Saturday, June 23, 2018

Living the Pantry Lifestyle - Dealing with the heat in the garage

It has been so hot and humid here that even with air conditioning, the air feels "soupy".  My original plan was to re-do my "now bleached" shelves that are in the garage where I keep my overflow items from the kitchen (although there are not a lot of items to put there right now).  It is just too humid.

I don't worry about food freezing in winter because the shelves I use are up against the wall to the house.  It stays pretty much above freezing on those shelves. 

We live far enough north that we normally only have a short period of time of very hot weather. However, this has been a record breaking hot spring so far and summer looks like it will continue with the heat.  So only those items that 1) are not affected by heat, and/or 2) get used quickly are on the shelves.

There are a few food items I never put in the garage.  For instance, chocolate of any kind stays indoors.  I have large jars that hold such items as beans, rice, and... chocolate chips... on the red shelves in the kitchen. 

Mary Berry often says that chocolate "melts at the temperature of a child's pockets"  and if one thinks about it, that is not too hot.  So any kind of chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, cinnamon chips, etc. stay inside.

Once the worst heat of summer has passed, then it is safer to once again stock the overflow shelves.  It is useful that it corresponds in most places with the times of harvest and when some canned vegetables go on sale (selling last year's items to make room for the latest harvest).  Not to mention those people I admire who can their own produce, meat, etc.

I've never had a problem with whole grains, beans, lentils, converted rice, etc. going through the heat of an average summer.  However, most flours do not hold up well to heat (and I always place bags in the freezer for a week or two when I bring them home).  Brown rice goes rancid quickly in heat.  Most food type oils need to be kept from too much heat while being stored for any length of time.

I haven't had a problem with pasta kept in the garage through an average summer.  I store extra boxes of pasta in their original boxes and keep them all in a Rubbermaid style container.  (I should mention that these containers were purchased over a period of about twenty years!)

I have another set of shelves in the garage that hold nonfood items, paper items, small appliances, etc.  That has been a huge help dealing with a rather small kitchen.  I already had the paper items in a Rubbermaid style container (thank God!) but the mice did a number on the cords of the small appliances.  I had to get rid of a couple and I have my blender and my Crockpot out to clean and carefully check the cords soon.

That is why I finally gave in and bought mouse traps that are sticky.  They had been recommended by the employee of that department at Menard's awhile ago but I couldn't stand the thought of the mice getting caught that way.  So I tried other ways that did not work once there were so many.

After seeing all the damage they did, I had to get more serious about making sure it does not happen again.  Prevention will help.  Everything that would attract them is protected as much as possible.  I was told mice can eventually chew through even Rubbermaid but it takes them a very long time.

I believe it as I have a large Rubbermaid container that was kept in a barn at one time and part of the lid was chewed away, although I'm pretty sure that was not done by a field mouse.

So these days when I find a good stock up sale, sometimes the items will stay in the Study until the intense heat of summer is over.  I still believe our pantry should be as deep as we can afford and that we have room for... and that we have time and effort to keep organized.  My pantry is a fraction of what it once was since we are on a fixed income but it is easy for me to keep organized.

I was just re-reading a recommendation this morning by the late David Wilkerson (ie: The Cross and the Switchblade book and movie).  He had recommended to his congregation and to those who received his newsletter that they should have a 30 day supply of food stocked at all times. 

He understood that we never know what will happen in this world that could stop the transit of food and other necessary items.  Not to mention a job loss, illness, or various other ways we cannot spend our money on necessities that are available.

He certainly could hear from God.  Just prior to 9/11, he felt the leading of God to have his Times Square Church prepare to feed people.  After the terrorist attack, they had everything ready and fed numerous first responders immediately and for quite some time.

Summer tends to pass quickly, even for those of us who do not care for hot weather, so I will be working on getting the overflow shelves ready for cooler weather.  Not to mention those items that can be stored on those shelves now.  Protected from tiny intruders, of course.


Anonymous said...

