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.

Saturday 11 April 2020

Pantries and Preparedness 2020. Foods that last years and years.

Things have been calmer here in the last week but I know this certainly is not the case everywhere.  And things have evolved.  Shortages and rationing have changed somewhat too. I would love to hear your observations in your location but here the new sought after goods are chickens, seeds, seedlings...  I am seeing also canning jars, lids etc.   All the same stuff as before as well, toilet paper, soaps, hand sanitisers, flour, sugar, pasta...  and so on.
In the wider picture I am seeing meat processing plants closing down specially in the US.   I am also seeing massive price rises!   So by keeping our eyes open we can see what things we might need to be doing to be ahead.

One of the things I hear a lot is about the worry of increasing food supplies only for it to be wasted.  People worry about expiry and best before dates.   We need to get ourselves educated on this.  For instance I see honey has a date on the lid!   Yet honey will keep forever.  I have Himalayan Pink Salt in my pantry. It took hundreds of thousands of years for someone to package it but it expires in June.   Seriously!    We are taken for idiots!

Today I am going to share some foods that you can store for many years.   We can never really hope to stock everything.  But in this time I have seen that if you have good supplies of some things you can trade and help others.   And the things I have noticed people chasing most of all are basics such as flour and sugar.     Many basics also have a whole lot of uses.  If you stock them you have the beginnings of so many recipes and some medical and cleaning applications as well.    Next week I am going to cover the ingredients and items that keep for years that will allow you to make all your cleaning and washing supplies.  Today we will stick to edibles.

My first long term item is Alcohol.  You do not need to be a drinker for this one.   This Pandemic has shown if everyone had a high alcohol Vodka,  Everclear or similar in their storage they could have made a great amount of hand sanitiser, surface spray and cleaner.   Alcohol over 60% proof kills germs and viruses.   If you have Vodka you can make extracts and tinctures that also will last years.  You can also make Alcohol wipes for many purposes.   This is a very valuable thing to have.

Some of the foods that will keep years if stored properly include:
Rice.  White rice keeps years longer than brown rice.   I freeze if for a few days first.  Then store properly... in each case you want air tight, rodent and bug proof containers.  I use glass jars or glass canning jars with rings and clips.   Then rice should last 30 years!!   Imagine how many things you can do with rice.

Dry beans.   So many types of beans.  Filling and versatile.   Many will last a good 30 years also!

Pasta.  This will last years and years.  30 years even!  Plus you can vary the shapes and types for variety.

Salt.   I am not much of a salt user.  However it is a preservative and I keep Himalayan Salt as part of my medical pantry as you need it to make Electrolytes which can be life saving.

Vanilla Extract.   This basically lasts forever and in tight times some heavenly flavour would be so nice!

Bullion cubes.   They last a long time packaged well.  Flavour is a good thing!

Vinegar.   Lasts and lasts.   Useful to preserve and also in cleaning!

Wheat.   Well sealed it will last years and so will many other grains.  If you have a grinder you are set.

Sugar.    White sugar will last years and years.   So will castor sugar.

Cornflour.   This lasts a long time too.

Potato Flakes.  Stored properly they will last YEARS.

Honey.   So many uses that this is something I keep large supplies of.

Maple Syrup.   Will keep indefinitely!

Baking soda.   Another thing with so many uses.  It can be stored indefinitely.  Getting it out of a box into a glass jar will greatly help.    In a pinch you can clean your teeth with baking soda and clean the dish washer!    Very useful thing to have.

Cocoa Power.   It will last a few years at least.

Molasses.   Full of vitamins and minerals too!

For Australians... Golden Syrup and Vegemite.  Both useful and lasting!

Powdered Milk.  So useful.  Stored well it lasts many years.  It needs to be kept in a cool dark place.   Sealed well.   But it will last long after the date on the packet.

You will never go wrong storing these long lasting items.   There are more as I believe many freeze dried items are very long lasting.    If you can think of others please add them!    I think spices such as pepper probably do last a surprisingly long time.    Tea leaves also sealed up well will last a fair while.  They will not go off... just lose some oomph.   When desperate for a cup of tea I would still be trying it!  Dried fruit lasts a long time... I am just unsure how long!?

I am quite happy to keep some of my pantry over flow in random cupboards and even in plain sight.  To me jars are a beautiful thing!   These are in my lounge room... they are salt and sugar mainly so I am not too concerned about them getting some light.

One thing I am sure of is the situation with rationing and shortages will be around for a while.   It might change to different items and we need to keep an eye on that.  But supply chains are broken in many places.  Currently it takes one person coming down with the virus in a warehouse or factory and the whole thing is closed down.  So this is a pretty volatile situation.  While some things might be made in our own countries  some items to make them might be imported.  It is surprising and the most interesting things are harder to get... my brother purchased a generator and it was a circus to get it as parts come mostly from China... 

Being able to stay in and feed  your family is a huge accomplishment.  Being able to help others is also!  We are not helpless and afraid, in fact we are not afraid of the winter as we prepare!  
I want to wish you all a very blessed Easter.   We are having a quiet day.  The sun is shining.  I have eggs to collect and seedlings to water.  We have faith and hope and many blessings!xxx


  1. Happy Easter! Just a few comments, hope you don't mind. Bicarb doesn't stay fresh indefinitely - it will lose it's "fizz" over time as the ingredients go stale. Keep citric acid and cream of tartar as separate ingredients and you can make it as you need it. To keep powdered milk for long-term it needs to be non-fat or it will go rancid over time (the fat in full cream goes sour), and it needs to be vacuum sealed. Like this it will keep for up to three years - if it's cool, dry and dark. Investing in a good vacuum sealer will help with long term storage for most pantry items, but anything with a fat content will not last forever. I've done a YouTube show and written quite a bit about forever foods, and added lots of them to our pantry over the years. White rice stores better than brown rice (again the oil content causes brown rice to go rancid over time). Proper storage is essential for all long-term food storage - cool, dark as possible, even temperatures and vacuum sealing or canning all help. Having forever foods on your shelves is a wise investment - just don't forget to use them and rotate through them so they are always as fresh as possible.

