Back to Food Storage

Sharon May 23rd, 2012

It seems like an age since I’ve written anything much about food storage.  It felt for a long while like I’d said most of what I had to say in my book (Independence Days) on the subject, and that I didn’t want to be redundant – but I’m reminded regularly by questions that some things do bear repeating, because of course, we’re all ready to hear different stuff at different times.  New readers join us, and of course, events point out things with a new urgency.

So I thought I”d do a review of some of the basics of food storage on this site, going over some older material and adding some new stuff.  As we get started, however, I’d like to ask what you’ve been doing and thinking about food storage, and if there are things you’d like me to write about.

I admit, I’ve been somewhat less diligent this year than in the past keeping up with my storage, and because of that have had some sudden shortages – we ran out of pasta, brown sugar and brown rice, things I normally have on hand.  I need to do a full sort out of my storage and see what I’ve got and where my resources have to go in the future.

What about you?  If you’ve never stored food before, what are you major questions?  If you’ve been doing it for a bit, what has changed?  Are there things you’d like to add or know about, or things you’d recommend others do differently?  Have you used your food storage?  How?  Added to it?  Are  you keeping more or less?  How urgent do you feel about it?

Let me know, and I’ll respond!

Sharon

41 Responses to “Back to Food Storage”

  1. LisaZ says:

    I’m happy to see you’ll be doing more on this subject again. I too have been less diligent in the last year. Partly because we had exchange students for several months and we ate a little differently with them (Chileans boys need MEAT!). Partly because a tighter food budget has meant concentrating more on what we need now and less on what we might need in the future.

    I’d like to discuss food storage as a long-term plan more than an emergency, scared-out-of-our-wits about the economy and the earth kind of thing. I’d like to start thinking of it in terms more of a good way to live, which you do a great job at Sharon but which I’m less apt to do than when I was just terrified back in 2007/08.

    Also, I like the discussions of what to do if you only have 10 bucks a week or so to add storage foods.

  2. S. Miller says:

    Can you go over what foods can be stored together and what should not be again? We have two baskets of food. One contains onions and potatoes. The other contains apples and peaches. The peaches and apples seem to be going bad. Is this coincidence, or is storing these two items together foolishness that is causing them to go bad more quickly?

  3. Annie Kelley says:

    I did an all out, shoulder to the wall, inventory of my pantries a few weeks ago. I was shocked at what I found. lol

    Sigh…I have way too much applesauce and not nearly enough tomatoes. Lots of rice and beans and oats, not enough..well-you get the idea.

    I am doing a way better job of eating out of the pantries than ever before and now it’s garden time again and I’ll be bringing in even more yummy stuff.

  4. Nicole says:

    I have two challenges. One is inventory management. Despite everything I’ve tried and that I’ve made improvement, I still occasionally have something slip through the cracks and go bad. I label, rotate, keep an inventory sheet do an assessment every month or so, and yet a few things get by me. (On the plus side I pretty much never run out of anything.)

    The second challenge is food storage and picky eaters. I’ve got my picky eater accepting the rhythm of seasonal eating on his favorite foods and since I buy the meat, I know where it came from. But my staples — rice, wheat and beans — he won’t eat. Oh if I cook it for dinner he’ll pick at it without complaining too much, but the more than every now and then and I find myself being taken out to eat instead. Homemade bread he completely refuses. (?!)

    I don’t know if either have a real solution, but I’d love to hear thoughts on either challenge.

  5. Jen says:

    My challenge is inventory and using the items on a rotation. I am still very much a beginner with food storage. We have a deep freeze and I just purchased a dehydrator but I would love any advice you have on how to keep inventory rotating into regular meals and also how to plan out the meal schedules and preserving schedules so that you don’t have to spend 24/7 in the kitchen (especially in the summer.)

  6. Caroline says:

    HI Nicole!

