Fall is coming quickly and the garden is producing well. So, what to do with the surplus. Sharing with family and friends is great but if you are fortunate you should have enough to put some by for winter. I use several methods to preserve my garden produce. Which method depends on what the fruit or vegetable is. I regularly use canning and dehydration for food preservation. I can green beans, tomatoes and jam. I like to dehydrate fruit, some vegetables and potatoes. Having these fruits and vegetables on hand either canned or dried makes meal preparation fun and easy. There are many days that as I'm leaving for work I ask my husband to get something out of the freezer for dinner, meaning the meat part of the meal. I don't know until I arrive home from work what I will be working with for dinner. I know for some of you this will not work for you but I like the challenge of figuring out what to make to compliment whatever meat is waiting for me for dinner. Being able to pull canned green beans, applesauce or pears out of the pantry to go with the meat that we are having for dinner is a great feeling. No trip to the supermarket needed.
Now, maybe you don't can or dehydrate but you can build up your pantry so that you can be creative on a moments notice. You can start small and build your pantry slowly. The most important thing to remember is to store what you eat and eat what you store. There is no point to putting cans, bags or boxes of food that your family will not eat. It is a waste of space and money.
So, let's get started. Keep a list of what you and your family eat for a week or so. Now, what ingredients from those meals would keep in your pantry? Make a list of the staples from each meal that you made. These are the items that you should begin to fill your pantry with. These are also probably already on your shopping list. So when you head to the grocery store instead of just getting one jar of pasta sauce, green beans, soup or whatever, buy two. One will be for your weekly meal and the other will go in your pantry. Each time you use one of the items in your pantry put it on your shopping list and purchase two. After several weeks your pantry will start looking good.
Over the next few weeks I will talk more about food storage and being prepared if you cannot get to the supermarket. So please check in often. Sign up and receive notice of the next post.