The simple art of stockpiling

4 June 2018
There is no doubt you'll save money if you keep a clean and well organised stockpile and you don't waste the food you grow or buy.  If I were out working for a living now, I'd make sure I had a full stockpile and a working pantry. Not only would it save me money to do that but it would also mean that if I didn't have the time to buy what I needed for the evening meal, I'd have enough good quality food in my kitchen to see me through quite a few meals. I learnt the benefits of an organised kitchen long ago when my kids were young and we lived three hours from the shops.  Hanno, the kids and I would do a "big shop" every four to six weeks, and we manage on that until we went back for the next "big shop." That taught me valuable lessons.

We emptied the stockpile cupboard yesterday then cleaned and repacked the cupboard.


In June our Simple Home book task is the preserving and storage of food. Whether you’re living in a warm climate or a cold one, you’ll be changing the type of food you cook now. You’ll either be moving from summer salads and lighter foods to hearty soups, roasts and stews, or you’ll be going in the other direction. What better time to preserve the fresh fruit and vegetables available now to enjoy in the coming seasons? This month, we’ll also do some stockpile and pantry maintenance, clean out cupboards, and reorganise provisions. With this, plus a small tidy-up in December, you’ll be fully prepared for many new seasons of cooking. Of course, if you don’t know how to put up jars of preserves, and if you haven’t yet set up a stockpile or pantry, now is the ideal time to learn and create.


Food storage is one of those home chores that may not seem exciting, but as you get into it and think about how your pantry and stockpile support your cooking choices, you’ll discover they are a significant and vital part of a productive kitchen. Having those supplies in place can save your sanity on busy days, as well as time and money in the longer term.

The Importance of Food Storage
Our great-grandparents knew how to cook wholesome food and also how to manage their time and provisions. They took full advantage of inexpensive but nutrient-dense dried and canned foods, and when there were abundant harvests or cheap local fruit and vegetables, they preserved as much as they could, again saving time and money while keeping that all-important stockpile full.

Cooking, grocery shopping and food storage still have a big impact on how we live. Kitchen management needs to be taught and practised by each generation. Just one break in the chain means that the following generation will not have the skills to pass on. Then those skills are at risk of being lost.

Many of us understand the good sense behind cooking our own meals from scratch. This has been part of the food revolution, and it has reduced our dependence on meat and encouraged us to rediscover old ways of cooking with legumes, pulses, flour, eggs, nuts, vegetables, fruit and preserves. But our lives are so busy that we need to find a way to cook and shop that cuts down on the stress of keeping everyone fed, rather than add to it. In many homes, food is just parked in the fridge for a day or two between the supermarket and the plate. There may be a packet of coffee, a few tins of soup or beans, salt and pepper, cereal, dry pasta and tomato sauce in the cupboard. 

That is only a fraction of what could be there. We can build on our grandparents’ example, transforming our stockpiles from a back-up food cupboard to a delicatessen by adding our own homemade goodies such as flavoured oils and vinegars, jams and marmalades, preserved fruits, dried fruits, spiced nuts and dried home-grown herbs, sauces, chutneys and relish. Fresh, seasonal food, supplemented by the ingredients we have in our cupboards, gives us the makings of dinners through the week, memorable weekend feasts and long lazy lunches. And all with very few trips to the supermarket.

Never waste food
You have to take the time to store food properly so that it will still be nutritious and delicious when you eat it, no matter when that is. When the shopping is done and you’re home again, take the time to pack everything away properly. Some food will go into the fridge and freezer, some in the pantry and some in the stockpile. Often the fridge and freezer food has to be divided up and repackaged in freezer bags, zip-lock bags or foil, so start with the cold and frozen foods, and when they’re safely stored, move on to the non-perishables.