    I too struggle with picky eater and anything with bean is almost a no go. If I ever forget the meat… What discourage me is doing all the work/planning/cooking and have no one to eat the food.

    As for planning and food storage I add in all the good season and eat it out all the dark season. Spring find my cupboard and freezer empty or almost empty. I am gardening but not enough to feed ourself. It is more and exercice so I learn what work and what does not if we ever need to really eat from a garden. Being a working mom with to young girls or 4 and 6 I don’t have much time and thus have not mastered the art of gracefully accept ‘help’ from littles hands. Even knowing that children implication ease the process of adapting to a changing world.

  7. Amy says:

    My husband built a sturdy, deep set of shelves for the jars of food that we “canned” ourselves, after getting frustrated trying to find what he wanted on our pantry shelves. When we started moving jars onto the new shelves, we were surprised to discover that we still had a LOT of green beans left to eat. It turns out that being able to actually see the jars is very helpful.

    The new shelves are just to the left of the bottom of the stairs in the garage. In lots of homes, the garage would not be a great place for food storage, but our garage tends to stay fairly cool (by Georgia standards) in summer, and it tends to not freeze in winter.

  8. gaea303 says:

    Yes, I too have found that the appropriate shelving is imperative for seeing what you have so you can use/replace it, and for rotating it properly. Once I got those in place I have not had to throw out any food and almost never run out of things. I have the regular food pantry IN the kitchen with 1 or 2 jars/cans/boxes of everything. Then on those great shelves (mine are in the cool basement) I have all the rest. As soon as I run out of or use something in the kitchen pantry, I replace it with one from downstairs, and then add it to my grocery list right then, so it can be filled back up soon. Then when I grocery shop, I stop by there with the bags first and place the new stuff in the back of each row or pile (bags of sugar and beans stack so well flat).

  9. Nic says:

    I’d love some advice about avoiding the potential health risks that can come with storage, as I live in a damp climate and I worry about the potential for stored food to contain mycotoxins (e.g. aflatoxin) if any moulds grow in there. Also, are there issues about rancidity with grains?

  10. Heather A. says:

    This last January we went gluten-free and so our food storage has been in disarray since then! I am well-stocked on rice, but otherwise.. I am still working things out.
    We are also looking into moving, so I am trying to have more dry storage while working through whats in the freezer. :)

  11. NM says:

    Aflatoxins, yes, that is one of my concerns.
    I also worry about pet food. The canned stuff is expensive, if you buy better quality, and doesn’t go far with larger animals, and the dry stuff is prone to bacterial contamination and rancidity (even before you buy it, let alone after you store it). So if the quake hits the west coast anytime soon, I have no idea how I’m going to keep the pets fed. Am working on learning to make my own, but that’s buying one chicken at a time, which rather depends on having them available. Not able to raise them ourselves, due to multiple factors (space, municipal laws and spouse’s veto foremost among them). Have considered learning to can meat … cause I need another project — ack! … but that’s assuming glass jars would survive said quake.
    My own picky eater prefers a different type of bread than I do; I like it light and unsweet. He prefers heavy, moist and sweet, so there was a learning curve there, figuring out how to make bread the opposite of what I wanted. ;) –wondering if that could be part of the refusal of homemade bread? A strong preference for a particular flavor/texture.

  12. Patty says:

    I’ve done a good job of storing water, lentils, dried beans, rice, juice, and tuna.
    I’d like to do away with the store bought canned goods and do more of my own canning. I’m really good at jams, but am still scared of canning veggies, and especially anything with tomatoes. Part of my problem is being motivated to can when it is so hot!
    I’d also like to work with my kids this summer on making a solar oven.

