but you get my drift.

I can tell you what I've learned from my latest organizational project... even a small pantry needs attention.  I think that's how I let it get so cluttered, I figured I no longer had such a deep pantry as I did in the past so it didn't require as much regular "tweaking"... wrong.

I truly believe we will come to a time when we barter more than we purchase.  It's not a bad idea, generations before the Industrial Revolution did it all the time... I'll trade you potatoes for tomatoes or eggs for a haircut.  :)

I found this article about bartering after an economic collapse interesting... here.

For an in-depth list of "100 items That Disappear First in a Disaster" (thus are good bartering items), this "oldies but goodies and updated" list on Holly and Stan Deyo's site is very good...  here.

So many of you are on a very tight budget like me but I do think these kinds of lists help us prioritize when we have a few extra dollars here and there.  

Picture:  Three Hens With Coop;


Rebecca said...

Today I'm using up perishable food from the 'fridge since we're leaving for vacation after church. Reminds me about the importance of planning ahead & incorporating existing supply into those plans...

Time really DOES fly--even within a week. And perishable food is just that--PERISHABLE!

Glenda said...

Hi Brenda,
Once again you are right on target. Times coming will be very hard and it is wise to have a very deep pantry.

This past week, I have been taking an inventory of all of our food, medical, household, and herbal supplies. We have been planning for some time for what is coming. An inventory really helps one see where gaping holes are in the food supply.

Since it is only my husband and myself (calculating in helping others and our children & their families if needed) I have developed an "amount to have on shelves at all times" list. We use the food and rotate it, so there is nothing on the shelves we don't eat regularly.However, it is easy for those expiration dates to creep up on us, so thank you for the reminder.

We don't have television, but have heard about shows of hoarders. You are absolutely correct in saying that having a deep pantry and stocking up, as Joseph was directed to do by God, is totally different than hoarding. Some don't recognize this, but they will be the one's lost and without when everything falls.

Blessings to you for such a wonderful blog and sharing your experiences and heart with us.

lynneinMN said...

thank you, thank you, for your insight. my extended family laughs at our (just me & hubby) "deepened pantry", and call us hoarders. we are slowly building up to have a years worth, and although it looks like a lot, i know we'll be helping those who laugh in the forseeable future. God is Good, and i believe He is giving us the means to do so.

Vee said...

We are currently eating from the pantry...hope not to have to shop for anything but milk, bread, and eggs this month. We never know when the tenants are going to up and move!

I have a dear friend who was hungry as a child and who never intends to go hungry gain. She has an entire shed filled to the rafters.

My personal hope is that we won't come to such terrible times and that perhaps the filled pantry will feed someone else. ; D

moreofhim said...

You are so smart about all this. I do think it's important to have a stocked pantry, just in case. My pantry is organized, but I need to do my freezer next. I used to keep a typed list of what was in my freezer, then mark off what I used and added to it as I bought. I would date it so I used the old first. I'm sorry to say I haven't kept up with the list since my back injury but it's time to do it again. Thanks for all your advice and reminders!

Blessings - Julie

Anonymous said...

Just like the advice to not spread the news around you have a pantry full of food I have also heard to not mention you have extras to barter without knowing the people. People think if you have so many extras you must have a lot of stuff. Yet I think if something big happens and money is not stable or available cause of bank or electro problems [no electricity/no banking] barter skills will be oh so helpful. As well as skills to barter. I also heard to stock up on butane lighters instead of matches. Getting the regular little lighters and the ones on a stick to use say to light the stove. Matches can get wet let alone take up more space so have both. Made sense to me. I found a couple things bad on our shelfs too. In date was good but cans were not good. So I am glad I looked through the shelfs. Also they warned to be careful of the new ring top can lids. The area where the metal is round the ring where they open is not as strong and many are opening just a tiny bit along the seam and you don't know it. They said clinking them and such easy things can do it. The article said to use these products first and not use this type of new cans for long term storage. I thought they would be good as you would not need a can opener. :( And speaking of can openers...that is one thing that will be needed by many and a good barter item! I think the waterless shampoo would also be very good to have on hand to use although you can use baby powder and such. Sarah

Anonymous said...

Our local food pantry will not give anyone the food if it is even close to the expiration date. They throw it away. What a waste! I'm glad you didn't throw your food out, well except for the crackers, and there is nothing that tastes as bad as a cracker gone bad. (smile) We get them in communion sometimes - ick! I so agree with what you said! You give out much wisdom, my friend! I'm glad you are serving our Lord by writing. You do a great job. Be blessed, Pam (SD)

Deanna Rabe - Creekside Cottage Blog said...

Thanks for the reminder to check the pantry for outdated items.

I am one who has felt lead to stock as we can, and to grow a garden and have chickens...

Thanks for the linkies....


The Journey said...

Some times people do hoard food- some times they weren't allowed to eat enough as a child or they went through depression there wasn't enough food. I think when bartering would come in handy now is when say some one was going to Amish store getting item X and you had extra of X.

mdoe37 said...

Our local gleaners recommends canned food one year past not many folks would take it anyway. :)

I understand the balance between a deep pantry and a food hoarder. I have a fairly deep pantry. My grandmother, despite lack of money, was a food hoarder. And a persnickety one at that. Only the best produce, meats, and Aunt Nellies pickles. Sigh. I can see her weekly grocery list in my mind.

Ground Round
Deli Ham, slice VERY thin
Pillsbury Pie crusts
Imperial oleo

Didn't matter that she had all of this in excess already. When she passed, we had alot to throw away. I have no idea why she ended up that way as she actually grew up in a family of relatives means.

I, however, keep this is the back of my mind... I'm sure its hereditary!