Stockpiling
Having a stockpile and pantry is like having your own private supermarket, open 24/7, with the cheapest prices in your own home. Some of the other advantages of stockpiling include:
  • You save all the time you currently spend grocery shopping. When your stockpile is fully operational, you’ll have two types of shopping. You’ll buy fresh foods such as milk, meat, fruit and vegetables every week and do a bigger shop to top up your stockpile when it’s needed.
  • You save money because you can stock up on the specials. 
  • You give yourself more cooking options because you have a much wider range of ingredients at your fingertips.
  • If there’s an unusual situation – if you or your partner are sick or out of work, your children need more of your time for school projects or sports, or friends ask if they can stay with you for a few days – you’ll know you can still feed everyone with what’s already in your home, sitting in the stockpile cupboard.
  • If there’s a national emergency – floods, cyclones, terrorist attacks, bushfires – you won’t need to leave the safety of your home, because you’ll have all your provisions safely stored at home.
  • How to start a stockpile
I started my stockpile by putting aside a certain amount of money each week to buy whatever we used that was on sale. It took three or four months to have my stockpile cupboard at the stage I keep it at now. We have enough non-perishable food, groceries and toiletries to last us about three months. 

To start your own stockpile, write out a list of the meals and snacks you usually eat and the ingredients you need to make them. Mark with a highlighter any items that don’t need to be stored in the fridge and freezer. This is the start of your stockpile: everything that can be stored for a period of time in a cupboard without deteriorating. 

Include only what you know you’ll eat and will use. There is absolutely no point in buying a great bargain for stockpiling if you don’t eat it. If you bake your own bread, include bread flour, seeds and yeast; if you bake your own cakes and biscuits, include sultanas, dates, brown sugar, cocoa, choc chips, nuts and so on. But also make room for tinned salmon, sardines and tuna, olive oil, a variety of vinegars, spices and seasonings, pulses, grains and legumes, dried pasta, milk powder, sugar, flour, cornflour, canned tomatoes, tomato paste, honey and peanut butter.

In addition to food, look for soap, toilet paper, tissues, toothpaste, toothbrushes and cleaning products – or the ingredients for these if you make your own (bicarb soda, white vinegar, borax, washing soda and laundry soap).

Don't forget to recycle your glass jars and bottles.

Usually stockpile goods are bought on special or produced at home. However, if you shop at Aldi, where the prices are consistently lower than the other supermarkets, you may be able to add to your stockpile whenever you see something you need. If you shop at one of the other supermarkets, monitor the grocery flyers and read your supermarket webpages for specials and stock up on the items you need when they’re on sale.

Celery that has been washed and completely wrapped in foil will remain crisp in the fridge for at least a month.

You’ll find that most supermarkets have a large number of groceries and food they put on special regularly over a period of about three months. (Be aware that some things, such as vanilla extract, nuts and baking goods, are rarely reduced in price.) When you see a good price for something you need, buy enough to carry you through until it comes on special again, or as much as you can afford. Check the use-by or best-before dates and make sure the packaging isn’t damaged – the items will need to last a while. Don’t buy dented canned goods or jars with rust on the lid, but it’s okay to buy something in a ripped paper, cellophane or plastic bag – it’s easy enough to transfer it to a new bag for storage.


Don’t forget that you can add homemade food to your stockpile as well, such as relish, chutneys, sauces, jams, pickles and sweet fruit preserves. If you add home-preserved food, make sure you use proven preserving recipes because the acid and sugar ratios will be correct and the produce will therefore last for as long as the recipe indicates.All your jars must be labeled and dated too.

Freezer stockpiling
I encourage you to buy a deep freezer if you can afford one. Look around for a good price, or save up for the mid-year or end-of-year sales. I think chest freezers are excellent, but if you have a bad back or don’t have time to keep it organised, an upright freezer may be the way to go for you. Freezing doesn’t require special equipment apart from the freezer itself. If well wrapped and added to the freezer when it’s fresh, food usually retains its nutrition, texture and colour. Most freezers have a guide to how long certain foods can be kept frozen. However, freezers do cost money to operate; you also run the risk of losing food to spoilage if your power is cut for a length of time.

A freezer is great for the long-term storage of meat, fish and the fruit you produce in your backyard or buy cheaply from the market. They are bags of home-grown rosellas in the photo below.
A freezer, particularly a chest freezer, can be a difficult space to manage. A record of what goes in, with the date, and what comes out, will give you an accurate inventory at any time without you having to unpack the freezer to see what’s at the bottom.