    1. Hi Cath, Happy Easter to you too! The bicarb goes on being good for cleaning and teeth etc so it is useful at least. I think the vac sealer is good. These things are good investments. Our pantry might be one of the best investments of all. By the way on a blog elsewhere I noticed how Noah prepared and worked... and he was ridiculed! With love

  2. Our shortages are similar to yours - we are still struggling to find flour of all types and seeds are mainly sold out. Still a few places to buy seedlings or plug plants - the expensive places!
    Thank you for this post - I can't think of anything else to add to the long lasting edibles. Counting our many blessings everyday.

  3. Things are returning to a sort of new normality here, shops are slowly returning to their pre- covid 19 opening hours and restrictions on quantities are being eased. However, yeast is as rare as hen's teeth, flour is still difficult to find, seeds likewise (the larger companies seem to have shut whilst the smaller ones have been overwhelmed). I buy so little meat that I haven't noticed a price rise, but I 'm sure I will soon. Strangely, I have been able to buy sugar all through this pandemic. Flour is a bit of a worry, living on my own I can't use large enough quantities to make storing it worthwhile and to my knowledge, we can't buy wheat grains here, nor indeed do I have a grinder.
    We (UK) have been told to prepare for power cuts, as essential maintenance has had to be suspended. I have checked my power cut box (yes, I have such a thing) and I need some AA batteries but everything else is in order.
    I also want to knit at least a couple of sweaters before this winter, if it's a cold one I will be very grateful for them and it's not as though they go 'off'.
    Apparently beans and pulses do become a little tougher in storage, so require a longer cooking time, but they'd still be edible. If I still drank coffee (oh, how I still miss coffee) I would add coffee beans to the list. I don't know how long they'd last, but longer than the expiry date on the packet I'm certain. I'd also add some Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce and maybe chili sauce too. I think I'd be thankful for some flavors to add to my beans, pasta and rice. Cooking oil too? Again I don't know how long it would last, but I suspect that in a cool, dark place longer than the expiry date and possibly in smaller bottles rather than a huge container.
    An interesting, thought provoking post, thank you it is very much appreciated.

    1. Hi Su,
      I'm in the UK but haven't heard about any powercuts here yet on the news or otherwise. Where did you hear it please? I'm in Birmingham and all the restrictions are still very much in place here.
      With regards to the Coffee. Beans or ground can be kept in the freezer. They are better if vacumn sealed but can be kept in well sealed or double bagged,
      Stay safe everyone.


      Hope this works!

  4. I have no idea what is available at the present time - haven't poked my nose outside of the property since the first of April. I have to rely on my husband and the online shopping sites for the 3 supermarkets I am signed up for to get an idea of what is available. Flour is available at our local IGA and Coles but not Woolworths.

    I have most things covered not necessarily in dried form because we were doing the building work last year and I would pick up really good specials like tins of 4 bean mix. Have plenty to use and lots of tins of tomatoes as my husband found out when we moved the groceries from the overflow pantry in the shed to the pantry in the house.

    I am still sorting it out, today the boxes of bottles and jars came up - I have to sort through them and work out if they are to be kept or off to the op shop or put on market place.

    I did a click and collect order last week with our local IGA and some items were not available - they are more expensive than Aldi but we have decided that it is the price we have to pay at the moment for the few items that we need until we need a large order and I use either Woolworths or Coles.

    My 'liking' FB pages of places that I regularly use meant that we were able to pick up chicken breast fillets for $6-99 a kilo.

    I have found a supplier to cafes etc but the quantities are much to big for just the two of us.


    1. Dear Lynette, I dont blame you for staying in.
      The FB following helps me so much too! With this I have seen many things. Like my old chemist in Adelaide had all kinds of things like sanitising wipes and I just rang them up and they posted them. Thanks to following them on fb. The things I got from the tavern is probably similar to the cafe supplier. The products are so good and much better than the supermarket. Large quantities. But I have freezer room so ok. Even the garbage were so much better and stronger.
      Hope you keep safe and well this week. With much love,

  5. Thank you Annabel for a wonderful post and very wise to stock our staples where possible as there is so many things you can make with them.

    Yes the supply chains are broken and production is not keeping up with demand on many items and grain production has been down in Australia for some time due to the drought and bush fires.

    I would add another couple of things to your list which are long lasting which are -

    - Powdered eggs which will keep for 5 - 10 years unopened but about a month once opened. Storing them in case of a fresh egg shortage is good. Great to use in baking. Vacuum sealed in small amounts for use would be the way to go and kept in a cool dark area.

    - Another thing that popped to mind was soy sauce which lasts pretty much for ages because of the salt content in it which acts as a preservative.

    The shortages we are seeing is flour,sugar, powdered milk, pasta, toilet paper, tissues, paper towel, antibacterial wipes, body wash, tinned vegetables, tinned fruit and frozen vegetables. We are mainly seeing the generic or cheaper brands sold out.

    Have a wonderful Easter and week ahead :).

    Sewingcreations15 (Lorna).

    1. Dear Lorna,
      Actually very good point. This all came on top of drought plus bushfires... and without much time in between. You wouldnt believe it. Yet this is our reality.
      Thank you for mentioning powdered eggs. Sauce is also a good one. Condiments are good. Added flavour could be so important if we were reduced to only very simple things. I love sauce actually.
      Soy sauce, I think Worcestershire sauce also?
      Ok we have same shortages except tinned fruit was ok. Interesting I will watch for this one. Also body wash is a different one. Thanks for these tip offs.
      Have a very good new week. Thanks so much, with love Annabel.xxxx

    2. Most welcome Annabel and from reading Worcestershire sauce will last for 3 years once opened in the refrigerator.

      The tinned fruit stocks were low but not out so it may be the next run on things perhaps although Woolworths has now taken off purchase limits on that I see.

