I haven’t written in awhile because I’ve had Covid. Thankfully it’s been on the mild side, with fatigue being the thing I can’t seem to shake, but hopefully soon. My home canned food and well-stocked pantry have been a tremendous help, as I’m not only bone tired, but I’ve been quarantining. When we found out we had Covid, there was no panic moment of “we have no groceries,” and I didn’t rely on outside help because we weren’t prepared.
As I’ve been recovering on the couch, I’ve had the time to watch vloggers and their pantry challenges, where they don’t grocery shop but instead use what they have on-hand. Those who have dairy cows and chickens have an easier time of it, but those of us who don’t, a flat-out strike of using a grocery store for one to two months isn’t realistic. My compromise will be giving myself a $20 a week grocery budget to get milk, eggs, and lettuce for salad – things like that. I plan on going through my freezers and getting creative with ingredients on my shelf which need to be rotated. The goal is to rotate your stock, and make way for spring and summer’s bounty. Also, this kind of challenge keeps your pantry filled with fresher food.
Here are some ideas to help rotate your stash:
- Amend your milk with powdered milk – no one will know.
- Grow sprouts or microgreens from your sprouting seeds for fresh produce.
- Clean out your freezers and come up with new recipe creations with this-and-that ingredients.
- Add dehydrated squash, eggplant and other dehydrated veggies to soups and pasta sauces – even if it’s just 1/4 cup so the kids won’t notice. Sometimes these dehydrated items just sit in jars, unused.
- Use bulk spices to make dip mixes, rubs, taco seasoning, and salad dressing blends.
- Make your own granola, energy bars, pancake mix, and hot cereals which you might otherwise buy.
- Serve your pickled vegetables instead of fresh with dinner, and make shelf space for spring and summer’s produce in your pickle jars.
- Baking ingredients definitely need to be rotated, especially when you buy in bulk. The neat thing about basic baking ingredients is you can make a wide variety of items with them. Pita bread, hot dog buns, hot pretzels, and naan are baked goods you probably buy instead of making. Let this pantry challenge help expand your baking skills and try some new projects!
As for my immediate pantry maintenance projects, I still have probably 30 pounds of potatoes, six butternut squash and a pumpkin I need to get put up. Then I need to pull all the pork and beef fat from the freezer and render it as well. I’ll pull a pork butt from the freezer to make sausage, and lay out a plan to smoke some of the meat in the freezer as well. Have to make room for Easter sale hams, and upcoming produce deals!
I also have a large variety of grains and beans, and I need to use some of those instead of going right to my trusty rice, pasta and potatoes. Wild rice, quinoa, buckwheat, large limas, and lentils are all some on my list to mix it up, and rotate.
The pantry challenge not only saves money, helps keep your stock fresh, but can be a creative outlet. Do you have ingredients you aren’t sure how to use? Ask me, and I’ll be glad to help you think of things!