One of my long held goals has been to build a 1 year supply pantry of food for our family. This is something that I’ve wanted, and yet struggled to actually do. And I am not one to struggle when it comes to putting things to action, usually! So, the fact that I have waffled on this for years is a sure sign that this is a difficult task. However, I’ve noticed lately that we’ve started to move in small steps towards acquiring more food at one time, and in ways that could actually help make my dream a reality. So, I decided to take the plunge and just do it! And, I’m going to share my journey with my readers.
One of the first things we did was to haul home a chest freezer and plug it in, when one was offered to us. It has been sitting there, rarely even half full, since. I WILL fill it up with cartons of water, very soon.
Next, we started buying from a grocery co-op
that ships once a month. This got us in the habit of buying once a month, and stocking up on staples. This also set us up to know how much of different foods we are buying every month, which is easier to translate to a year than, say, an every few days to every few weeks shopping trips. It also saves us a bunch of money every month on our groceries.
Then, I started freezer cooking
, and storing food for future use. This has been such an amazing concept in my life! I soak and cook beans a pound or two at a time and then freeze them in plastic freezer bags. I cook rice a pound or two at a time and store it in freezer bags. When I need them, they are done – no thinking ahead. I make chicken broth in bulk in the crockpot and freeze it. When I need it for a recipe, it is there, and cost pennies instead of the many dollars that gluten free, soy free, sodium and bpa laden broth from the store costs. I have full meals that are ready to pull out at a moment’s notice when we forgot to get something out for dinner or ran out of what we’d planned to have. I’m only buying meat on sale, and the price I’m paying for it each check is getting lower and lower. The freezer is what will finally, actually allow me to have a year’s supply of food laid in. It took me until recently to realize it, and I am so grateful and excited that I’ve finally found a way to make it work!
So, the next step is creating a plan for purchasing a year’s supply of food for our family. Obviously, I can’t do this all at once. The cost would be too great. I started by making a list of things that my family eats, and how much we would eat in a year. There are many lists out there to help you get started, but I found that the lists didn’t work for us. We don’t eat spam, or cream of mushroom soup, or boxed macaroni and cheese, or many of the other items on the lists. Some things we do eat, but not in the quantities they were telling me to acquire. This is the list I’ve made so far. It is for our gluten, dairy, soy and corn free family of 5.
Millet Flour (Unifine), Organic – 20 lbs.
Milo (Sorghum) Flour, Organic – 60 lbs.
Tapioca Starch, Organic – 20 lbs.
Bubbies Bread & Butter Chips – 33 ozs. x 4
Dried Apricots 12 lbs
Cane Sugar 15 lbs
Dried Mango 4 lbs
Apple juice 12 Cans
Orange Juice 60 Cans
Hot dogs 6 Packages
Refried Beans 4 lbs
Canned Pumpkin 36 lbs
Tortillas 15 packages
Rice Flour 40 lbs
Dried Cranberries 10 lbs
Tomato Puree 63 lbs
Peanut Butter 27 lbs
Tuna 36 lbs
Salt 3.25 lbs
Canned Salmon 55.3 lbs
Sandwich Bread 100 loaves
Apple Sauce 75 lbs
Mayonnaise 36 lbs
Olive Oil 20 lbs
Palm Oil 18
Pasta 21 lbs
Sesame Oil 3 bottles
White/Apple Cider/Balsamic/Red Wine/White Wine Vinegar
And I took the next step to procuring my year’s supply of food – I bought some things that were on sale at the best price I’m likely to find for a while, and bought a bunch of it! I just ordered a case of our peanut butter because it was on sale. I bought 2 bushels of apples from our local farmer’s markets ($20 for Jonathons and $30 for Honeycrisp – both organic) and I have been making applesauce like crazy. So far, I’ve got 9 quarts, and many more apples to process. I bought a half bushel of sweet potatoes. The potatoes will be stored dry in the pantry in the basement. The peanut butter will also go on the basement pantry shelves. The applesauce is going in bags in the freezer. When we are ready for a bag, we will thaw it and pour it in a jar for easier serving.
A few photos of my progress so far:
My dry pantry
My embarrassingly empty chest freezer
And my newly organized attached freezer
I look forward to updating you all as I make my journey to having enough food to last an entire year, already laid away in my own home!