      Have a great week ahead :).

      Sewingcreations15 (Lorna).

  6. Dear Annabel and Bluebirds!!

    Annabel, I love your farmhouse decor! The colours tones of salt and sugar go well!

    I heard someone the other day mentioning ghee as something that lasts, as well.

    I would be grateful if life was a bit less interesting!! Ha ha!!

    Good on you for hosting this topic. Food is so important!


    1. Dear Rachel, Yes I thought the sugars went with my lounge decor! haha! And yes things have been TOO interesting! I need to learn a lot more on Ghee. I am working on that! With love

  7. Thank you for a thoughtful post, Annabel. I have been rethinking our food storage options lately, and this is very helpful. I adore your pantry and the gorgeous shelf with your overflow which looks like decor to me!

    1. Thanks so much Jenny. Many things are such good investments. Next week I want to do things that are useful in other areas than foods. Money is never wasted on them. xxx

  8. Thank you! I have been preaching this for what seems forever. I think rarely a day goes by that I don't comment to someone about expiry dates - which AREN'T! Best by - just means absolute best flavor and consistency. I keep telling people that the stuff in those packages doesn't know the date! LOL - it doesn't magically go bad over night.

    Things have calmed a bit at the stores in our area from what my friends and neighbors say. I have been staying home. Paper goods are still missing most of the time. Meat and produce are plentiful, as well as dairy. Prices are still reasonable in our area.
    I live in the mid section of the U.S. and this area is a relatively inexpensive area to live compared to both coasts.
    Thank you for spreading this info.

    Blessings to you and yours on this Holy day!

    1. Dear Cheryl,
      I think the stuff thrown out that was good yesterday but apparently bed today is just the biggest waste.
      I am glad things are pretty good there and that you are staying safely in. Honestly the wisest thing. Hope the new week goes well Cheryl with love

  9. Dear Annabel.

    Your jars look fantastic!

    I fill large jars then keep my excess goods in large empty mayonnaise buckets that seal really well. Not the prettiest, but very practical. I keep them under the shelving at the bottom of my pantry, and will be hanging a curtain to cover them soon. The buckets were also free or should I say we bartered olives for buckets lol!

    The shop shelves here are still mostly bare. Definitely no toilet paper, flour, sugar. Low on tins of baked beans/spaghetti, pasta sauces etc, wipes, nappies, vinegar, tomato/bbq sauces etc. Coles had lots of tissues yesterday.

    I just want to mention that I bought a large bottle of pure maple syrup at the markets in Adelaide, and once opened it needs to be kept in the fridge. I did not know this and it went mouldy on top and I had to throw it out.

    I was also told the other day that vodka wasn't any good to use as a sanitiser, strong vodka could eat your skin, so need to get dilution right.

    Happy Easter to you and yours,
    Love Tania xxx

    1. Tania, you beat me to it! I had the same thing happen with pure maple syrup.

      I am sure I am the queen of outdated food. One day, I took my mother to the grocery store and she bought $80 worth of food, including a big can of cocoa powder. Unfortunately, she unexpectedly died the next day. She would have come back from the grave if I'd let any of her groceries go to waste! And I didn't! I don't bake a lot (or I would weigh 400 lbs.) and I still have a little bit of cocoa left in the bottom of the can. Oh, I forgot to tell you. My mom died in 1995!

      So, then, my mother-in-law passed and I inherited her food, too, including another almost new can of cocoa powder. Ummm...she died in 2005.

      Both have been fine to use! Although I might have to buy more cocoa soon.

      I am old enough to remember when there weren't dates on food, except for "sell by" on dairy products. I believe that most of the dates have nothing to do with whether the food is safe or not. I would bet that "use by,""best before," etc., are terms made up by lawyers as a way to limit liability. Example: I use a can of something a year past the "best by" date. I am dissatisfied and I sue the food company. I am asked to produce the can. It is obvious that the can was well past the "best by," and I lose my case. Why? The company only accepts liability for their products for a specific length of time, and they list it on the can. Just a theory, but I bet I'm right!

    2. Dear Tania, Yes most vodka is around 40% alcohol so not strong enough. I am using 90% alcohol which I dilute by a third with water in a spray bottle. Also this is what I wet the muslin cloths with. This doenst burn or anything... might if you have a cut! It sounds like your stores are similar to ours. Both county SA so I guess that makes sense. There are good ways to get free sellable containers. The big buckets that restaurants throw away are easy to get and solid. Yours are probably the same as what I am thinking. I would sooner spend my money on the food than the containers! My jars are from my neighbour and I had some lids and clips. I have done an order though so I can put another lot of jars to immediacy use.
      Have a lovely Easter Monday and good week! With love

  10. Supermarkets around here have no flour for baking or bread. Yeast, vinegar and tin tomatoes are in short supply.
    On the up side fresh fruit and vegetable has been in good supply but quality is down a little. Diary appear to be at normal levels.
    This weekend I was discussing the need to place an order for coffee beans in the near future.
    My stockpile also includes coconut oil.


    1. Dear Ruth,
      Thank you it is interesting to hear. Dairy here is also good. I am glad of that! Coffee beans would be good to be ahead on! I need to research what oils keep longest. This is an area I am lacking as far as long term goes. Thank you! Love

  11. Happy Easter to you, Annabel ❤️
    Your food storage is so pretty, you’ve done very well.
    Dates on foods make me crazy.

    1. Dear Rhonda thank you! I do keep laughing how my salt is going out of date after centuries on some mountain. Got to love that one! hahah!
      Have a very good new week! With love,

  12. Annabel,
    Happy Easter to You and Your Family.
    What a wonderful post at such a time as now.

    I have always had a pantry, a family thing handed down generations. I am happy my Son has followed. I have preached expiration dates to others and no one seems to listen, really Honey going bad, so why is it still viable in Egyptian Tombs when they are opened.

