The little birds...

If you watch little birds you will see they are busy and happy! Using whatever they can find they create the most gorgeous little nest.
I would be the little bird with some glittery thread in her nest!
We can be like this. Happily working away with the things that are available to us to create a beautiful and happy home.
All the while with a little song in our heart.

Banner by Free Pretty Things for You.

Sunday, 2 April 2017

Pantries and Preparedness. Saving money with Glenda. Part 1.

Last week was a week of extreme weather, a Cyclone in Queensland, flooding and mess.  Everyone here is accounted for although some have had a fairly hard time of it.  Now other areas are still being flooded and the scenes of devastation are terrible.
I have also seen ordinary items being sold for ridiculous prices like a few bottles of water in a pack for $44 and many scenes of completely bare shelves.  These things are a good reminder. Basics like water, batteries, fuel, bread... all become worth so much when you cannot get them!  We need them on hand as trying to find these things after a disaster is just awful and your chances are slim!

This week we start a series by Glenda.  Glenda is one of the most experienced people I know for her knowledge of food storage and preparedness.  She is the most experienced person I know by far with her knowledge of herbs and the person I go to when I have a question to ask.  She has to put up with a lot of questions from me!  😊

This week we are starting with some ways to save money with your food storage.
I will get to my week of activities at the end of this post.
The photos are from Jane. (thanks Jane!)


Shoe hangers for extra storage. 
I had one inside the door of my last pantry for packets. 
Jane has hers in the craft room.


Over to Glenda!

 I wanted to share some cost savings tips on long term storage with you.
 Frozen vegetables aren't long term if they stay frozen. Purchasing frozen vegetables, when on sale, or in large packages is a cost savings. We buy the organic frozen vegetables and fruits on sale or in the five lb bags at Sam's. Since frozen vegetables are already blanched before freezing that step is eliminated when dehydrating them. Nothing could be easier than opening the package and spreading them on a dehydrator tray; that's it. We have a ten tray stainless steel dehydrator, so we can do a lot of frozen vegetables at one time. That saves electricity, also, so we look at kitchen appliances as investments. Appliances that will allow us to eat long term with stored bulk items; save us electricity in the long run, and extend the life of the foods we purchase are better than money sitting in the bank.
   A grain grinder allows us to buy the whole berries or groats, which is by far less costly than buying the already ground flour. It provides the advantage of us having fresh flour when needed and long term storage of the basic supply. As mentioned, grains last, when stored properly, 30 years or more.  So for a long term investment and cost savings a grain grinder is a bargain. There are electric and hand crank; we have one of each. We purchased them several years ago before we had a full house back-up generator. We could probably eliminate the very large hand crank now, but we will keep it to share with others who don't have a grain grinder, should things turn bad.
   A dehydrator is another really good investment for cost savings and long term storage. Frozen vegetables last about six to eight months in the freezer and take up a lot of space. A freezer requires electricity to run. Dehydrating fruits and vegetables extends the storage life to four or five years if stored properly and dehydrated properly. The key to good dehydration is making sure all the moisture is out of the product. We dehydrate, then store vegetables in labeled canning jars, which we vacuum seal. They easily stay fresh for five years that way, when stored away from heat, light, and moisture.
   I don't know what I would do without my Food Saver Vacuum Sealer. We buy five pound bags of organic broccoli at Sam's. Normally, it will last, if placed in a Ziploc bag and sealed tight, about six months in the freezer. When I divide the large bag up into serving sizes and vacuum seal it into the food saver bags, the same product will last two to three years in the freezer with no freezer burn. I do the same thing with chicken, cooked turkey meat, beef, etc. If we want to extend the life of it and prevent freezer burn, I vacuum seal it and it is good for two to three years easily.
   Many people don't realize that butter and cheese freeze really well. We buy butter when it is on sale for a good price and buy enough for six to eight months (until we think the next sale might come around). I vacuum seal the container and put it in the freezer. I have used butter three years old that way and it was perfectly good.
   Use by and sell by dates are arbitrary anyway. Most foods are good well beyond whatever date is stamped on them, if they have been stored right. Dehydrating, freeze drying, and vacuum sealing extends the life of the food and helps cut costs in the long run.
   In summary, if a family owns a good quality grain grinder, a good quality dehydrator, a couple of vacuum sealers (one for back up), a non electric coffee pot or water boiler, plus stores all the basics in their long term form, no one needs to run out of food or fear the future. Granted, for a years storage the amount is astronomical in quantity, but when broken down by quarters, it is doable for everyone. 
   John and I were just discussing water storage this morning. We have a stainless steel Berkey, but there is no filter for that to take out calcium. For most people that wouldn't be a problem, but for me, due to genetics, the calcium doesn't go into the correct places and ends up in the wrong places. So, we have to have alternatives and it's important to think that out ahead. For two people and two dogs, for kitchen and drinking use alone, we need five gallons a day. That is 150 gallons a month, and more is needed for washing. We don't live in an area with much rainfall. The snow melts down to virtually nothing. We have to think seriously about water. 
   Most people don't think of how much they actually need of something, which is why having the inventory with maximum amounts to store is so important. It's easier to figure with food and water, than with medical supplies. Household supplies are pretty standard in usage, so that is easier to figure, also. For instance, if I know we use six rolls of toilet tissue a week and there are 52 weeks in a year, I want to be sure to have 312 rolls of toilet tissue in storage. Some people are okay with using rags and rewashing them; my husband is absolutely not going to do that, so I have to calculate wisely. 
   Space or money seems to be the reasons people give for not stocking up on necessities. Space is often taken up with less important things that can either be boxed and stored or eliminated. I think people's budgets will most often allow picking up a little here and there for extra food storage. If there is a food co-op in the area where someone lives, buying in bulk yield's huge savings.
   If I can buy 50 lbs of organic wheat (shipped to me for that cost) for $50, that is $1 per lb of berries.   Each cup of wheat berries grinds into 1.5 cups of flour. It is of huge benefit to me that I can grind the amount I want, still have the germ and bran in tack, and use it right away. Nothing is diminished by storing any grain berry or groat. Plus, I know that if I don't use the berries within the next 30 years, they are still as good as the day I purchased them (stored correctly) and as nutritious (until ground).
   Flour can be found on sale frequently, but the shelf life is very, very short. White flour might last a year when sealed properly and whole wheat flour is truly only good for three days after grinding if the germ was left in it. After that time, the germ is rancid. Too, often, whole wheat flour is sitting on the shelf in a store and people think they are buying healthy, but, in reality, they are buying rancid food. 



