What I have noticed from those who have excellent pantries is that they have used a whole series of ways to build it up. Through friends, blogs I follow and Patsy's e book I can see common threads. They all consistently follow the "do what you can ,with what you have, where you are" rule. Nothing is wasted. They work hard!
To this they add the Proverbs 31 woman traits... they bring home food from far away places and working into the night! (with Proverbs 31 results too as they are not afraid of the winter!)
Each one treats having a good pantry and being prepared as their responsibility to care for their family. It is caring for basic needs everyday but with thought for if hard times strike as well.
And each have learned and use a whole range of skills to get all this done. They have collected, dried, frozen, canned, preserved, grown, bought, sold, swapped, cooked, dehydrated and thrift shopped their way to success!
When the girls were little I constantly read them Brambly Hedge. These little mice were busy! They were storing up, drying goods, making jam, you name it! Ahhh so beautiful!
Most of us already know how to do some of these things. Last week Teri answered questions on how does she dry her goods? It is possible to air dry or oven dry herbs etc as well as use a dehydrator. There is so much to learn.
I want to treat it as a challenge to learn new skills to build up our pantries. What skills do you have already that help in your kitchen and pantry? What skills do you think you could learn that would really help? There are so many to consider...
Canning, Jam Making, Pickles, Chutney, dehydrating, bread making, sour dough, cheese making, making your own stock, becoming a good soup maker...
Also we can consider the garden... vegie gardening, growing your own herbs, keeping chickens, bee keeping, growing fruit trees... we could go on to owning a goat or a cow...
Or others like candle making, soap making, make our own cleaning products...
I can't hope to think of them all and all of the possibilities. I think the best thing is to think of what you have access to that is free or really cheap. ie in summer I have access to lovely fruits. So to me I can take maximum advantage of these if I can preserve, make jams, pies etc.
If I had access to a dairy I think I would quick smart learn cheese making etc.
If I could get cheap or grow my own tomatoes learning how to sun dry tomatoes and making relish would be good choices. So think of what you could take advantage of? What may be wasted? What could be taken advantage of in a different way? ie if you have too many lemons why not make Lemon Butter to use as gifts? Or swap lemons with someone for something else?
The other way to decide what to learn next might be what would save your family the most money? What would make the biggest difference to the budget? If you buy baby food learning how to make your own would save a fortune. Or if you buy little custards for the children from the supermarket making these would save a huge amount.
If your weakness is gourmet pizzas then becoming a great pizza maker would be a great skill.
Think WHAT could I make and learn that would make a big difference in our household? Where is the food budget going? Could you head off take away purchases or school lunch purchases with your own cooking? We know our own households and spending habits and these can be a clue of what would make a huge impact if you learned that skill.
Either way, money saved on groceries builds up you pantry budget, or time spent on preserving... it all adds to your household.
Between us we have so many skills... Tania was making sour dough breads. Mimi makes soft cheese and yogurt (amongst other things) Patsy makes vegetable stocks and powders, Teri dries her herbs,
Jes dries herbs and makes teas. Cath makes her own condensed milk. Wendy makes jams. Fiona makes lovely soap. Glenda makes her own clothes and grows medicinal herbs. Nanna Chel knows how to make rag rugs. I could go on forever with the skills I have noticed amongst us and there would be so many I don't even know about!
I am going to throw down the challenge that if you have a skill and already have a tutorial then please link to it and I will feature it in the next couple of weeks. If you have a skill think about posting a tutorial and I will do the same.
I will think what tutorials can I do? I am working on my crock pot series and how to make all kinds of things in there and posting step by step instructions. But I will keep thinking! Oh, I could link to my jam making tutorial...
We all have skills and we all could learn some more. It is really fun to master something new that will help us. We have so many things that help from You Tube tutorials to specialist websites to learn just about anything. Think of the money to be saved by learning to do something yourself instead of buying ready made.
When we are trying to save money, build up our pantry and add to our preparedness increasing our skills can open up whole new worlds!
New skills all require practice. No one becomes proficient at anything without it. But this is many times the reason why something is tried once and declared a failure. We have to be prepared to try, practice, iron out the bumps and move on. There is great joy in getting a good result in the end! Things do not have to be perfect to benefit your family!
In another post I will cover skills we need for preparedness. That is a whole big subject of it's own and important. Today this is plenty!
I really hope our eyes can see what we might be able to learn next to make a big difference in our homes and pantries. This is exciting to me! xxx