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; allposters.com