Jane's portable clothesline. I love it! It reminds me of play ones! 




It folds up and disappears into a carry bag. 

We will stop there for this week. Next week will go on to storage buckets and storing large amounts of grains and corn etc.
You will be like me... I zoom in on things I did not know and think we could really use.
As I have been working to rotate my pantry Glenda's information about use by dates is vital to me.  Many things that I store have use by dates I can ignore such as sugar, white rice and powdered milk.  



Jane and Bluey's battery fan. It runs on a power tool battery.
In a power outage these are brilliant. 

Last week I made some more progress on rotating things in my cellar.  This is a week by week project. If any project is just too big I decide I will do ten minutes a day or a session once a week. Because of having to go down the steps I made it every weekend I will work for at least an hour on rotating, organising and cleaning the cellar.  This hour a week is working!  
My new habit is to keep a jug of mixed up powdered milk in the fridge and use this in all cooking and add some into the regular milk.  I have quite  bit to use up and then I will just have to keep doing this to keep powdered milk rotating.  Last night I used three jugs of it in tuna mornay that I made. The day before some went in to banana cakes. 


When the girls were little I used some powdered milk as it was often cheaper. The trick is to mix it up and let it sit for an hour or so.  The ultimate trick is to mix it 50/50 with fresh milk... then no one notices the difference!  But in cooking it is not noticeable at all. 

If you have been through the cyclone and have power and communications then please feel free to share your experience and tips. There is no teacher like experience!