    Our pantries now are our life blood as are our gardens. Prayers to all that they are blessed.

    1. Dear Rosanne, Thank you! I am so glad your son also has followed and keeps stocked up. I am thankful we both had such a strong feeling to get ahead and did. Today I have apples and figs to work on and the sun is shining! Have a very good and safe week. With love

  13. I was the designated shopper yesterday. First time I have been in a store for quite awhile. Like yo Annabel I had a feeling last year so we have two freezers filled with meat vegetables and fruit. We also did a massive amount of canning. We are good. What I did see yesterday is that dried beans, rice and yes all the floors like whole wheat, rye, strong flour but there was some while flour. It was interesting to see that the ethnic parts of the store were getting low. I am thinking two things here. One people have realized that many of the flours spices beans etc are the same only cheaper and two that as these items travel so far that it will be short supplies for awhile. A store where my daughter goes to in her town had just received a shipment of three cases of bakery grade yeast. It is pretty much the same as instant yeast. She bought three pounds. She is sharing it around and the lady will alert her when more comes in. It is Fleishmans which is a good brand and also made in Canada. I had stocked up on flour and at present is in bins in the freezer. Happy Easter from Canada Jean

    1. Dear Jean,
      Yes it is interesting to notice what is out of stock. It was good that your daughter got yeast. Everyone is looking for yeast I notice! I am so glad you already sticked up and were prepared. So many of us got the feeling! I love that. And acted on it... that is equally important! Thanks so much! With love

  14. Yourjars are beautiful! That meat processing plant shut down story was purely sensationalism. Only three plants shut down nationwide. The media is blowing so many things out of proportion right now. Our stores are well stocked and I have only seen a few items that have had significant price increases. Aldi had sugar and flour and TP. No idea on the sanitizer products since we do not use them. Here at home we are well stocked on all those long storage items but I have also been happy to use up some things that needed to be rotated out of storage. Our supplies seem to be lasting like the loaves and fishes. It is amazing how little of our food supplies we have used!

    1. Dear Lana, I am so glad you are well stocked and your town is going well. Even with flour!! I am reading now that six meat processors are shut Cargill was temporary, Tyson foods which is one of the worlds largest meat processors, I dont know the name but one in Colorado has 50 cases of corona virus and some deaths. And that open plants have significant problems with people no longer working due to the virus... sickness, fear etc. Others are JBS Beef, CTI Foods, Empire Kosher Poultry, Cargill Meat Solutions and Smithfield. Smithfield is a big one now shut down indefinitely. It seems too big to have no affect on the consumer. Dad is a cattleman. Why happens there interests him as America buys some of our beef.... some of what we produce could end up there! I am happy too to be rotating. As I use something from the freezer I have a bit of a rearrange too. I had some big bottles of water in the bottom of my larger freezer when I had not much else in it. Finally I have removed all these as it is now almost full! I always fill gaps with water, just incase the power goes out. I need some baskets to organise that freezer better as it is a chest freezer. Have a very good new week! With much love,

    2. Yes. I am seeing more meat processors shut down now. I think this could go much deeper than it seems since there does not seem to be the manpower to do the FDA inspections right now either. Everything just stacks on everything else.

      We had terrible storms and tornadoes overnight here. My brother's house was hit by a tornado but they are safe. Also the area near our house at the lake suffered severe damage. There just seems to be situation on top of situation now and the only place to find refuge is Jesus.

  15. Such helpful info. And you are a master of beautifully displaying/storing your pantry provisions.

    Yeast is not available at all in our neck of the woods - nor in the next county. Time to start a sourdough starter!

    I've only been to the store once in a month. I did not go down the paper product/cleaning supply aisles. The baking aisle had plenty of stuff available - although the flour was definitely picked over. The shelves were about half full.

    Your post today is such a helpful guide. I have most of the items you mentioned (except alcohol but I see the value!).

    Thank you so much Annabel. The meat and milk situation here is very concerning. I live in the dairy state and they are dumping milk!
    With schools not in session, there is not the need for milk. Apparently there are laws on the books that say milk for commercial enterprises, like schools, cannot be sold retail. This makes no sense to me.

    Thankfully we prefer plant based milk and hubby is a great fisherman.

    1. Dear Cheri,
      I heard about the dumping of the milk. I think that is just terrible. I am so glad your husband is a fisherman! Now that is helpful!
      Thank you for updating on your county.
      Have a good and safe new week. With love

  16. Dear Annabel,
    This post is much appreciated . I love how you've incorporated your storage into some of the home decor. One of the things I do know is that baking soda and vinegar have many uses aside from edibles. Long outdated baking soda when diluted aas 1 tablespoon to 1 cup of warm water does a great job as an alternative to shampoo. It doesn't suds up on your hair though but does leave it squeaky clean. The vinegar using the same measurements is a great finishing rinse after you've washed the baking soda shampoo out. Baking soda can also be used as an alternative to deodorant.

    As far as herbs and spices go mine are kept in an easily reachable place, well sealed, in my freezer. I've had dried herbs and spices remain as fresh as when they were either bought or dried from the garden for at least 3 years and maybe more. They are still strong and pungent. Fresh garlic gets submerged in oil and lasts almost indefinitely as do dried tomatoes. We keep shelled nuts in the freezer as well. I found a great deal on pine nuts a few years ago, sealed them and froze them and each time I've used them they were still fresh. The same with any other nuts I use. Once opened we keep our dried fruit in a bin in the refrigerator. I have found that this will extend their life even more than being dried, dates especially. Even if the fruit gets a little hard or dried out it can easily be rehydrated with warm water and used. I have always bought yeast in bulk and once open it has been place well sealed and in the freezer. I have had yeast being treated this way remain fresh and viable two years after the expiration date on the package. Each time it's used it's gotten proofed to make sure it's still usable. A pound of yeast this way seems to last us for almost forever.