Where to store food
You can store non-perishable food anywhere: in a cupboard, under the bed, in the garage, or any sheltered place that suits you. I have mine in a few places. My main stockpile cupboard holds unopened food that is not needed yet. When I need it, I take it from the stockpile near the kitchen, transfer it into a sealed container and then store it in the pantry, which is in my kitchen. I also use two freezers: one attached to the fridge in the kitchen for vegetables, homemade cakes, bread and ice cream, and a chest freezer, located in the second bathroom, that holds my stores of meat, fish and homemade fruit juice. I also use that freezer to kill any bugs in the flour and dried foods I buy, such as rice, oats and grains. After placing them in the freezer for a couple of days, I can store all those things confidently in the stockpile, knowing I won’t have weevils in the oats or a cupboard full of pantry moths ready to fly out into the kitchen.

We have a toiletries stockpile in a cupboard in the second bathroom and a cleaning ingredients stockpile in the laundry. So as you can see, a stockpile can go anywhere you have space – but try to keep the items as close as possible to where you’ll eventually use them.

Keeping the cupboard clean and orderly
Group products that are the same or similar in one place. For instance, if you have tins of tomatoes, tomato paste and tomato puree, keep them together. This will help you when you’re searching for something or checking your supplies before shopping. Always rotate your stock by adding new products to the back and taking from the front, and make sure you check your supplies every so often: 
  • Look at the home-preserved food to make sure there are no bubbles that indicate fermenting. 
  • If a container leaks, clean it up straight away and replace the container. 
  • Check use-by dates and use any items that are close to expiring. 
  • If you see a split or ripped packet, take it out and place it in a zip-lock bag or a storage container.

Glass or plastic containers?
As soon as you open a packet, store its contents in a sealed container. If you’re buying containers you hope to use for many years, I’d encourage you towards glass – it won’t deteriorate over time or change colour. If you’re careful not to drop them, glass containers will outlast you. I prefer glass containers for food, and most of my containers in the pantry are preserving jars with metal lids. I do use plastic bins for bread flour and rolled oats because I can’t get glass containers large enough.

Make sure you use plastic or pyrex if you're storing food in the freezer.

What are your stockpiling and pantry tips?

47 comments

  1. Really good post, Rhonda. I call my stockpile cupboard the Zombie Apocalypse cupboard.

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  2. You have inspired me. I am going to clean my cupboards and fridge. They are both crowded and messy. I stockpile, too, and rarely run out of anything. It's so grounding to have plenty of food. It's also a wonderful feeling to pick fruit from the backyard orchard. Nothing tastes as delicious as tree ripened fruit!

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  3. Since selling our business of a general store/PO We have had to get back into the habit of being more organised in regards to stock piling and food organisation. Without a shop to rely on as a giant pantry just down the toad we are eating much better, and I am far more organised. It’s interesting how often convenience often doesn’t equate to “better”.

    Though in this regard having a well stocked pantry is far more convenient then not but for those who shop several times a week that can seem an easier option, but in my experience it’s infact the opposite.

    Now our meals are better planned, less is wasted, my pantry is neater and I rarely run out of things. Though I look forward to continue building a better stockpile over time slowly.

    Xx

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  4. Now that my husband is no longer working the stockpile is much neater. He dates and rotates every time we shop which is a huge help.

    We have a store in our town where surplus food is sold. Their stock is in date and not damaged. We go at least once a month and stock up and most of the time pay 75% less than regular prices. It is a good place to find baking supplies and kitchen basics such as coffee beans for $1.50 a pound. These type stores are worth seeking out to keep the stockpile topped up for very little. Our stockpile has grown and our grocery bill has dropped 25%.

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    1. What a great local shop, Lana! I agree with you, they're well worth finding. You're making great savings.

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  5. Great advice, Rhonda, thanks. Because I do different casual work shifts I find it really hard to meal plan and wastage does happen. I think I need to work on the pantry!

