8 December 2007

Stockpiling groceries 101 - part 2

This is a continuation of the previous post.

you rush off to stock your stockpile cupboard, do a bit of research and find out which is your closest and cheapest supermarket. This will be your base surpermarket. For me it's Aldi. There we buy as much as we can. There are no special prices at Aldi, their prices are consistently low and generally about 30% lower than either Woolworths or Coles, which are the main supermarkets here. My next supermaket is IGA and that is where I top up my fresh foods like milk, fruit and vegetables. The IGA is close to where I work, so when I go to my volly job on Monday and Tuesday, I buy whatever it is we need that week. I won't shop at Woolworths or Coles, but if you do, check out which has the best prices.

This is the little pantry I keep my spices and seasonings in. They're all sorted in different trays - peppers, chilli and hot spices, general dried herbs like rosemary and thyme, and sweet spices, like nutmeg and cinnamon.

You will find that most supermarkets will have a large stable of groceries and food they put on special regularly over a period of about three months. All those foods will be on special at various times during those three months and you should try to work out when your supermarket cycles their specials. Then when something you need comes on special, buy as much as you need to carry you through until it comes on special again, or as much as you can afford. When I started stockpiling, I put aside an amount of money to build up my stockpile while I was doing my regular shopping once a week. As the stockpile grew, I could shop less often, now we shop once a month but could go longer if we needed to.

Be aware that not everything you buy will go on special. Things like vanilla extract, baking goods and old fashioned products rarely do. These things you'll buy at your cheapest supermarket.

When you buy anything check the use by or best before dates, as well as the packaging. Never buy old food or anything with damaged packaging unless you plan on using it straight away. If you want to try anything new, buy only one until you're sure you like it and would buy it again.

When you have your stockpile working well, make sure you look after it. Make sure there are no rodents, bugs or water what could ruin your food. Add new food at the back and always take from the front, as that will rotate your stock. And every so often, go through your stockpile make sure everything is okay, there are no leaks and your home processed food is not mouldy.

If you use your stockpile wisely, and in conjunction with your own vegetable garden or the fresh fruit, vegetables and dairy food you buy, you'll be able to cook a wide variety of healthy food for your family. Adding other useful elements like meal plans, once a month cooking and price books will make the organisation and buying of your food much easier. I have posts on these things back in the archives.

Don't forget that you can add homemade food to your stockpile as well. We often blanch and freeze excess vegetables so we have them on hand most of the year in the freezer. I also use our home grown fruit and vegetables to make relish, various chutneys, sauces, jams, pickles and sweet fruit. All these are made to the recipes I've been using for years, processed in a water bath and stored for up to a year in the stockpile cupboard. Please make sure you know what you're doing when you process your own food as doing it without any knowledge is extremely dangerous. Check out my posts on food processing in the preserving archives.

So now I'm off to add more jars to my stockpile cupboard. Almost all our homemade preserves have been eaten and now it's summer, I'm back to preserving food for the stockpile again. Today I'm making eggplant relish and bread and butter cucumbers. If I don't we are in danger of drowning under them. This is a busy, but very satisfying, time of year for me as I get to add a lot of interesting food alongside the supermarket food we buy.

Good luck with your stockpiling and if you can, let me know
how you go with it.


  1. Hi Rhonda, I love how efficiently you stockpile.

    I also like to have shelves of home-preserved goodies, even if, until now, I have had to buy much of what I've preserved.

    My only problem with stockpiling groceries is that after a while I start to feel tetchy about the hoard and want to declutter it!

    I just wrote a garden post this morning; I loved your garden post earlier this week and am fascinated by the different times we plant and harvest in this huge country of ours.


  2. Hi Rhonda,

    I've been reading your blog this past week... I love your living simply philosophy. I also love the fact that you are promoting healthy eating, (real healthy eating) is affordable and not a far-reaching goal. Too many times people on limited incomes think healthy eating is a daunting task, one that is insurmountable. You have proven them wrong.
    Looking forward to many more posts on living simply.
    A fan from Ontario

  3. Thanks so much for these 101 posts on stockpiling. I've never done it systematically, but there've been a few times when we've had to "shop from our own freezer" when money was tight, so I'm definitely convinced that it's a good idea.

    Best of all, these posts come at a perfect time. We are getting ready to move to a larger place--and we're going to be putting in a new kitchen. So it was good to learn the difference between a stockpile and a pantry. :-)

    It's a challenge to try to live the simple life in an apartment where we can't grow our own food, as much as I would love to have a garden, but I've been researching as much as I can.

    I'll let you know how it goes!

    Rebekka (in Copenhagen)

  4. Hello Rhonda, As you know I am moving and I have been trying to figure out how to organize my pantry and stockpile as my stockpile will not fit in new pantry. Thanks for the wonderful info, your advice has helped me solve my dilemma. Love the idea of sauces over the stove. Thank you!

  5. Hi Rhonda, thank you for all of your helpful information on stockpiling. I am just starting to do this and didnt really have room in my kitchen but I do have an extra bookcase in my office. I will start to keep everything there. Thanks. Just one question, in your stockpile with your sugar you had bags of something called Fresh Cream or Heavy Cream but it was in bags...what is this? Is it powdered Heavy Cream that would be sooo useful, please tell me where I could buy this. Thank you.

  6. I love those containers you have the spices in! I haven't seen anything like it here in US. Oh well.


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