  13. Denise Roth says:

    Great to hear about storage, and timely topic for my family. We are remodeling what was a broom closet and making it into a pantry. The wall will be bumped out over the stair way to the basement to make more room. I really need suggestions on how to create our pantry shelving and floor plan. There is an on-line ebook, but alas I do not have an ereader. All suggestions appreciated

  14. Kate Rowbotham says:

    Okay, so I know this isn’t REALLY about food storage, but I think it’s an important precursor — I have read D&A (love it — THANK YOU, SHARON!) but my husband hasn’t (and probably won’t — he is NOT a reader). I am wondering how to have a conversation with him about simplicity, food storage, peak oil, the likelihood of major changes coming in the future, etc… It’s hard to feel passionate about many of the things discussed in D&A but not know how to share them because your spouse is on a totally different page (or, more accurately, unaware that your page even exists).

    Even if you don’t address this in the food storage post, would you consider doing it in a future post?

  15. [...] the original post: The Chatelaine's Keys » Blog Archive » Back to Food Storage This entry was posted in Blog Search and tagged book, didn, felt, food, independence, long, [...]

  16. Lani says:

    My interest lies in food storage SECURITY – we have loads of mice – hundreds of the buggers (living amongst wheat fields in Western Australia) and catch 4-6 a day in our reusable traps (and there’s no point baiting because they just keep moving in from the fields – these are native field mice, and we had a small mouthy toddler too – rather a skittering mouse than a dead chewed on one!).

    We put everything in plastic and glass tubs, any item left in it’s plastic or paper or foil wrapping will be eaten through at some point. But it’s a complete pain in the proverbial to always have to open packets and repack (losing some of the freshness seals) or pack in large plastic tubs (that take up heaps of space).

    What are you doing to store the food? How are you managing vermin?

  17. Elizabeth says:

    We went grain-free back in October, which left my food storage in limbo. I still have several hundred pounds of wheat and a very nice hand-powered mill that I’m trying to rehome. It’s been a challenge to figure out what we should be storing. We have a LOT of chickens, so fresh eggs are always available. I’m working towards more home-canned meat in the pantry. I canned several gallons of milk earlier this spring. Proper storage is always problematic; DH doesn’t know it yet, but I’m planning a BIG reorganization that will include adding significant storage space to our kitchen/dining area. :D

  18. I’m with Elizabeth, here – I am fascinated by the challenge of a lower carb larder.

  19. Jen says:

    Elizabeth, sprout those grains for your birds!

  20. From a reader: “What is the best store bought water to store away, spring or distilled?”

  21. Msbetterhome says:

    Wonderful topic! My food storage is pretty low key… I don’t store more than 5 kilos of beans, rice etc, because there’s only two of us. We’re not big eaters, and 5 kilo tubs last us a while. I agree visibility is the key – I use clear plastic tubs, and always have a good sense of when supplies are running low.

    I did feel for a while that I should store more, but given we have a prolific garden and a good store of dried pasta, dried fruit, nuts, tinned food, milk powder and long life non-dairy milk and juice, I think we have reached a good equilibrium for us. I estimate we would be fine for 3 months with no other food…

    But that doesn’t seem like all that long really, especially if we were sharing. Sharon, I’d love to know your thoughts on balancing ‘enough for everyday rotation’ with ‘enough for an emergency’.

    I did have major concerns about water storage ( the East coast of Australian has only just come out of a decade of drought). We dealt with that by installing two huge rainwater tanks (called cisterns in the US, I think). I realise that’s not an option for renters or apartment dwellers, but it brought me great peace of mind.

  22. Nicole says:

    Thanks for the comments back to me!

    Yes, I totally agree that good, visible storage is a must. I am fortunate to have a large basement room I can use for storage and I invested in some great shelves. So I’m good there, plus I keep a paper inventory of the bulk goods. I guess it’s the nonessentials I lose, like cereal or condiments, but I still hate to dump them on the compost pile.

    As for bread… he likes Wonder Bread. Ick. I can’t make that… even if I were willing to try.

    I don’t do much home canning since I can grow fresh all year here. I have learned to can meat and to the person that mentioned it, I highly recommend it. The toughest cuts come out butter tender and ready to eat.