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  6. Good morning Rhonda. Your post today has something for everyone, those new to stockpiling and also the experienced stockpilers.
    Your hint regarding keeping a record of freezer contents is a valuable one. I keep a detailed list of the contents of our upright freezer as it is impossible to remember what is in there. My list is grouped under headings. I have sections for each type of meat we use, fish, baked goods, fruit & vegetables, home cooked meals such as casseroles, soup and pasta sauces and a miscellaneous section for other items. Everything listed on my 'Freezer Inventory' has details of what it is, the date it went in, the weight, volume or number of serves and a best before date. The shelves of my freezer are packed to match the sections on my list of freezer contents. Items are crossed off the list as they are removed from the freezer. Although it is time consuming to maintain the list I find that it eliminates waste and helps me avoid buying items we already have or have plenty of.
    This list is also very handy when I make up our weekly menu plan as I can see what is in the freezer and what needs using up. I always check the list before making a shopping list.
    Nothing goes into the freezer without a label. The same details as the freezer contents inventory are on the label ie what it is, date, weight.etc. I hate UFOs (Unidentifiable Frozen Objects).
    On the inside of my stockpile cupboard doors I have a list of what we have plenty of and what we need to buy when it is on sale. This cupboard is really deep and it is difficult to see what is at the back behind the stacks of cans and the tall bottles.
    Thanks Rhonda for an informative post.
    Regards, Maria from Adelaide SA.

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    1. There are some great tips in your comment, Maria. Thanks for sharing what you do.

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  7. Good morning Rhonda, thanks for this wonderful post. I am going to tidy up my pantry and clear out a cupboard in the laundry to use as a stockpile cupboard. I have a few items stockpiled, but would like to build this to be much more substantial. I was a bit unsure where to start, but I really liked your idea of writing down regular meals and snacks, and using those ingredients as a starting point. I also like the idea of keeping an inventory list for the freezer and stockpile, as I am guilty of sometimes forgetting about things in the freezer. Out of sight, out of mind!! I made your Impossible Quiche again the other night, my family loves it! I would love some more ideas for simple, relatively quick, family-friendly meals - so that I can also build those ingredients into my stockpile, for those nights when the best laid plans go out the window! Thanks again for your advice and inspiration. Kelly

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  8. I find an easy way to organise a deep freezer is to use aldi reusable bags. My frozen veges are stored in a green one, black for bread, 2 pink ones for meats, purple for precooked meals etc. It's easy to pull out the appropriate coloured bag instead of diving to the bottom in search of what I need.
    I also purchased 15L square food grade plastic buckets on gumtree for a few dollars for storing sugar, pasta, baking flour, rice and other stockpile items. All the best

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    1. I didn't know about the reusable bags at Aldi. I'll look out for them. Thanks for the tip, Tanja.

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    2. Love your idea Tanja I'm going to purchase some soon. :)

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  9. I inherited my 'hoarding' gene from my mother who was of a large family in the 1920's. It has held me in good stead during periods of illness or money shortages.
    My husband and I have retired to the Tasmanian highlands and, we are 60 mins from the shops so, in the new house we are building, I have a dedicated store room just for my stockpile. We have a 700lt chest freezer and I do the sauce and jam thing.
    But, the best thing my husband ever got was a vacuum sealer!!! Who knew? When they first came out I thought they were just another gadget! We got the sealer as a freebie when he purchased a food processor but, let me tell you, they are just brilliant. If you can get one on ebay or gumtree or craigslist, GO FOR IT! If you are storing quantity for time, the vacuum sealer is just a must. No more freezer burn or torn packages. I just love it. We buy our meat from a 'direct to' abattoir 140klms away so, we only do that when we are passing or, 6 monthly so, you want to be able to store it all properly.
    Living in a remote area, we are also subject to numerous power outages so, the 2nd purchase we made here was a generator. It has saved our stockpiled frozen goods 4 times so far - in 6 months.
    Thanks for your ideas Rhonda, keep them coming. I have had your books for a couple of years now and drive the hubby mad with "Rhonda says ......"
    Regards
    Trudy

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    1. Hi Trudy. A few ladies here use the vacuum sealers and I've heard they're good. They'd be just the thing to package your bulk meat stocks. Thanks for sharing.

