Food Storage ideas/Plan to get you started

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Shadowgirlau
Posts: 2281
Joined: Sun Mar 30, 2008 4:57 pm

Food Storage ideas/Plan to get you started

Postby Shadowgirlau » Fri May 21, 2010 11:32 am

Just a few thoughts on how to get started if you wish to start a food storage pantry. Sometimes getting started can be quite daunting however it isn't really as bad as one thinks. So here is part 1

My first thought regarding storing food is that you should – STORE ONLY WHAT YOU USE

The following list of ideas is not a perfect planner by any means but only an idea or tool to use when planning your own list of foods for storing what you use.
When you make your lists, then these lists should reflect your lifestyle, needs, preferences and circumstances. It will not work if it is the storage list of a friend, or a list you feel others think you should have. After all each family is individual and there for different.
I hope these ideas will help you to plan 80-90% of your year’s food storage using foods you eat most often. The remainder of a year’s storage will include foods eaten less frequently, short term seasonal foods, special meals, holidays, and long term basic storage to sustain in times of turmoil or hardship.

Re-do the lists as your family needs change, or every few years, to maintain accuracy. Let’s face it our tastes and needs change over time.

This method usually does not take into account foods such as desserts and snacks, unless you plan them into the menu. My hubby loves his desserts so I have planned this into our own list of requirements.

Take a week or two to get yourself started on this journey. During this time take a notebook or place a sheet of notepaper either on your fridge or somewhere that you will see it and use it regularly. Write down everything you use when preparing your families meals/everything your family eats. At the end of a week you should then find you have a reasonably good idea of what you will need to have in your pantry. I also made a list of all the meals the family particularly liked to eat but which we hadn’t eaten that week although do eat regularly.

Studies show families will eat the same 10 main dish foods 80% of the
time.


- Create a list of 10 to 20 meals.
- Create a separate list for breakfast and lunch foods, as appropriate or if desired.
- As you begin this process you may not think of many foods. Post this list in a prominent place in your kitchen for the coming 2 weeks. Each time you think of a new food write it on the list. Ask the family for ideas and suggestions. Make the list reflect what your family typically eats and enjoys.

Ask the family for ideas and suggestions. Make the list reflect what your family typically eats and enjoys. This is the real key to storage, only store what you really will be likely to use/eat.

Have a good read through your list and make sure you have a good balanced list of foods from the bread and cereal group, fruit group, vegetable group, milk and dairy group and meat group as needed.
Now you have your list of meals, take another sheet of paper or book and break each meal down into specific foods – by this I mean you should name each meal i.e. tuna casserole and then list the ingredients needed to make that dish. Do this for each meal and at the end of this process you will be able to see which ingredients you use regularly or will need to create the meals. I make columns for ingredients.

Write the category above the columns, for example: vegetables; fruits; meats; bread, cereals, grains, pasta; soups, sauces, mixes; dairy.
In the spaces below the main categories, write the specific foods needed. For example under the vegetable category you may have listed peas, green beans, tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, etc.
Write down the amount of the food needed for that particular dish for your family.
Continue with all dishes listed. When completed, add the amount of foods in each column and total at the bottom of the page.

Plan on preparing 80% of your meals from this storage planner. The remainder of a year’s meals and storage will include foods eaten less frequently, short term seasonal foods, special meals, holidays, and long term basic storage to sustain life such as beans, rice, wheat, etc.
Eighty percent of 365 days is 292. Divide the total number of dishes or meals into 292. This is the number of times each year that you will prepare this dish.

Multiply each food totaled in the columns by the answer above. This will give you the amount of that food needed for 80-90% of a year’s supply of foods most often eaten.

Place foods from planner onto an inventory list.
Group foods according to their category.

For example, use one page for freezer, and group together frozen vegetables, meats, etc. Use one for the shelf, and group together vegetables, fruits, tinned meats, soups, pasta, etc.
Inventory current food storage and pantry and compare to the amounts needed.
Update inventory on a regular basis, monthly, every 6 months, yearly, etc.

Shop for foods on the inventory list. Watch for good buys, buy in bulk when you are able to do so or if you can’t do this then aim to buy an additional one or two of each item when it is on special etc. Gradually increase the amount of food stored to equal the amount needed for 1 year.
Spend 80% of each food dollar on storage items, 20% will go toward fresh foods, special or seasonal foods.
Date all foods going into storage.
Place new foods to the back of the storage. Use old foods first.
Add new purchased food amounts to inventory list.
Update inventory on a regular basis, monthly, every 6 months, yearly, etc.