    Vermin: I have a cat, and a snake that lives under the porch. No mice. I keep most everything in sturdy mouse proof containers, though. No sense putting out a buffet. I have a whole bunch of clear containers with latching lids for small things. I label the outside with Sharpie on packing tape. Its easy to identify and get into.

    For those just starting or revising a system, it would be great if we had an interactive area where we could look at plans and spaces and make suggestions. Even without, I look forward to more conversation on the subject.

  23. sealander says:

    Hey NM, I store all my glass jars of preserves in an old chest of drawers. Because they are the sort of drawers that do not slide out easily, all the jars have survived intact through multiple damage causing earthquakes.(The sort of quakes that have flung things from one side of the room to the other).

  24. emmer says:

    re picky eaters. when the grandkids moved in for a while we discovered that many veggies were alien to them. ditto beans. and brown rice. we began by asking both to try a new food 5 ways before rejecting it, which they could then do without prejudice. so steamed broccoli was a no. broccoli cut small in cheese sauce and bacon was a yes for them–me not so much. green potato soup (pureed broccoli in potato soup) was a yes for all. cooked beans started out mashed in meatloaf surprise. then in cheesy burritos. yes on both. for bread, we started with homemade white, each time swapping out for more whole wheat. with white whole wheat, we got to about 2/3 whole wheat. red wheat 1/2. they didn’t like bronze much at all. brown rice started with ground beef meatballs shaped with minced onion and cooked rice, called porcupines. eventually they found they liked lundburg’s long grain basmati sauted in a bit of butter before cooking and then cooking in broth. progress!

  25. Mitty says:

    I have 1-2 months worth of food stored at any given time. I find I tend to get low on fruit and veg and have to plan to store more in the fall. I think my biggest barrier to storing more staples is psychological (or maybe lack of experience). All the instructions about mylar bags and oxygen absorbers or dry ice seem so complex and expensive. And then I might want to use that flour or whatever in just 3 or 4 months time after all that fuss. However, in the past when I’ve stored a 6 month supply of grains, I have trouble rotating them and they do get forgotten until they are rancid. Some exposition on simple, practical methods of storing and tracking the stored grains and beans would be helpful.

  26. All the instructions about mylar bags and oxygen absorbers or dry ice seem so complex and expensive.

  27. I was given a Foodsaver device a while back. I found that I didn’t want to use it for the plastic bag sealing, but the adapter that vacuum seals canning jars has been very useful. Our basement is damp and not terribly secure from insects and possibly even mice. So I’ve started keeping grains, fruits, and other bulk items in canning jars sealed up with the Foodsaver. Since finding used canning jars is pretty easy, I have a great many of them. And since I switched to re-usable Tattler lids for my regular canning, I have a lot of the metal, one-use lids left to use for the vacuum sealer. If I’m careful when opening the vacuum sealed jars, the lids seem to be re-usable for vacuum storage. Occasionally the vacuum seals fail, but this tendency is reduced if the metal bands are also used. Having this method of food storage available lets me buy 25 or 50 pound bags of beans, rice and other things without worrying about how to keep it and eat it up before it spoils.

  28. Nita says:

    What’s changed here is my DH going gluten free which means more of a Paleo type diet for all of us. So things have gotten much easier in the food storage arena. Luckily here is Cascadia we can harvest greens and roots almost all winter from in garden storage. I need to step up my meat canning though…still relying on the freezer :(

  29. Elizabeth says:

    We’re paleo, too, and also live in a climate where we can harvest greens year-round. I haven’t figured out a good root-storage plan for our area. Spring/summer/fall ranges from humid and warm to humid and VERY hot; winter is humid and barely-cool with bouts of cold thrown in to keep us on our toes. Leaving roots in the ground isn’t much of an option here unless you’re trying to feed the bugs and animals. ;)

    I’m going to try to talk my husband into raising broilers twice per year and canning most of the meat. Eventually we want to raise a beef steer; we have the land to do it, but not the infrastructure yet.