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  10. Hi Rhonda, a great post. I think I may be a little unusual in that I do find food storage and grocery shopping exciting (or at least enjoyable). And I must say I do like to take a sneak peak at my stocked pantry every now and again to enjoy the rows of preserves and stockpile. Perhaps my genes have a strong hoarding/scarcity imprint from times gone by???
    We invested in a large freezer many years ago which has been so handy to create a ready made meal stockpile and stock up on good specials. We also buy our meat in bulk.
    I think whether you want to save money, prepare for the 'zombie apocalypse' or just not need to run to the shops so often, stockpiles are such a great resource.
    Cheers,
    Laura

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  11. These are wonderful tips, Rhonda!
    I've been working on buying extra things as we can afford them as well. We eat mostly refined sugar-free and grain-free except for occasional rice. So it can be a challenge to find healthier foods without those ingredients in them that are affordable. But we do have some discount food stores in our area where I have gotten unbelievable values for the money! I just have to watch the sell-by/use by dates like you mentioned. If I find meats that are nitrate-free and antibiotic-free and/or organic-grass fed, I am so pleased. Other-wise those things are hard to afford to buy. So even if the meats are very close to their sell-by dates I buy them and freeze them immediately until I have the time to cook them.
    I cooked in huge batches for years when we were raising our sons - it seemed they were always hungry, especially when they were in their teenage years. :) Now that they are all on their own, even after 12 years, I find it very difficult to cook for just 2 people. So I still cook in bulk very often. I too have a vacuum sealer and it is the best investment in my kitchen ever! Truly it is. I freeze things in meal size portions in freezer boxes (most all the same size) and after they are frozen I take the things out of the boxes by letting hot water run over the bottom of the box to loosen the frozen block (of whatever it is) and then I vacuum seal them. I label everything and since they are basically the same size they stack very nicely, no excess space taken up with boxes that are not full & the best thing is that I've kept things for a few years at a time, and it is still perfectly wonderful as the day I put it into the freezer!! I highly recommend vacuum sealers to anyone trying to save money on food by buying bulk when it is on sale and preserving it as such.
    In the USA we have stores called Bed, Bath & Beyond, which is where we bought my vacuum sealer years ago. Though they may be a bit more expensive in their prices than what Wal-Mart or discount stores are, it is so worth it to buy there, because they have a lifetime guarantee on their small appliances and kitchen wear etc. If something quits working or goes bad we just take it back and they give us a new one, no questions asked. Plus we regularly get coupons from them for 20% off one item, or $5.00 off of a $15.00 purchase, or $10.00 off of a $30.00 purchase. If you get your name onto their "snail" mail mailing list and you receive their coupons they never expire. Even though it says so on the coupon, the store honors them always. AND you can use as many coupons per visit/one per item as you wish. Signing up for e-mail coupons is nice too but those DO expire by the date on the coupon. Not sure as to what makes the difference between the e-mail & snail mail coupons but that seems to be how their rules are. I don't know if you have Bed, Bath and Beyond in your country but for your readers that live in the USA it is worthwhile shopping there for sure. I highly recommend them!
    Oh and we buy the bags for the vacuum sealer on E-bay --- very reasonable when you buy 100 or more at a time.
    Have a great week, Rhonda. And thanks for the great post again.

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  12. Brilliant post Rhonda. I am 4 years down the line of learning to live frugally. Having a stockpile, never wasting anything, preserving foods and buying items on offer have all been invaluable rules I live buy. I was able to retire and live on my pension thanks to my new lifestyle.