How did you build up your pantry last week or improve your preparedness?  
Little by little we are making it a year of major progress in this area! xxx

26 comments:

  1. Thank you Glenda and Jane. You have me considering dehydrating frozen vegetables. All very helpful information.

    We added to our butter supplies with sales before Easter starting now. We also added to toilet paper and facial tissue supplies.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Dear Lana,
      Frozen vegetables and fruits are the easiest choice to dehydrate because of the lack of prep involved. We like to dehydrate organic potatoes, also, but that requires a lot of prep work before dehydrating.
      Thank you for your comment.
      Blessings to you,
      Glenda

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  2. Dear Annabel and Glenda thank you both for a wonderful post and it has got me thinking in so many areas.

    I am now on the look out for a dehydrator and also a vacuum sealer.

    The aftermath of this weather event is going to take forever to end. The water in some places is going down but, at such a slow rate that it looks like nothing is happening. Then we have a river up north that is set to cause major flooding in the town - they have had time to prepare because this is a slow moving body of water. Houses have been emptied out and systems have been put in place to try and curtail the damage to the airport and other areas. They know that a certain number of places are going to be flooded and know that the work to come after is going to be enormous.

    Fruit and vegetable prices are going to sky rocket.

    Thank you Jane for some ideas to help sort out the craft room. I have a project I am working on at the moment and as we all know reorganizing the craft room is not going to happen in a day so I will note down your ideas and then be ready for when I have the time to get cracking on the job.

    Perhaps, rather than use my $100- gift card for more tins of food to go in the store cupboard I really could look at getting a dehydrator?

    Lynette
    XXXXXx

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    Replies
    1. Dear Lynette,
      We love our dehydrator. Actually, it is the second one we've had. The first one was plastic and this one is Stainless Steel; both have worked well, but, honestly, the smaller plastic one worked better. I hope you can find one and start dehydrating. It adds to the stores quickly.
      Thank you for your comment.
      Blessings to you,
      Glenda

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    2. Glenda I have my fingers crossed that both of these items come on sale in the next few weeks - as Mother's Day Gifts.

      I know Aldi also have them from time to time so I am keeping both to the top of my Aldi shopping list and also going to be searching through the Mother's Day catalogues that come my way.

      Lynette
      XXXXX

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  3. Annabel, some good advice there. I think we should be prepared as well as we can be but sometimes the type of disaster like has happened up north which completely ruins homes is something one can never be prepared for completely when everything is in ruins. For the rest of us who have escaped any damage we need to be wise about growing veggies, storing milk etc. as some items will become very expensive in the future. As I mentioned on my blog yesterday even in our area which escaped unscathed the supermarket shelves were bare in some departments because the trucks couldn't get through although I believe that situation has now changed. It goes to show though how much many people rely on the supermarket shelves to be full all the time. Thanks for all the ideas that have been contributed in your series.

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    Replies
    1. Dear Nanna Chel,
      I have been praying for those that were in the Cyclone area. It is so devastating to lose one's property and belongings. Preparing for such an event as a Cyclone, Tornado, Hurricane, Earthquake, or Fire, is another whole aspect of preparation. There are some good ways to handle that.
      Thank you for your comment.
      Blessings to you,
      Glenda

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    2. Nana Chel I cannot decide if fire or flood is worst - at least if a fire comes through you only see bits and pieces amongst the ashes but with a flood you see what is left and the destruction is beyond comprehension because you have to deal with the smell as well - a true assault on the senses.

      I was in tears early this morning when reading about small places that cannot get aid - not only are the roads gone but the bridges too. And then there is an angel who has been organizing helicopter drops of food, water and medical supplies as well as feed for the animals. These pilots are getting up in the air on donated fuel.

      Then the next thing I read was that some places that still have water to sell are hiking the price up - $72- for a case of 24 x 600 ml bottles of water. Not to mention that some supermarkets are also hiking their fresh produce prices up just because they feel they can. $7- a kilo of bananas in one of the main supermarkets and yet the other 2 (aldi was one) were still priced at last weeks prices.

      All IGA's in the flooded areas up north have kept their prices the same.


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  4. Thank you Annabel for this post.

    I do not own nor have I ever used a dehydrator for food though I think when I have a larger supply of home grown fruit I would like to buy one to dehydrate fruit. I do realise that a food saver would be very helpful in my home and am thinking about purchasing one, I will pray on it and see if it is in our family budget in the future.

    I seem to think repeatedly that bread is something I would like to be able to provide for the family in the event of a longer term disaster. I am also thinking that I need to put more energy into planning for this.