I have noticed many of the DIY shows on tv now put pantries in the kitchens they redo. I hope they put sturdy shelves in them ! Storage is a problem in so many homes now. It is an old idea that should never have stopped. If homes had good pantries and were made from the start with wider door frames and such to help if needed later for handicapped it would be a great start. Of course you realize this stuff too late many times. :)
Yes the Rubbermaid thing was probably eaten by a rat not a mouse. Uck! We have not had a mouse in the house for a few years but I know they will come in again. They are too smart! I caught some after trying for ages. I put a teeny bit of melted chocolate chip on the basic usual trap instead of cheese or peanut butter. They love chocolate. ..or at least mine did. :-) I used a toothpick to place the melted chip. They had gotten the cheese and peanut butter without setting off the trap but I take it they had to lick and mess with the trap more to get the chocolate. ?? Who care. It worked!! Because you brought up the subject of pests in your pantry. { sounds like bats in your belfry??? } ...Anyway I checked mine too and found the beginnings of those bad pantry moths and nipped it in the bud. Thanks!! I do put things in the freezer first but somehow I got some bugs later this time anyway. Very unusual. You helped me save the day...or rather my pantry! Sarah

The Journey said...

Shelf life on beans? I need to get stock up again. It is great whether it is your emergency or someone else needs food.

Vee said...

Weather is so whacky. Here you are having very warm, muggy weather whlle my corner is temperate, even cool.

Dare I ask what happens to the stuck mouse? How is it finalized and disposed of? 🤔 I am wondering if it’s a solution for me.

mdoe37 said...

I had my share of mice when I burned corn. Bleh. I'm wondering since you like to grow herbs, we tend to put cotton balls saturated with peppermint oil in places like boat storage areas and ATV wiring. It seems to work well. I wonder if you grew and dried some, placing the dried plants of your shelves if that might help a bit.

Debbie said...

We have been having terrible problems with mice getting on our house and it is driving the cats insane. They have figured out how to undo the baby latches on the kitchen cabinets to go into the cupboards and after the mice. I do NOT want them in there. My husband just put down one of those sticky traps yesterday morning and I am going to have to have him check it when he comes in from mowing the lawn.

As for having a good pantry and food storage, we are so glad we do! We have been having our kids shop from our pantry and freezer and my husband and I are going to try and live off it for the most part for at least one month. We have property taxes coming up here soon and are trying to save more money for our trip in the Fall to visit one of our sons and his girlfriend who recently moved to Las Vegas and bought a home there. I also have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia and the heat of the Summer literally makes me sick and sends me into bad flares and crashes health wise. I'm trying to make double or more batches of recipes and freeze some of them for future meals so we are not tempted to go out to eat.

Angela said...

It feels very humid here too. I'm not a huge fan of the warm weather like this. I prefer Spring and Fall.

Anonymous said...

Maybe time for some outdoor cats....we had to have 6 cats eventually to keep our vermin under control when we had chickens out back , mice were climbing the exterior walls of our house finding ways in and we could hear them chewing ( wood? wires? in the attic ) .Now the chickens are gone we have 5 older, lazier indoor/outdoor cats keeping things under control!!I know they are keeping up because they always lay out their kill for us to see every morning...LOL

Anonymous said...

You don't need a big disaster to be glad you have a pantry. A few years ago all stores in our area had to be closed for 3 days because of a power outage. They need electricity to run the cash registers, lights etc.

I wonder if that container in the barn was damaged by a raccoon. They can get into almost anything.

Deanna Rabe - Creekside Cottage Blog said...

Thank you for sharing all your tips! It has encouraged me to tidy up Tim’s shop space.

Anonymous said...

Dear Brenda,

Not reading all of your past posts, there have been a few times the Lord has put you on my heart. Just to let you know...

I have found a truly fool proof way of catching mice. I would try the glue traps, but I hate seeing even them suffer. On our local radio program one Saturday the TruValue guys were on and a lady called and could have been me. I even tried Magic Mouse. But the host said try this... put a peanut (I use old walnuts) with super glue to adhere to the mouse trap. Set the trap and your good to go. I'll tell ya every time that mouse was caught and I've had a lot of experience since I heard that. There was only one that was partially caught and well, it was slow.