Carrying on with our theme of not wasting food, today I want to talk about auditing your stockpile. We did our monthly shopping yesterday so I did mine then. It's a good habit to get into if you're stockpiling. Remember that when you spend your hard earned money on anything, it should be looked after so it gives you value for your money. Your stockpile is included in that; it needs to be looked after properly.
You should rotate your stock, just like they do in the supermarkets. When you buy new food from the supermarket, always place it at the back of your current stock. Just move everything forward and place your new items at the back. And always take from the front when you use something. That way you should keep your stock rotating and good for eating.
When you audit your stockpile, also check all your produce in packets. Make sure you have no pantry moths or weevils crawling around. If you find anything like that, empty your stockpile cupboard, vacuum the shelves to pick up any tiny eggs, then wipe your shelves over with a terry cloth dipped in hot water and eucalyptus or tea tree oil. Don't make your solution too strong because you don't want the smell to get into your food. You just want to deter the bugs. If possible, keep all your dry goods in air tight containers. If you have an infestation of pantry moths or some other bugs, you'll lose a lot of what you're storing, so protect as much of it as you can. If you don't have storage jars, it's a good idea to buy one every time you do your shopping. If you have enough money buy a large one, if you don't have so much left over, buy a smaller one.
I store all my dried goods like rice, pasta, all my flours, seeds, nuts, couscous and lentils in their packets in a freezer that is full of my stockpiled dried goods. The temperature is turned down to the lowest setting. In my humid climate this keeps our food safe from any sort of bug. If the power goes off, it doesn't matter as there is no perishable food in the freezer. The cost of running it over a full year is very low.
When you're auditing your stockpile, check all your preserved goods too. Make sure there is no mould growing in the jars and that the lids are firmly attached. Line them up again so that you use the oldest first.
Stockpiling groceries is the best way I know of to lower your food bill. It will also help you survive an emergency - both a national emergency and a personal emergency. But remember, it's worth a lot of money and must be looked after. If you do an audit every three months, as well as when you add new stock to your cupboard, you'll reap all the benefits of your stockpile.