    I am cleaning out the pantry at the moment one shelf at a time and putting things that need using up into a storage tub which I can use up in the next few days or in the menu plan for the following week. I think I need to buy a few shoe storage hangers for around the home, there are so many uses for them. Love it

    God Bless and cannot wait for the next blog posts xxxx Love Mel S

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    Replies
    1. Dear Mel,
      Baking bread and grinding wheat always makes me think of The Long Winter, by Laura Ingalls Wilder.(Gentle Smile) They ended up living on the grain they could grind and make into biscuits or bread. Prairie folks had to be prepared and wise in stores.
      The difference in deliciousness between store bought bread and fresh ground wheat bread in not possible to really describe. I, normally, grind Einkorn flour as I am now wheat sensitive, but a grinder works for all grains.
      Thank you for your comment.
      Blessings to you,
      Glenda

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  5. Thank you Glendale for so much interesting and useful information.
    Cyclone Debbie crossed the coast 850km to the north of us. She was such a big system that we got the tail of the wind and around 6 hours of Cat 1 winds. The day before Debbie crossed the coast Katie went to the shops. There was panic buying happening and the shelves were just about empty of milk and bread. We sat at home knowing we had enough of everything to get us through for up to several weeks. It was comforting to know we would be fine. Thankfully we didn't suffer any damage. Others have not been so lucky. Cyclone Debbie is now a severe weather system and is heading for New Zealand. She is a nasty piece of work.
    I will be going through and tweeting the organisation in our pantry. The tins area is quite messy and I'm not 100% sure of what we actually have. This will be this weeks task. The garden is just about fully planted out. The rodent that is eating the plants is going to have a very short life if it keeps it up.
    Life is good.

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    1. This should have said thank you Glenda. Sorry about this.
      In the pantry i am tweeking not tweeting.

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    2. Dear Jane,
      Garden rodents can be a real nuisance. I hope you can find out what it is and protect your crops.
      We are very blessed that Annabel is sharing Preparedness on her blog. It has been a source for so many people and the evidence is seen in the fact that those who were in the cyclone area and read her blog were prepared.
      In the U.S., I tried to follow the information that was being given out on the Cyclone. I am thankful you and your family are safe and sad for those that lost so much.
      Thank you for commenting.
      Many blessings to you,
      Glenda

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  6. Loving both the advice and pictures - a peek into other people's storage / preparedness supplies is always an inspiration (or maybe I'm just nosy!) :-)

    Love that milk jug, too! I also break down big projects into a few minutes or few bits at a time, as working like that I can achieve pretty much anything I set my mind to, despite chronic pain and fatigue.

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    Replies
    1. Dear Allegra,
      Good for you that you break down big projects into smaller bits. Chronic pain and fatigue is very difficult to live with on a good day. It is one of those things in life that requires those of us that live with it to push ahead, in spite of it.
      Have a good week!
      Many blessings to you,
      Glenda

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  7. Great information! I never thought of dehydrating frozen foods! That would be so convenient on many items as they are pre-chopped to size too! Especially on the fruits and vegetables that we can't grow... Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Dear Jes,
      The ease of dehydrating frozen vegetables is a real draw :). It's nice to cut open the bag and just dump it out and spread it around on the dehydrator trays; turn on the unit to the proper temperature; and go do something else.
      Thank you for commenting.
      Many blessings to you,
      Glenda

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  8. Dear Annabel and Glenda,
    Thank you so much for this invaluable post. For the most part I dehydrate, although some things I do can. I, too, had never thought of dehydrating frozen vegetables. Fantastic tip. Thanks for sharing on the shelf life of home dehydrated foods. That's so good to know. Looking forward to next Monday's post too. Blessings, Cookie

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    1. Dear Cookie,
      I am glad to hear you already do a lot of dehydrating. I don't know what I'd do without my dehydrator and Food Saver vacuum sealer. Both of those items are so important to our food storage.
      Thank you for commenting.
      Have a great week.
      Many blessings to you,
      Glenda

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  9. I have a question and I hope you can help me. If you dehydrate foods, is it best to store in glass jars or vacuum sealed bags? I am thinking of using vacuum sealed bags because it would take up less space and no danger of broken glass. But I am wondering, if an item is dehydrated, is it still necessary to vacuum seal, either in glass or plastic bag?

