Last week I invited everyone to share pictures of their pantries and preparedness. And any information about how you do it. The first person to send me pictures was Teri S. Thank you so much Teri! This was so exciting! Teri has agreed for you all to see. These are a testimony to hard work, consistency and prudence. This is part of Teri's letter, I know you will enjoy this as much as me...
I do want you to know that I've been working on food storage for many, many years and have had several friends and family members guide me along the way, with knowledge and encouragement. You are doing a grand job, using your cellar, cupboards and other creative ways to store items!! I love how you use tins and jars and make them look so beautiful! My mom taught me many years ago to use cookie tins but we have never decorated them, as you do! I love the trunk you make too!!
I learned so much about dehydrating years ago (my first dehydrator used a small light bulb to dry the food lol). I found that dried foods were so handy and I didn't want to waste food, or had an abundance from our garden, so this was a way to have fruits, veggies, herbs and even rose petals year round. I learned how to cook with my dried foods, make fruit leather and potpourri. I wasn't wasting, I could share extra and my family enjoyed our meals. I've just recently started making a veggie powder mix (which I put dried onions, garlic and herbs) that I use to season ground beef etc. and I use my powdered tomatoes to make tomato "paste" thereby eliminating yet one more item to purchase at the store. I love to snack on dried fruit. I use my dehydrator year round. One year, I had lots of extra potatoes so I researched how to dry those. I dry broccoli, cabbage, carrots, celery and celery leaves, onions (both the round part and the green tops), herbs and fruit of all kinds. I also dry winter and summer squash.
It's only been the last 15 years that I've been pressure canning soups, meats, broth, veggies etc. It took me a long time to feel comfortable using a pressure canner but one year we had a wonderful huge crop of green beans, not much freezer space and so I pulled out my pressure canner and canned away! lol I then learned how to can dry beans, chili, baked beans, soups, broth, etc.
The big wooden shelving you see full of canned goods was built for my mother-in-law. She used it for years and that's the only thing I asked for! :) We have moved it several times and I love it! It holds over 400 cans of food. (it is 2 shelves stacked on top of each other and anchored in the back and sides). The room where you see most of the food and wheat grinder table is something I dreamed of for years and with this house, my dream became reality! The room that holds a shelf with empty jars, paper products and #10 cans was just an extra room being used for nothing so we decided to make that space for paper, cleaning products extra. It does get the hot afternoon sun so I don't store my canned goods in there (by the way, these rooms are in the basement (cellar)). My food storage room has little heat and stays the same temp year round. (we do have water pipes in there so during winter we leave the door open a bit so it doesn't freeze). This room is a work in progress. I'm trying to organize it better, many thanks to you, dear Annabel!! Sorry its a bit messy. The dried mint (in the paper bags) still needs to be pulled off the stems and put in jars. Also, I recently rearranged so all my dehydrated foods would be on one shelf for the most part. The totes hold extra flour, sugar, pasta, etc. and I'm using a small one to hold a few extra packages of marshmallows and will put other items in that too.
It's important to have food storage in various forms so not all is lost when electricity is out. I do need to figure out a way to "earthquake" my shelves. I've done some research but haven't decided which way to put a "rail" along each shelf.
For our family, our food storage and other storage of non-food items is insurance and a way to take care of our family without running to the shops all the time. I'd much rather go to the basement to "shop" than get in my car. lol It saves money, time and stress! I still have a long way to go with getting things like LED lanterns, other ways to cook etc. I did find a bag full of tea candles and other small candles at an estate sale a couple weeks ago, so my supplies are growing slow but sure. I also keep material on hand to sew with, I mend everything I can to get more use out of it and I enjoy crafting. Little by little, things get done and it gives me a good feeling! :)
Well, little by little Teri sure has got things done! Teri has been very generous and made me feel that for someone who is almost five months into this that I am doing ok. And that in my little way I have encouraged her! This is beautiful to me as encouraging each other is a big and important thing.
Now, we are all at different stages. Plus we have different sized families and circumstances. The important thing is that we do what we can to have a well stocked pantry and be prepared.
Teri pointed out she has been working on her pantry for years. This is good to remember. She has obviously worked really hard to get it this way and it didn't happen overnight.
Space is another issue and some of us are in apartments and smaller living spaces. Earlier in the series we explored some creative storage for small spaces. the point is to start now, making the most of what opportunities you have and using the space available. It will be different for all of us.
I am very lucky to have my cellar. It is little as cellars go but it is a space I can use 100% for food storage. Plus it is cool and a consistent temperature is a great thing for food storage. So I am making the most of that. But because I feel so prompted to do this if I only had under the bed, my kitchen cupboards or laundry cupboards I would still be doing this. If the power goes out, the ATMs are down, you are snowed in or whatever you have to be able to stay home and be ok and feed your family.
We have covered a lot of subjects so far and there are so many more to go. But feeling inspired is very energizing!
What can we do this last week of May to improve our pantries and preparedness? And what can we do to keep this a priority and continue to build up our supplies and reach our goals? Consistency is an amazing thing as little by little you achieve amazing things... consider the ants!