7. Plan meals for the week from your created list of foods in step #1. Select foods to prepare the meal from your storage.
Keep a list of dishes from step #1 in a handy readily visible place.
Move foods for the week, month, etc. from the storage to your smaller pantry. When I had only one pantry I kept one side of it for everyday use and the remainder was for the bulk foods.
Use what you have on hand. Purchase fresh foods (milk, fresh vegetables, etc.) as needed unless you grow your own.

This is how I got started, the information initially came from a variety of US extension offices and other related articles which I then altered to suit my lifestyle. It was and remains a good starting point.

Kathleen
Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans.
- John Lennon

BJTJ
Posts: 184
Joined: Mon Feb 08, 2010 11:12 am
Location: Brookton WA

Re: Food Storage ideas/Plan to get you started

Postby BJTJ » Sat May 22, 2010 4:36 pm

Hi Kathleen
your article was interesting except now we eat so differently than say even 12 months ago. We have been eating spinach and zuccine meals for nearly six months now and I would never have bought more than say one or two (at the most) zuccinis in a month before yet now use 3-4 a week (we aren't sick of them yet and variety is the key). Our whole diet is now based around what is available in the vege garden and what is coming up ie last night we had zuccini, potato and onion soup (all ours) with a couple of chicken stock cubes added, we also has puff pastry parcels with spinach and ricotta (ours), lunch today was the soup with a bit of bacon added and a couple of pastry parcels again (now all gone). Grandaughter ate everything which is amazing. Supplies for my pantry these days seems to be flour, sugar, vinegar, milk,butter (after our trip around Aus we will get our cows), bread ( a couple of loaves per week - still make our own but love the varieties that are available) tea and coffee,tins of fish, dried beans, bananas and sweet potatoes (ours not ready) and oh yes the occasional chocolate and that is about it!! Our shopping bill has reduced dramatically and I don't think family can get used to the fridge looking empty most of the time. Could easily reduce the size of the fridge to half these days. Dinner tonight is pasta (home made) with frozen tomatoes to make the sauce and steamed spinach, zuccine, brocolli, mushrooms, carrots and some sweet potato. Hubby is doing a sheep this afternoon so roast lamb next week!! At this stage freezing our produce is my most usual way of preserving our excess produce. It's funny we have my brother in law for dinner tonight and I am sure when he looked in the fridge he must have thought we had no food - but is he in for a surprise tonight. What you said about meals being 80% the same is right but now our soups, salads, stews,pastas, desserts etc are all based around what we have on hand and I just so love it. Lemon merengue pie tonight - lemons are ready!! Picked two today. BJ

Shadowgirlau
Posts: 2281
Joined: Sun Mar 30, 2008 4:57 pm

Re: Food Storage ideas/Plan to get you started

Postby Shadowgirlau » Sat May 22, 2010 5:46 pm

BJ,
Thank you for your comments, I think from what you expressed I have not come across as well as I had hoped, as we eat mainly what is in season when it comes to fresh produce. Except for meat that is. When we can we also slaughter one of our sheep (or sometimes share with a friend, theirs) for our meat and I do buy some meat such as beef, pork and chicken for now. Mmmn, lemon meringue pie - what do you use to make that pie?

Most of what I store in bulk for longer term usage are items used to make the meal with - gravy mix (for when I am being lazy and not something I keep a lot of), salt, pepper, flours, sugars, gelatine, spices, pasta, rice, powdered milk and so on. Then there are items such as my home canned/preserved items such as tomatoes, sauces such as tomato, bbq and worcestshire, baked beans, soups, fruits, jams, marmalades, stock and so on. I consider all these types of things as being the building blocks to making meals.

I much prefer to eat from the garden and so only buy vegetables that are in season and as needed because for instance I don't have anything ready to harvest or maybe my garden hasn't been producing enough for whatever reason. After I have sorted out the food basics I turn my attention to other things such as toilet paper, cleaning agents (where necessary) or the ingredients I need to make my cleaning products, shampoo/conditioners’, soaps (when I can I make my own soap and laundry gel) matches, kitchen towels, alfoil and so. I have 3 freezers and I try to grow enough to either can or freeze for out of season whenever possible because on their own the ingredients I tend to store for long term use are just building blocks used to make meals.