    From friends who have ventured out to shop I've heard that the stores have reduced their hours of operation and are now only letting in a certain amount of shoppers at one time. She had to wait for an hour in a line outside Aldi's to be able to go in and shop. When she left another person was let in. At some stores here the price for 1 apple has gone up to almost $2 -- that's right $2 for one apple, and $6 for a cauliflower that was $2 two weeks ago. Paper products she said were almost non-existent.

    Wishing everyone a blessed Easter. Cookie

    1. Oh, dear...yeast. When we moved 22 years ago, I wanted to learn to bake bread and bought 2 lbs. of yeast at Costco. It was soon evident that I am not much of a baker! I have been keeping the yeast in a quart jar in the freezer all these years. I haven't used any in 2-3 years, but it was fine then! How to tell if your yeast is still good: proof it! Mix one packet--or 2-1/2 teaspoons--of yeast into 1/2 cup warm water and add a teaspoon of sugar. Let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes. If it starts bubbling and gurgling, the yeast is still good--add it to your recipe. The trick is to freeze it. (My big problem is that I don't really know how to knead).

    2. Dear Cookie, I am going to add baking soda and vinegar next week in my non food items as well because of all their "other" applications. So useful. We are seeing some of these kind of price rises. They are a shock. Like giant leaps not just gradual price rises. This is scary. Be safe and careful! With much love

    3. Hello Cookie...what oil do you submerge your garlic in? Do you then use the oil to cook in as well? Thanks so much!

    4. Hi Laura
      I use either avocado or light olive oil. Separate the bulb into individual cloves and peel them. Pack into s glass jar and pour oil over the cloves until they are completely submerged. Refrigerate and just remove cloves as you need them. The oan be used for cooking . Mjust be sure you keep remaining cloves well covered with the oil Cookie

  17. We are still experiencing shortages but at the moment, if you are willing to go to more than one store you can find most things. There are limitations so you cannot stock up, of course.

    I am still using wheat that is twenty years old. I used to make all of our bread and then I didn't for a long time. So far when I've opened the wheat, it has been fine. I've used old fashioned oatmeal that was a year old, stored in an airtight container, that was fine. I laugh at some of the "Use By" dates, too!

    1. Dear Brenda,
      It is good to know how well your wheat has lasted. I believe rolled outs can last many years. My brother told me an interesting thing... I was talking to him abut feeding animals. He said he had seen a shed full of hay that had been there for 20 years and it was still good! I was amazed by this bit of information. So many things may well surprise us! With love,

  18. When I was young, there were no dates on cans of food or other items. Some condiments do not require refridgerating after opening. My grandchildren wouldn't use mustard or catsup if the date had expired..Come on...
    As for cans and home canned foods, just check it after opening, it isn't necessarily spoiled, acid based vegetables bear checking but I have used home canned items for years after they were processed. One thing about flour or cornmeal that is self-rising is the leavening maybe be lost but I think you could still used it. It won't rise as much as it should but it won't hurt you.
    Mama Bear

    1. Dear Mama Bear,
      My Grandparents and probably most of Mums life was the same. They would laugh at what people throw out now. Or cry...
      Good advice thank you! Love

  19. Love this list, and your cabinet filled with salt and sugar in jars is very decorative! An expiration date on salt, I agree it’s too funny! Have a blessed Easter, Bluebirds! Love, Teresa

    1. Thanks Teresa! I hope you had a lovely Easter, have a good new week! xxx

  20. thanks for this post Annabel. Here in Gippsland I am noticing a shortage of cling wrap, freezer bags, rubbish bags and foil. Plus all the usual items flour, sugar, yeast, pasta, rice, tea, coffee, milk powder, toilet paper(haven't seen any for 6 weeks), and ingerdients to make your own cleaning products.

    1. Margaret thank you for the update on your location. You have different shortages and each item I can kind of see why... freezers sold out... so freezer bags getting low makes sense... We have still had tea and coffee and I am like !!!! I need those so I hope we dont follow! Thanks so much I feel like this is a tip off and will act on it! xxx

  21. Happy Easter Annabel and bluebirds,
    Kristi did our first shop in a month yesterday. We got an Aldi it is a short drive only about 15 minutes. She said it was clean and organized. They had a man outside spraying the carts with lysol.She was going to leave if she did not feel completely safe. She wore her mask and gloves. They had limits posted so you could go quickly thru the store. They had plexiglass up between her and the check out person. She was amazed by the prices.They had lavender scented toilet paper. I thought you would love this. Today we are having a quiet dinner at home.Beef roast,potatoes,asparagus and mince meat pie. It smells just lovely. We have a cute baby bunny in the yard. He is so tiny and cute. Hope you have a lovely day. We have been doing some online ordering to stay out of the stores. Thank you for the post about long term food. We are still seeing shortages here and lots of the price points have gone up.
    Much love Patti

    1. Dear Patti, Lavender scented toilet paper! I have never heard of this. I saw someone posted pink toilet paper. I would love that. We are lucky to get any toilet paper! I am sorry prices have gone up. We have seen some huge leaps in prices. Shocking. Your dinner sounded beautiful. Patti I hope you are well and going ok. With love

    2. Annabel I know you have essential oils in your stocks. Just apply a couple drops of lavender oil to the inside cardboard roll and you will have your own scented roll.

  22. It's lovely to see your jars in the lounge room, I have not thought of that as extra storage space but what a brilliant idea, thank you!
    Annabel, I read some information on Australian rice - apparently we grow about 80% of what we use in Australia, the extra comes from Vietnam. But after the fires and drought and floods around the Murray Darling their yield this season was only 1/6 the of what they normally get so Australia is in desperate need of rice this year...but Vietnam have shut down their rice exports to to Covid-19. So if you see big bags of rice, stock up and let others know.
    We've planted out our winter garden this past week (which would be a summer garden to you, but we're up in the very hot tropics) and have put in four times as much as last year so we can help feed our daughter's family and our elderly neighbour, plus have extra for preserving and dehydrating.
    With regards to dried fruit...they don't all store very well as they're packed or even in glass, but if you store them in those air-extractor bags they will last quite a while longer. I forget what the machine is called that extracts the air and seals the bags but we're getting one.
    Bless you heaps!

