But why build up your pantry ~ it really just makes good common sense to buy items when they are at their cheapest prices and if your budget allows, buy as many as you can to last till the next really good sale. The months of November and December are excellent for buying baking goods, hams, turkeys, etc. All of these can be frozen or stored in airtight (critter proof) containers. Since Amy bakes, we bought bags of sugar, plain flour, chocolate chips, and pounds of butter for .99 at our local Kroger over several weeks on their sales. The flour came in 5 pound bags and we bought 10 ~ 5 got stored in her big bucket (an old icing bucket from Walmart) and the other 5 are in the freezer waiting till she needs them. $10 for 50 pounds of flour that will last us for months ~ its a good deal.
When we bought our house, I was thrilled with the "utility" type room off the sewing room that I could use for my pantry ~ it houses all my canned goods, canning supplies, extra spices, Amy's baking supplies, our upright freezer and a 2nd refrigerator. While the extra fridge is not totally necessary, it is awesome at holidays and family get togethers to have the extra space. We can make up salads or casseroles ahead of time and store them in the fridge & not take up valuable space in the kitchen fridge. The walls of the room are lines with stainless steel shelves that Greg bought me at Home Depot. Last week, at Target, I found some cute heavy plastic folder boxes with a chalkboard label on one end, they are working great to store our evaporated milk, rotel tomatoes, campbells soup size cans etc. I bought 4 of them. With the cans laying down, each box will hold more than 1 dozen. Now I need to find something similar to hold slightly larger cans ~ like progresso soup cans and tomato sauce cans. Since the shelves were wire, it cans tilt just the right way, there can be an avalanche ~ with the folder boxes, this doesn't happen. I try to store my full canning jars in the boxes they came in ~ those work great on the shelves.
I decided several years ago, that the late fall and winter time is excellent for canning. Its much more pleasant to heat up the house on cold days than in the summertime on hot days! These past several months I have been canning ~ ground beef, chicken, small kidney beans, black eyed peas. I've read with the ground beef that you can process it in the jars without browning ahead of time ~ but that its harder to get out of the jars because its a lump ~ I brown mine ahead of time and add onions, salt and pepper. Then fill the quart jars and fill with boiling water, follow your pressure canner directions for canning meats. The chicken, I cut into strips, fill the jars, add a teaspoon of canning salt and fill with boiling water, then follow the pressure canning directions. Both take 90 minutes at 11 pounds of pressure. And why can meat? Its easy to open a can of ground beef for tacos, or spaghetti sauce or chili and not worry about browning the meat each meal needed. The chicken we use for chicken pot pie or enchiladas or chicken salad. And if the power goes out ~ I have some meat preserved that won't spoil.
On A Working Pantry ~ Patsi has great challenges each week for encouragement and inspiration. She also discusses different types of pantry's ~ your freezer is your frozen pantry, canned goods in your regular pantry, a gift pantry of either a drawer or closet or Rubbermaid type container for gifts you find throughout the year, etc. She has broadened my understanding of pantries. Excellent advice, fun to read and learn.
On Bluebirds are Nesting ~ Annabell is starting a gift challenge (besides all her pantry posts) to encourage everyone to make gifts throughout the year for holidays, birthdays, and especially Christmas. Make more, buy less. I am excited to see what everyone posts and to glean some new ideas and inspiration.
You will be inspired and blessed reading & following these 2 blogs, You will learn lots and be better prepared in your own home for unexpected company, storms, sickness, etc.
At the end of Proverbs 31 ~ women are advised/inspired to willingly work with our hands (v13), provide food for our household (v15), plant a vineyard (or garden) (v16), extend our hand to the poor and needy (v20), and most importantly, watch over the ways of our household (v27). May we all be diligent over caring for our families.
I am thankful for ~
sales to stock up on items we use
advice and inspiration shared by others
shelves full of canned goods
available resources to take advantage of the sales
books to walk your through the canning process
Here are some pictures of my pantry....
|These work great ~ very sturdy!|
|Quart jars of chicken I canned yesterday ~ 3 family packs filled 7 quart jars.|
Greg and I went to Kroger the day after Christmas ~ the family size packs of boneless, skinless chicken breasts were marked down to $1.39 a pound ~ I bought 5. One was cooked and made into lots of chicken pot pie filling, one is frozen and will be barbeque chicken for several meals and the other 3 were canned. I love sales!
Oh, if anyone knows of any containers that work great for the larger cans, I would love to know about them! I've looked on Amazon but a $35+ can rotator system isn't real frugal!