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    Replies
    1. Hi Joy,
      I like to store the dehydrated foods in canning jars. The attachment for the Food Saver that seals the jars comes in both regular lid and wide lid. I think the jar sealer and tubing is around $15 through Amazon.
      For me, it's easier to view what I have in jars rather than bags stacked up. I've tried both ways and the bags were always messy and didn't stand up nicely, plus it was hard to know what was in each bag without moving the one in front and looking.
      We use Seville shelving for our canned goods and all food storage. Some people like to put jar protecting bands across the shelves to protect jars from falling in case of a natural disaster or someone bumping the shelving. Each shelf holds 250 lbs to 500 lbs, depending on the unit purchased.
      Dehydrated food takes up so little space and, if using a jar, you can remove what you want and reseal the lid with the same lid.
      It is not necessary to vacuum seal dehydrated food. I do it to prolong the flavor, nutrients, and texture of the food. I didn't vacuum seal dehydrated food when we started years and years ago and I found it got tasteless or very hard (fruit). If you are going to use it within six months, I don't think you would need to vacuum seal it.
      I hope this answers your question. If not, just let me know.
      Thank you for commenting.
      Many blessings to you,
      Glenda

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  10. Oh and yes, that tip on dehydrating the frozen foods--fantastic. I do have a dehydrator.

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  11. Annabel,
    This is a great post and Glenda thank you for sharing it is just wonderful and spot on. I have a dehydrator and food saver and a meat slicer that we put to great use. I buy frozen vegetables and dehydrate them if the ones I planted don't have a good year. They are stored in the hatboxes from the post a few weeks ago. If you don't have a dehydrator you can use your oven, a solar one that is easy to build for almost free or even putting them on baking sheets in your vehicle on a hot day. I have jars of dehydrated veggies too so they really don't take up much space!
    XOXO
    Vicky

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    Replies
    1. Dear Vicky,
      Love all the kitchen gadgets (LOL). We have a meat slicer, also. It's great to use to slice carrots for dehydrating as it helps keep everything uniform.
      A lot of dehydrated veggies will go in one jar, as you know. Nice to be able to dehydrate a lot and only have it take up a small amount of space.
      Thanks for adding to the conversation.
      Love and hugs,
      Glenda

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  12. Dear Annabel and Glenda,

    This is such great information! I also use jars for my dehydrated foods, and use a food saver to seal the jars if they are going to be stored long term. For other foods, I use various sizes of jars and use those first. Looking forward to your next post.

    Annabel, thank you for helping so many bluebirds with their food storage/preparedness! Working in your cellar bit by bit gets the job done. I, also, do this as I have emptied several shelves. They are starting to fill up as I have been canning pinto beans and pork and beans. I will continue to fill our jars, and dehydrate all I can. Like you said, breaking down a big job into smaller bits sure makes a difference and looks great too!

    Thank you, Jane, for sharing more pictures. It's always fun to peek into others homes. :)

    Have a good week, everyone! Love, Teri

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  13. Dear Glenda,

    Thank you for sharing your experience with food storage! I have been toying around with getting a grain grinder for years, and I think you've tipped the scale for me. And I will add, along with everyone else, that I'd never thought of dehydrating frozen veggies! I also need to look into a vacuum sealer...I didn't really realize you could use them with canning jars, and was worried the price of the bags would be cost prohibitive. This is excellent!

    Dear Annabel, it sounds like your pantry rotating is going well. It's like "facing the stock" at a store...keeping the right dates at the front and then using them up when needed so that the food and the $ invested isn't wasted. Definitely need to be organized! (Which you are! :))

    Lots of love,

    Jen in NS

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I really appreciate your comments thank you! The aim of my blog is the be a place of encouragement and happiness. Very rarely is anyone rude. Actually only twice so far! If you post a rude or aggressive comment I will read it but not publish it, thanks for understanding.xxx

Spam is never published... if you are advertising a product or selling website your comment wont be published. I am inundated with stuff about drugs, horses and weird things! I am not going to publish this stuff! Thank you.