    1. Dear Jenny, Thank you! In the same way I love to see your fabrics and cottons and they are beautiful I think kitchen ware and jars are too. I would sooner these and natural things like flowers than anything else. Thank you for the info on rice! Since I have researched this and can see now Vietnam is keeping their rice as you say. mmm This is good to know.
      I LOVE that you increased your garden to help your daughter and family and your neighbour. I hope it does very well. I love your garden and the beautiful birds!
      A vac sealer... they are good! You can get the attachment that seals special jars as well. A good investment. Thank you Jenny, with love

  23. Great info. In Australia the words with the dates are what to look for in products - best before (or sometimes simply BB) is the date that the product will be 'at its best' in regards to flavour & freshness but will be usable pretty much indefinitely. Some things such as yeast or bicarb become less active. Use by is the estimation of when the product will/may become unsafe to eat (key word - estimation) . Here is a thorough explanation

    I also keep tinned fruit & fish, polenta, Oats, Asian noodles & cold roll wrappers.

    Cheers Laura

    1. Dear Laura, Thank you. I definitely love to keep Polenta. And tinned foods. Thanks so much. I do need to stock up on Polenta a bit more. With love

  24. Thanks for the information. Question - what about brown sugar? How long does that last?

    1. Janey: You can make brown sugar by mixing Molasses and regular sugar, in food processor or blender.
      Stay safe.

    2. Dear Janey, Brown sugar has a moisture content and it seems to have a way of setting like a rock. So I would keep good supplies of regular white sugar and molasses in another jar. Brown sugar is just those two combined. You can look up the proportions depending if you want light brown sugar or dark brown. Then you would have years supply of brown sugar with no problems. I hope that helps! Love

    3. We keep a good supply of brown sugar here and stock up when it is on sale. Even if it has gotten hard it is easy to rehydrate it. I put it is a plastic container with a tight fitting lid and then add one of those terra cotta disks that you soak in water for keeping brown sugar fresh. Within a day or two it is soft and ready to use. If not just soak your disk again. I have never had to do it more than once but it will be dry at that point so I soak it again because I always keep it in the canister.

  25. One of my neighbours mentioned (from a distance) that she couldn't get cooking oil and she'd been to a couple of stores last week. I did think about this and purchased an extra bottle of both olive oil and corn oil plus shortening, lard and extra butter just before lockdown.
    I only brew coffee at home very occasionally but do keep some instant coffee as backup. Also, things like bottles of relish, sauces & packages of gravy mix or cheese sauce helps to add flavour a bit of variety to meals.
    While I like to bake from scratch, the fact that so many items have been out of stock has meant that I've also added some cake mixes & such to my pantry - not a priority but helps for the occasional treat.

    1. Dear Margie,
      It is funny in our stores while mostly flours were sold out some cake mixes were available. I also grabbed those. I made a plain one today and put apple slices all over the top. It is good! In a pinch these are great and I have to say that nice things and comfort foods are quite important really. Stressful times and staying home I think some morale boosting isn't a bad thing. I am thinking to being making stove top coffee. I need a better way. With love

  26. Thank you for your lovely post. Your pantry is gorgeous love love love all the glass jars.

    1. Thanks so much Tammy! Almost all the jars you see were given to me by my neighbour. I began collecting jars in my 20s mainly from thrift stores and saving them. I love the old thick glass ones the best. Each one is different with irregularities... I love them and they are useful! I think I have some kind of addiction! xxx

  27. Hi Annabel and Bluebirds,
    Happy Easter! Thank you for the informative and encouraging post.

    Food items seem to be getting more available here in Arizona, the southwest USA. My daughter put in quite a large order to Costco including ham, cheese, fresh potatoes, fruits and vegetables. She got everything she ordered except the bath tissue. Our neighbor who graciously picks up items for us when she shops mentioned that supplies seem to be improving, too. She went to 2 stores on Friday and was able to get everything on her list, as well as my 3 items.
    I am making a new list of items I consider essential for our pantry based on our experiences. Many of those items are on your list of long lasting items. It has been so helpful having baking supplies, spices and ingredients to make a variety of meals. I'm also restocking a few items when possible. We are enjoying the fresh vegetables and fruits from the store or garden and saving most of the canned and frozen we have.
    We really enjoy a combination of tangelo and orange juice that has been frozen and slightly defrosted. It is something like a shaved ice or slushy and a sugar free treat. It happened that the citrus was ready to be picked just before we stopped going out. I have been thankful to be able to share with the food pantry and friends. I have zested and juiced quite a few lemons, oranges and tangeloes and we've been enjoying them fresh, too.
    We have large pots with roses, snapdragons, nasturtiums, hollyhocks and irises, which are a joy to see. The edibles include onions, grapes, mint, lettuce,spinach, tomatoes and sweet potatoes. I finally tried eating the sweet potato leaves in salad and found them quite tasty. I had just about decided not to plant tomatoes this year, but found 3 volunteer plants to transplant and decided to also plant a few from seeds. Even if I don't get a lot, I know we'll be glad to have them.
    We miss getting together with family, but want to keep everyone safe. Our daughter and son-in-law brought their girls home from the university. We get to see them on the computer and talk on the phone. We had a visit planned to son and family in WA, but had to cancel. Church is also on computer. We are very thankful for our many blessings!
    I hope you had a blessed and happy Easter!
    Wishing you, your family and the Bluebirds a safe and happy week!
    Elaine from Arizona

    1. Dear Elaine, Things are sounding good where you are in Arizona. And your potted plants sound beautiful!. I have been planting Hollyhocks and had success with them last year. I love them!
      My niece is home from school in a similar way to your Granddaughters. Safer at home.
      Aren't we luck for good communication. In the old days being cut off would have been so much worse and a lot of "not knowing" which would have been awful.
      Your citrus drinks sound so full of goodness and vitamin C they are good!
      Have a lovely new week. With love

  28. Annabel
    Can you give me some idea where I can buy lids to fit my mum's old preserving jars?

    1. Hi Sandy it is great your home your Mums old jars! Ok first of all what country are you in and do you know the brand of the jars? Jars usually have something stamped on them... so with this we can help you find new lids.

