Laine's Letters. Food insurance.

 



Dear Sisters,

We have car insurance in case we get into a car accident. We have life insurance should something happen to us and our daughter needs to be taken care of. We have house insurance should we have a fire or storm and need to rebuild. We have health insurance should we need to be hospitalized or see a doctor. But another insurance that is a necessity for us is food insurance. We have food insurance in case of sickness, unemployment, or a tough season. Both of my grandmothers always had food insurance living in N.H. with the threat of being snowed in for weeks at a time.
 
Food insurance is a well stocked pantry. 
 
This verse has motivated me so much in preparing my pantry:
 
"She is like the merchants' ships; she brings her food from afar." Proverbs 31:14
 
What an incredible sentence.
 
Years ago when I began learning how to stock my pantry, I thought a lot about this verse as I shopped. I noticed that the Proverbs woman is likened to more than one ship when it comes to gathering food for her family. Also very large merchant ships at that! She seeks out food even from far away. So I suspected early on that if I was to take a look into her pantry or root cellar, it would be very well stocked. I also suspected that she would be doing the bulk of this gathering in the summer/early fall when the crops were plentiful. Food would have been stored in a multitude of ways. And I bet she took advantage of every opportunity to be ready for the winter months ahead.
 
So I got serious this past summer in building up my pantry. Instead of stocking my pantry for a few months' time, which I had been doing for many years, I decided to stock my pantry for six to twelve months. First, I made a list of all our most used grains/pastas/dried beans/flours. I looked at my supply on hand, figured out how much we would use in that time frame, and bought what I needed in bulk. I couldn't get everything in bulk, but I tried if I could as it was more cost efficient. I stored these items in large plastic containers in my pantry. 
 
These are my bulk items:
 
Oats
Rice
Wheat berries
Bread flour
White flour
Rice Flour
Gluten free 1 to 1 flour
Gluten free grain flour
Gluten free pastas
Beans beans
Navy beans
Red Lentils
 
I wrote everything I bought in a notebook with prices and location so that I would have a better idea next year what I needed. How did we afford this? Well, that is another letter. 😊 But essentially, I did a "no spend year" in 2019 so that I could build up our savings. It was an amazing year.
 
Some other dry good items that I stored including nuts, tea, and coffee which I got in larger amounts, but not in bulk were:
 
Cornmeal
Cocoa
Brown rice
Sugar
Corn masa flour 
Brown sugar
Powdered sugar
Chocolate chips
Pamela's Mix
Cornstarch
Baking powder 
Salt
Baking soda
Yeast
Nuts
Tea 
Coffee
 
My next food items to locate and buy were anything in cans. I can some things from our garden, but these were other items that I wanted to have on hand.
 
Tuna
Salmon
Tomato Products
Pumpkin
Black beans
Hominy
Green beans
Garbanzo beans
Pineapple
Olives
 
After I got all the canned goods I thought we would need, I turned my attention to anything in jars. Here are those items:
 
Applesauce
Maple Syrup
Honey
Artichoke hearts
Hot Sauce
Olive oil
Grapeseed oil
Apple Cider Vinegar
Braggs Liquid Aminos
Peanut Butter
Tahini
Pasta Sauce
Mayonaise
Herbs & Spices
 
It really helped me to go in order and to do it in the summer as I was not homeschooling. I could build my pantry more efficiently as I paid attention to each group of foods that my family eats. In the middle of all this pantry building, my garden and my daughter's garden started to really produce. I had three dehydrators going many days as I dried so many vegetables from the garden. I put my dried foods into glass jars on my pantry shelves. While fruit was on sale in the summer, I dried a lot of fruit as well. This helped to build up the vegetable and fruit part of my pantry, along with canning things from the garden, too. I have many butternut squash and delicata squash stored as well in my pantry.
 
Meat was a bit more difficult to figure out. So I pulled everything out of my freezer to see what I had on hand, wrote it all down, and then bought from each protein group where I needed. My freezer is in my pantry, so I consider it part of my pantry as well. (I also dried some ground beef and kept that in my fridge.) In my freezer I keep:
 
Fish
Chicken
Beef
Lamb
Pork
 
Lastly, I turned to toiletries and cleansers. I knew this was the last group of things I was dealing with, so it was kind of fun by this point. I had so much hard work behind me, for building a pantry is a lot of work. Especially as you are preserving things from your garden in the heat of the summer. But there is something so wonderful about watching your pantry grow all summer in time for the winter season. I remember my paternal grandmother having an amazing pantry. As a young girl, it always looked like a little store to me in her small walk-in closet off her kitchen. She never had a garden or canned anything, but she knew how to build a pantry that would take her through the harsh winters on the east coast. My maternal grandmother, who also lived on the east coast, had such a large pantry that when she died it was dispersed among five families as there was so much stored food. She, too, never canned or had a garden, but what an amazing pantry that was stored on those shelves in her cellar.
 