Having all of these things on hand in my storage plan has been invaluable to me and drastically reduced my fortnightly shopping bill. It wasn't easy to start doing this in some respects but over time I became better at it and can now afford to wait for that good special to come along so I can replace something which is getting low. I now keep half of what I have saved in a fortnights shopping aside so that when the specials come up I have the money available right away to do something about it instead of thinking to myself - that is a good special I will have to try and come back for it. Coming back for it, is a no no as it isn't going to happen in my case if I do this. Gosh it was amazing to me how quickly the savings added up and just how much I had available for such times. The savings have even come in handy when we had an unexpected bill arise.

You really need to do what is right for you and your family and if you keep a record of what you do you can make changes as those changes occur. For myself I have let things slip a little too long and need to get back into it, which is why I have been talking about it I guess.


Cheers

Kathleen
Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans.
- John Lennon

BJTJ
Posts: 184
Joined: Mon Feb 08, 2010 11:12 am
Location: Brookton WA

Re: Food Storage ideas/Plan to get you started

Postby BJTJ » Sat May 22, 2010 11:13 pm

HI Kathleen
well lemon merengue pie was great - 2 lemons, 3 eggs (one for pastry and two for merengue) flour, cornflour and sugar. I love the internet for searching and last year just put in lemon merengue pie and got the simplest recipe. So my purchases for the meal are as discussed before flour and sugar, the staples as would have been traditionally. Tonight we used half lupin for the pasta to try it out. Was ok but I think I like wheat flour better. Hubby says growing lupins and making flour would be quite easy - mm not sure, would rather grow wheat and make flour I think!! I will have to have a look at some recipes that call for lupin flour - was quite grainy. Grandaughter went out to the shed and saw the carcas hanging and asked when she could have a bone!! We have cooked leg roasts in the bbq for family occasions (as half of this one is for) and she shares a bone with her dad. She wasn't concerned at all about the carcas just asked why the head was gone!! I looked in my pantry and think I have more wine bottles than food stored. I am sure that is for preserving - me!! I had to buy coconut and icing sugar to make lamingtons for the Biggest Morning Tea and as we don't bother eating cakes or biscuits really and so these types of things are not in my stores so will have to make more later and use it up. Bought sultanas a few weeks ago for bread and butter pudding when the chooks start laying fully again. BJ

Shadowgirlau
Posts: 2281
Joined: Sun Mar 30, 2008 4:57 pm

Re: Food Storage ideas/Plan to get you started

Postby Shadowgirlau » Sun May 23, 2010 8:59 am

Wow! sounds good.

So you have had your Biggest Morning Tea already by the sounds of it. Hope it was a success. Ours is scheduled for this Thursday. I am making a lemon marshmallow slice, a tray of brownies and a cake (type undecided as yet).



Kathleen
Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans.
- John Lennon

BJTJ
Posts: 184
Joined: Mon Feb 08, 2010 11:12 am
Location: Brookton WA

Re: Food Storage ideas/Plan to get you started

Postby BJTJ » Mon May 24, 2010 10:44 pm

Our Biggest morning tea is on Wednesday - am making the cakes for the lamingtons tonight - put together tomorrow night. BJ

Shadowgirlau
Posts: 2281
Joined: Sun Mar 30, 2008 4:57 pm

Re: Food Storage ideas/Plan to get you started

Postby Shadowgirlau » Tue May 25, 2010 9:19 am

Wednesday, oops :oops: well regardless I hope it is a success for you.
I am going to make the base for the lemon marshmallow slice today so that I can finish it off and chill it Wednesday afternoon/evening for Thursdays morning tea. Am going to make the chocolate brownies Wednesday evening and the cake early Wednesday morning before I go out for the day. Will only have to either ice it Wednesday night or assemble it Thursday morning (depends on which type I decide to make).

MY DD worked yesterday (she works at the local shop where our morning tea is going to be held) and said that there has been a lot of interest in the quilt which was taken in for display yesterday so people could see what it looked like. I hope we make more money this year than we did last year for the cancer foundation. Plus it is always lovely to sit down and share a good cuppa and nice morning tea with friends or others.

Kathleen
Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans.
- John Lennon

BJTJ
Posts: 184
Joined: Mon Feb 08, 2010 11:12 am
Location: Brookton WA

Re: Food Storage ideas/Plan to get you started

Postby BJTJ » Tue May 25, 2010 9:45 pm

Yes it is a great morning. Last year we had about 60 people attend which was great. We have it on the front lawn of our building but if it rains we can move to the hall down the road. Lamingtons are done. Now have coconut and icing sugar in pantry for whenever!! BJ


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