    2. Annabel
      I am in Australia NSW Hunter Valley. The jars are all Fowlers. The numbers are 14, 20, 27 and 31. Thankyou so much for your help.

    3. Dear Sandy, You are in luck! You can buy new lids, rings and clips for these! Go to there is heaps of info and a shop. All the sizes you mention you can still get everything for. You will also see their value... i.e. a box of no 20s is $55.20 new. But your old ones I think will be better anyway as thicker! I love the old ones. I hope this helps! With love

    4. Thankyou Annabel. This is great.

  29. Hi Bluebirds. I have noticed the IGA's are better stocked than Coles and Woollies from what zie have heard. I have found that Continental stores are great for pasta and tinned tomatoes. A local cheese shop here that also makes bread has bread flour available, I have read that flour is in plentiful supply in Australia but that it is packaging it in small packets is the issue with our current supply. I have noticed that local bakeries sell flour so that would be a good place to look. Our local fruit and veg shop advertised on Facebook that they had yeast! "Simply No Knead" also posts out flour goods and yeast. They are behind in orders but I will be getting some delivered in a few weeks. They ship Aus wide I think. Likewise online cake making suppliers can ship baking products. Local delis also often stock fresh yeast (particularly Continental ones). Look for different packaging too - in an IGA I found sachets of baking powder which I have never noticed. It had a German and English label. Normally I try to purchase made in Aus but this time I made an exception as baking powder has been hard to find. Thanks for the tip on the rice shortages - I think I will look out for some more. Stay well and safe everyone. Mrs Tiggywinkle x

    1. Dear Mrs. Tiggywinkle, I have noticed this too! The IGA seemed to go to more trouble too i.e. they re packaged the big packs of toilet paper into packs of 4 so more people could get some. Thank you for some great tips and alternative places to find things. This has helped me as I was able to get a heap of flour via the Tavern who get it from a catering company. We can try all kinds of alternative sources! With thanks,

    2. You're welcome. I hope the info can help someone. We are going to brave Aldi tomorrow. A bit worried about how crowded it might be though.

  30. Hello Annabelle,
    I have been enjoying your blog, which I found through a reference on theprudenthomemaker blog (I see several people I "know" from over there). I haven't commented before, but would like to add that I have found that organic dairy, especially milk, has much longer life. I bought organic whole milk at Costco before this all started (so about mid-March), and the "expiration" date is May 17th! And I usually use it for weeks after that. Far longer than the non-organic milk which is usually no more than two weeks! Thank you for your inspiringly and helpful posts! Laura

    1. Hi Laura
      I use either avocado oil or a light olive oil. I keep the jars refrigerated I just fill the jars with peeled cloves and pour the oil over it. Whenever a fresh garlic is needed I just take the amount of cloves out called for. Yes, you can use the oil for cooking as long as the cloves stay submerged until the are all used up. Hope this helps. Cookie

    2. Dear Laura, I am so glad to have you here. I love The Prudent Homemaker also!. That is a short expiration date. But yes it should be good for much longer. I am looking to try more powdered milks to get the longer lasting storage. But both are helpful. Thank you so much for your kind comment! With love

  31. My husband, son & daughter-in-law all work in the food production industry. Their company is now doing temperature checks as employees come to work. They've also told employees they will not lose their jobs if they just choose not to work because they're afraid...of course they will not be paid if they don't work. The company has also been adding monetary incentives to encourage people to keep working....they cannot fill the orders demand is so high but they could not keep up with orders before all of this happened.

    1. Dear Jenny, This is really interesting. Of course people working in close quarters with others will become afraid they will get sick. Especially if one person among them does... it would be natural. From this you can see what could easily happen. There are so many ways the supply chain is affected. Thank you! With love

  32. I am from the U.S.-the Pacific Northwest and I just spoke to my butcher today and he told me Smithfield has closed and that he expects pork to be in very short supply and very expensive here in the U.S.
    I have also seen huge increases in food prices and the sales and coupons that 2 months were plentiful are now non-exsistent. I have spent $1500 in the last 2 months on food and that is without buying any extras-nothing for the stockpile. This is for only 2 people and totally due to price increases. I cannot afford to continue with the price increases so I am planting a big garden and we are rationing our food. I hope the prices will even out at some point in the near future.

    1. It is such a good idea to speak to those in the business.... and your butcher would know. Very interesting!
      The food prices are alarming. A garden is a very good idea. As you say too... being very careful with making food go as far as possible. Thanks so much! Love

  33. Annabel,
    I love your jars! They are so tall and smooth. I can actually help here a bit.
    Instant or nonfat powdered milk if taken out of the packaging, vacuum sealed and stored below 75 degrees can last indefinitely.
    Honey, sugar and salt never expire. They are antibacterial and antimicrobial. And are also great for wound care and some illnesses.
    Instant coffee that is freeze dried never expires.
    Jello powder can be used for different things and never expires.
    Bay leaves helps keep bugs out. I put them in my jars of rice and flour etc.
    Butter powder lasts for years and is a good back up although not for baking, but is great for instant soups or on veggies, mashed potatoes, etc.
    And there is a way to make meat jerky that will last 40 years in a jar in the cupboard using a fan.
    I never pay attention to expire dates. I recently used a can of peas that expired 10 years ago and they tasted fresh and were still nice and green. Now if something doesn't smell good or taste good that is a different matter of course.
    And ghee is very easy the same as canning butter except the milk fats are strained out.