Here is what I bought for my toiletries and cleansers:
 
Toilet paper
Tissues
Soap
Shampoo
Conditioner
Toothpaste
Dental Floss
 
Bar Keepers Friend
Clothing detergent
Dish detergent
Vinegar
Glass Cleaner
Baking Soda
 
When I got to September, I was pretty much done. So the whole project took me about 4 months. I've never enjoyed anything more. I love walking into my pantry, which is a walk-in closet off my kitchen. It is my food insurance.
 
I feel like my grandmothers. I feel ready for winter. 
 
Love,
Laine

Comments

  1. It's more important than ever to keep a pantry. I know I've been so grateful for mine over the last 12 months .
    Annabel thankyou for sharing Laines letters with us

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  2. I agree! My pantry is a happy place in my home. We are retired and my husband enjoys canning with me. This summer we pressure canned 40 jars of beef, pork and chicken. This is an added assurance for us for any winter storm with a power outage.

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  3. Great ideas for building up the pantry. Living where the winter weather can make travel impossible for periods of time, I too have always tried to keep the pantry stocked. This really came into use this year with supplies uncertain at times or during stay at home orders. I plan to use this idea to put together my own lists of items to stock. Thanks for this idea! - Diane from northern Minnesota

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  4. What a concise and useful summary. Many thanks, I will print this out and start the review of what I have stored.

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  5. Where I live I can grow a garden all year round. Most of the vegies we eat come straight from the garden. I only grow what we eat. Kale grows well here and is really easy to grow but we dont eat it so I dont grow it. I do collect seeds from plants but I have ordered in seeds that I dont have and want to try.

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    Replies
    1. Cavolo nero (black kale) or (tuscan kale) is delicious if you like spinach or chard like greens. I too did not eat kale as I found it to be unpalatable. The cavolo nero also keeps producing leaves as you harvest from the bottom of the plant. As with brassicas, cooler weather sweetens the leaves. Just a saute with oil and salt. Also freezes well (blanch first).

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  6. I loved reading this; thank you for sharing it! I am new here and look forward to reading your other posts. Blessings!

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  7. Over our 50 years of pantry-keeping, we have found ways every year to “fine-tune” our food storage! The past few years, we’ve dehydrated more and more. We’ve canned a good supply of beef, pork and chicken. We’ve diversified our pantry too, so that we have freezer, shelf stable, refrigerated and fresh things. This way we won’t be too dependent on any one preservation method.
    While summer is a great time to stock up as Laine suggests, I’ve found that if I keep my eyes open and my spirit receptive to promptings, I also find “opportunities “ to add to my pantry even in the cold winter!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Over our 50 years of pantry-keeping, we have found ways every year to “fine-tune” our food storage! The past few years, we’ve dehydrated more and more. We’ve canned a good supply of beef, pork and chicken. We’ve diversified our pantry too, so that we have freezer, shelf stable, refrigerated and fresh things. This way we won’t be too dependent on any one preservation method.
    While summer is a great time to stock up as Laine suggests, I’ve found that if I keep my eyes open and my spirit receptive to promptings, I also find “opportunities “ to add to my pantry even in the cold winter!

    Gardenpat in Ohio

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  9. Thank you Laine! I
    Love building my pantry and have started canning meat this year! Would love to hear about your “ No spend year” !! Sounds very interesting!❤️❤️ Becky

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  10. Thank you for your post. I noticed that you have white lids are all of your jars. Is there a certain type of lid (plastic?) that you use and would recommenced for long term storage?

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    Replies
    1. Dear Dana, Most of my jars are vintage Agee jars I have collected over the years in thrift stores. They have metal screw top lids which I paint white. I love glass. To me it it the perfect long term storage... except maybe not in an earthquake area. Agee was a famous Australian brand years ago. I do collect others. Any jar with a screw top lid is a good jar to me! Love Annabel.xxx

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