  30. Stephanie says:

    My storage concern du jour is drying food and herbs without investing in any elaborate equipment, particularly electrified equipment or anything that requires woodworking skills. (I’d love to learn how to build things with hand tools, but so far, adult ed classes around here haven’t offered that.) Since the pioneers dried foods without benefit of electricity, power saws, or Lehman’s catalog, I keep thinking there must be simpler, cheaper ways than spending several hundred dollars on an electric dehydrator.

    So far, I’ve dried spearmint and basil by hanging bunches bound by a rubber band from nails in the kitchen wall. That worked well. Next on the list is getting as many berries off the Juniper bushes as possible and drying them before I have the bushes removed next fall. About.com tells me this can be done by spreading the berries out on a cookie sheet and leaving them alone. I can do that.

    I’d like to know more about drying larger items, like tomatoes and other fruits, and making jerky.

  31. Emma Green says:

    I would like to learn more about rotation. I don’t have a very good system right now, and I end up throwing food away on occasion. I would like a fool-proof way that you use to rotate through your food storage!

  32. Greg says:

    To Elizabeth: simple electric fencing is easy to set up and will manage all but the most ornery steer quite easily.

    Here’s what we like to do: harvest the beef in the late fall when the chill works in your favor and the flies are suppressed. Also, home-grown carrots, onions, potatoes and other appropriate veggies are in abundance. Cut up the stew-meat portions of the beef into half-inch chunks, pack them raw into quart canning jars along with the carrots, potatoes, onions, (some herbs and spices) etc.

    Of course you have to use a pressure canner since meat is involved, but the process thoroughly cooks the ingredients into a wonderful home-grown home-made beef stew! We try to put 80 or 100 quarts on the pantry shelf since these make a fabulously quick and easy lunch or supper when too busy to cook. Lotsa work up front, but it really pays off later. These will keep for two or three years.

    BTW, you can do similar with those broiler chickens and make instant chicken soup. Whether beef or other, be sure to include a piece of bone or two in the jar since there are valuable substances that leach out of bone during canning that greatly improve the nutrient density of the finished soup/stew.

    Go for it!

  33. Lisa H. says:

    What a great idea! I have a lot of the basics in place and want to take it to the/my next level. Many of these items would be helpful if we lost power due to an earthquake (sf bay area). The next level includes:
    - a smallish deep freezer to hold pastured meat bought by the half animal, poultry, berries, greens, etc. There many good options for meat csas and farms in my area. if the power goes out for too long we’ll have a neighborhood BBQ ;)
    - actually try fermentation, maybe we could do a challenge together?
    - ditto for using my yardsale purchased food dehydrator, quick and dirty solar cooker made with a car wind shield reflector, rocket stove in metal can (Root Simple), bread bucket, pasta maker
    - attempt root cellaring again: it never really gets cold enough for some things to keep; try onions, winter squash, sweet potatoes
    - prep and plant low chill hour fruit trees, berries, nuts, potatoes, greens using sips, planter boxes and barrels
    - change out our 2 33 gallons water containers with fresh water AND purchase a manual pump to extract it, plus a third barrel; swap out purchased gallon containers of water

    Lisa H.

  34. Linda says:

    It’s become second nature to store food around here. I don’t feel it’s urgent anymore because we o have enough o feel comfortable but we keep adding.
    We had a problem with our root cellar this year. Everything sprouted mid winter. We think it’s because it was too warm in the cellar and have to add outside ventilation which wasn’t necessary in years past. I’d like to get better at this type of storage.

  35. Stephanie says:

    To Lisa H. – An easy way to get into fermentation is by making a small batch of kimchi. Sharon mentioned this Korean dish several times in one of her books and I got curious. I was fortunate to buy Wild Fementation by Sandor Ellix Katz as my first book on lacto-fermentation because it contains a recipe for a one quart batch, which is perfect for the one-person household. That would be me.