    1. Dear Vicky, Thank you... I think milk is such a valuable thing to have. I will start storing it this way and get the non fat.
      I did not know about freeze dried instant coffee!
      Jelly is useful as you say... good idea. When sick we were always served jelly.
      Thank you for your help and knowledge!! With much love

  34. Hi Annabel and Bluebirds

    I hope everyone is staying safe and well.

    Sorry it has been sometime since my last post but things around here have certainly been hectic.

    DD9 became sick with a chest infection 2 weeks prior to school closing and it was impossible to see a Dr, finally we go into a Dr the day they state schools would be taking 5 day pupil free days only to find out she had 3 things going on not just the infection, however we are all good again. So we have now been home for 5 weeks with minimal outings (like most people)

    On Easter Sunday we knew our Friend's coffee van was going to a local hospital and DD9 wanted to gift some coffee to healthcare workers so we organised this to be done. Later that afternoon we had a surprise phone call from one of the Dr's to thank her for being such a generous child and to tell her she would be receiving her money back to again pay it forward. Yesterday we met with this generous Dr and now we are working on our next donation.

    We made an Easter Egg delivery to some friends before Easter and tomorrow or Friday we will be making another drop off to some friends with some popcorn, lollies, a popper and a small gift as well as a suggested list of movies to watch or for them to select one of their own and to let us know what they watch.

    Annabel I have to say that over the past 9 nearly 10 years I have learnt so much from your wise words and wisdom. In the weeks with DD9 sick it was such a blessing to have so many prepared meals in the freezer to be able to get us through. We still have many more and will be making use of these.

    Products we still can't get include Toilet paper, rice, flour, pasta and milk. Being a diabetic I use a local milk that is low in sugar and I have never had a problem in getting it before but now it is almost impossible to get. Food prices here have had a massive increase. I noticed this yesterday when I was doing a very quick shop.

    I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter.
    Stay safe and take care

    Aly xo

    1. Dear Aly, Thank you for such kind words they mean a lot to me. Always you have done your best and you have been through some really tough times too. Your daughter has grown up so much and so nicely! How wonderful! I would be very proud and how nice of that Doctor to build her up like that. These thing mean a lot.
      I am so glad how you had meals ahead! I needed a meal ahead to help my daughter today. I just went to the freezer grabbed a nice pasta bake out and sent it to her. Done!
      I am sorry about the food price increases. It is getting tough... also that you had such problems getting DD in to see a Doctor.
      You spread a lot of joy over Easter. This is what the world needs just now! With much love,

  35. Dear Annabel and Bluebirds,
    I am slow getting a comment on here this week, but have read all of yours and they are wonderful!! So helpful to see what everyone is doing.
    A few years back I ordered many cans of powdered eggs, shortening, butter, cheese, sour cream, buttermilk and milk. I am so glad that I did. Most last, easily, between 10 and 20 years unopened. If opened, they last one year from opening date. To use these it is helpful to routinely rotate them in your normal cooking. I have used Butter Powder for baking and didn't notice a difference in the texture or taste, but, perhaps, it was just the item I was making. I will pay close attention to that going forward.
    We have not been following a budget to purchase items. We figure money invested in useable necessities is by far more valuable than what is sitting in a savings account. We are prudent, however, and make sure not to overspend and be unwise.
    Once a week my husband masks up and puts on his gloves and grocery shops during the very early senior hours: 6 a.m. or 7 a.m. Then he comes home, uses alcohol on his hands before opening the door, showers, puts his outside clothing in a trash bag, takes it to the washer and puts it in right away, then washes up again. It is a procedure, but a safe one to protect us, as we are in our 70's and I am a high risk person.
    Disinfecting each grocery item that comes into the house isn't anything new for us, so we just continue in that practice. I long ago decided that where people that stock shelves have had their hands or haven't washed for how long, is disgusting, so I made sure the food put away is already disinfected and ready to be touched in order to bake or cook. We use unscented baby wipes that I saturate with disinfecting Essential Oils and we use gloves to do the process. Then wash up really well afterward.
    I haven't been out since March 14th, but my husband said most items are coming back into the stores with the exception of alcohol, toilet tissue, dairy items, and chicken. I am sure there are other items no longer available, also, that he doesn't check out.
    Those who are running the show, here, are stating that there will, most likely, be a second wave of this virus in the Fall season (U.S.) We plan on doing a garden about three times the size of any we have done in this yard before. Plus, we are praying our fruit is very productive this year.
    May God bless and protect each of you and your families.
    Love and hugs,

    1. Dear Glenda,
      I always noticed how you cleaned groceries before putting them away. Now it is a lot of extra work and we are doing this as things are brought in and put away but to me this has to be done. Then the washing of the fresh foods.
      Also your husbands routine when he comes in is good. This will be the downfall for a lot of people... the virus walking straight into the home.
      I agree that money invested in lasting foods and basics is very wisely invested. I keep seeing the same thing... with masks, with basic goods, soap and seeds suddenly money cannot buy these things and they re worth more than gold! Keep safe and well Glenda, with love

  36. Hi Annabel,hope your well,firstly i did a shop today with work i noticed no bleach,or pine o'cleen this was for a lady i shop for weekly then i did my shop later in the day and bought some himalayan rock salt could you share some ideas on what can be made with this salt thanks and keep safe x

  37. Hi Annabel
    I'm not sure if I asked you this but I can't find my question in the comments so maybe I just dreamed it. I love the labels on your jars. I'm sure I remember you mentioned them in one of your posts but I can't find it. I would love to order/purchase/create some. Also I'm curious as to what came packaged in that great big box that you intend to turn into a cubby house. I love reading here. I am inspired by your gardens and am using this as inspiration to create my own at my new residence.


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