    My first batch turned out so well I’ve gotten wild and crazy and used whatever vegetables come to mind, and it’s great for those veggie odds and ends that don’t amount to enough for a side dish.

    For example, I planted collards this year, but not enough to make a big batch of greens for the freezer, so I’ve been using that quite a bit as well as carrots form the too-large bag I had to buy to get organic. There were also some overcooked Brussels sprouts in the freezer, so I’ve ben thawing a few of those, cutting them in quarters, and mixing them in. I got tired of chopping stuff and used pre-shredded, bagged coleslaw from the supermarket for part of the last two batches.

    One other tip I’d add is to use wide-mouth jars. The batch that’s currently being eaten is in a standard quart Mason jar, and it’s a pain to fish out the kimchi with tongs. Strips of collard have a way of wrapping themselves around the tongs and clinging so that they have to be removed by hand, one tedious little strip at a time.

    This little experiment has given me the courage to go ahead and try sauerkraut!

  36. Lisa H. says:

    Hi Stephanie,

    Thanks for the tips…there is a Korean grocery near me…I’m going to pick up the chile powder this weekend and give it a go. I love spicy food, all in the name of food security of course ;)

    Lisa H.

  37. milliepickle says:

    I just wanted to share some unintended consequences of an active food storage scheme.
    1. It is difficult, if not impossible, to store sweet treat foods long term. Unless you are possessed of strong self-discipline, the time will come when you find yourself heading zombie-like toward the location of the secret stash of chocolate, or in my case, a specially purchased, at no small cost, Kendall Mint Cake cache. Revered for its ability to survive intact for long periods of time, it did not last a year in my household. Sad to say, it is not possible to hold long term emergency stores of sweets in my house.
    2.I have been sparing of buying and eating canned goods in my adult life, as I was taught that fresh is best. The rotation of these items now means I am eating more canned goods than ever before. I don’t really like this outcome. I am a fanatic about waste however, and can’t stand the thought of throwing cans out.
    3.I am going to be really honest and say that we had an infestation of some kind of bug in our bag of millet and I am still cooking it. My bottom line is whether the food is palatable. I keep thinking of the infested stuff people would eat on long ship voyages because they had to. I pick out any bugs I find but am frankly not fussed about the presence of bugs. I will throw stuff out only when even boiling it to death doesn’t help.
    4.I have realized that the most valuable preserved goods one can buy right now are things like tomato sauce, which really take an effort to prepare. Canned chickpeas on the other hand are not as desirable as dry for reasons of ease of storage and lower cost.
    5.I have decided for my own situation that having grinding wheat on hand in large supply is better than flour. Having to go out and grind the wheat I want to use in whatever baked goods I am making puts a welcome limit on that particular food type. It has the added benefit of causing me to expend a few calories before I eat the result. It keeps down excessive baking in my experience.

  38. NicJean says:

    My issues are with rotation, and needing a system (not too hard to follow, please) that doesn’t leave me with one jar left of sauerkraut in May and 60 cans of tuna- phooey. I thought we ate a lot more tuna, whoopsies! I’ve heard of meals in a bag, but never tried it. I have some “Dinners in a Jar” but they tend to be the stews, soups, and slow cooked type things I’d prefer for fall, winter, and ‘mud season.’ It’s now that I’m struggling – this time of spring/early summer (the starving time as Laura Ingalls Wilder put it) – warm weather, nothing from garden yet, but things canned last fall are running out. Although we ate asparagus, the thinned out radishes and kale sprouts already.

  39. KC says:

    I built up my food storage rather quickly and it has taken a few years to catch up with creating useful space for it. (I had to downsize the home office to make room for dry goods). I agree with the previous postings about visible shelving helps to remind me of what is available to eat.

    I changed my dietary pattern to include more root crops because I could grow and store them so easily (and they were delicious), but then my health changed and eating so many high-glycemic vegetables did not work as well for me. I also had to cut back on carbohydrates. Luckily, DH can still eat them.

    I like using the perfect pickler for making fermented pickles (easy and small scale). The first year, I made too much and then discovered DH wasnt eating as many as I was. So I had several 1/2 gallons of kraut and pickles in the refrigerator – taking up precious space. Now, I make less and eat them as I go.

    I like using cherry tomatoes, mexican gherkins, and small peppers for salt pickles in the fall. I use them in salads during the winter months and they “almost” taste fresh.

    My plan for freezing vegetables this year — is label 3 boxes in the freezer with (December, January, February) and then put a selection in each one so that I dont have to dig deep to get a variety of foods. Hhere are the things I like to freeze: (kale, sweet peppers, whole cherry tomatoes, okra, snow peas, cowpeas, basil – in icecube form- ,peaches, and applesauce). I will also freeze some parsley in icecubes this year. The basil tastes so fresh coming out of the cubes (frozen in water).

    Next year – in late March or early April, I will dehydrate any garlic cloves that have not been eaten, yet. I may add them to the soup mix with the dehydrated okra, green beans, tomato and peppers. The dehydrated vegetables keep really well (as long as moisture is kept at bay).

    Growing and drying lots of holy basil for herb tea has worked really well for me.

    Overwintering roots in the garden also works well (carrots, celeriac, leeks). Chicories and endive (curly) overwinter well, here and they also take the summer heat well. Parsley and kale overwinter well also. I need a larger volume of greens going into the winter because their growth slows down (stops for a while). daikon is great winter crop.

    One of my biggest challenges is seed saving. Keeping up with processing –(I just shelled some of last years beans for seed last week!) and storing the seed in a cool dry location. (We have a lot of humidity here. )

    I think that I stored too many sunflower seeds. I am still sprouting them on a regular basis and making granola when I can. I am working on using the food storage more than adding to it right now. (dried milk is another thing that I find difficult to use in a timely fashion). One thing that we use on a regular basis is olive oil. I always buy a couple of bottles when I see it on sale. I also like to stock up on good salt, vinegar, and baking soda (many uses).

  40. Well, I guess I stumbled across your blog about a year ago, and since then I have purchased and read (several times each) your first 3 books. I am definitely on a budget and cannot afford to go out and spend extra grocery money on storage food, so I try to stock up on at least one item each month when I do my major shopping. I have accumulated a decent amount of water, rice, flour, beans, tuna, dry milk and canned tomato products. I have a really small kitchen but we do have a small spare bedroom that we are working on converting to a pantry. The room is in the middle of the house with no windows or outside walls, so it is really well insulated and stays pretty cool even when it’s over 100 degrees on the porch!
    I baked enough bread last fall and winter that I now feel comfortable with my ability to do that, but there are several bakery outlets near me and I can get bread for as low as 69 cents a loaf and although my family loves warm fresh bread with homemade jam, they prefer store bought sliced bread for regular sandwiches, grilled cheese, and french toast. I have been trying new ‘from scratch’ recipes and have phased out a lot of processed foods in favor of homemade ones, from yellow rice to chocolate syrup.
    I’m still learning how to garden in Florida (we have 2 seasons, hurricane season and tourist season), so my garden doesn’t have much going on right now, but I am growing pumpkins and last fall’s broccoli is still producing-we had some last night.
    I have been saying I’m going to get chickens and goats for a while now, but things have been ‘ganging agley’ so we don’t have them yet.

  41. Nicole says:

    @KC – Love the idea of freezer boxes marked by month! It would help with spreading out the stuff you don’t want

    Regarding seed saving in humid places, I have some larger airtight boxes — big enough to use index cards to file my seeds by type. (And handles on top; these took forever to find.) They do get opened every few weeks and I pay close attention to being sure they are dried properly before storing, so I haven’t had any issues with mold or loss of viability this way.

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