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    1. Wow! Good for you Tania! I love hearing successful stories of change. We can decide what we want and then do that. You are a good example. I am working towards that retirement as I get my home and mind in frugal order. :)

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  13. I cant believe it when i see people with empty cupboards come payday. My stock pile isnt large but i carefully consider what is in there and it could last me about a month. I still remember when i was younger and my mother had to borrow money from my father (they were divorced) because she lost her purse and couldnt afford groceries that week. I had a similar situation this week where Coles stuffed up my order and the money wouldnt be refunded for a week. thankfully i have more than enough in my stock pile to eat well until then. I always stock long life milk, flour, sugar, canned tomatoes, pasta, canned corn (i make chicken and corn soup alot), a few soups and shampoo and conditioner. when something is on sale i buy a few to keep in my stock pile. Im always shocked when i run out of something haha

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  14. Lovely post Rhonda. I love pantries. I couldn't help but notice the jar of Morello cherries in your pantry! :) I stock up on those all the time as I have a very lovely and simple cake recipe using those. Here is the recipe in case you or anyone is interested in trying it:
    * 5 eggs
    * 1/3 cup of sunflower or vegetable oil
    * 1 cup of sugar (or less, to taste)
    * 1 cup of self-raising flour
    * 1 x 440g can of pitted, drained sour cherries (although I use the larger jars like you have in the picture)

    Combine all ingredients except cherries. Pour mixture into a lined baking pan. Plonk the cherries evenly over the mixture but do not mix. Bake for approximately 45 minutes at 200°C or until cake separates from sides of pan. Cool and cut into 5cm squares. It's very tasty and quick and keeps well.
    Thanks again for your wonderful blog Rhonda! :)

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    1. Do you cook it in a cake dish or as a slice? Shallow or deep?

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    2. Thanks for the recipe, Miki. Hanno loves those cherries and usually has them on his porridge. I'll bake that cake for him and I'm sure he'll love it.

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    3. Hi Barb, I use a 30 x 20 cm lamington pan for this.

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  15. I am lucky enough to have purchased a house with a storeroom already fitted out with lots of shelves. This is where I keep my stockpile. Canned goods such as tuna, baked beans, jars of pasta sauce, cat food and the infused vodkas that I make with home grown berries. And I notice that the canned corn I paid 82c for in summer and stockpiled around 30 cans is now on special for $1.50! Almost double the price. A nice little saving when I can make my crustless quiche from my home grown eggs and half price corn.
    I have a chest freezer currently well stocked with meat that is reduced in price ($2.50 for an organic free range chicken x 5 for example) sourced from the local supermarket on a Tuesday night. And also lots and lots of homegrown and gleaned berries.
    There's dried fruit and vegetables in jars and I have given away hundreds of jars of home made jam at the various food swaps I go to.
    I don't think I'd go hungry if the zombie apocalypse happened. In fact I also use that term when I explain why I grow my own food, have chickens and bees, use a wood burning fire for heat and have 72,000lt of water storage on my half acre block . I will be ok for some time. Smiley face emoji
    claire in Melbourne

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  16. Our upright freezer that we bought for $50 a few years ago (still going!!) had some surface rust on the door and looked unsightly, so DW painted it with blackboard paint and we write up on the door what is inside, so at a glance we know.

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  17. Love a well organised pantry. On my to do list this month. I started wrapping celery in foil after reading it on your blog ages ago. However trying to reduce waste - would storing it in an aluminium container achieve the same thing?

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    1. I don't know if it would work. Try it and let me know.

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    2. I just put a twist tie on the bag that I purchase it in and it keeps for weeks. I think the secret is keeping it away from air.

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  18. Thanks Rhonda! Can I ask if you put the flour/oats in plastic when you put it in the freezer or just in the paper bags they come in?

    I'm a bulk cooker and as much as I can I make double portions of dinner and freeze half. It makes all the difference on days that I work outside the home or when the kids have been at swimming and we get home a little later than usual. I also keep a freezer inventory on the fridge so I know what's there.

    I love making jam and kraut and pickles, so my pantry is nice and full of that. I fine the bulk dry goods shop at Aldi a real winner!

    Thanks everyone for the tips!
    Amelia

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    1. Hi Amelia. I put the oats and flour in the freezer in their original packaging - even if it's paper. It's fine.

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  19. I store my stockpile on a long, wide shelf in my linen cupboard. It's close to my kitchen so it's easy to access things I might want when I'm cooking. I look for special each time I shop and add to my stockpile if there's a good bargain. I love having my own personalised convenience store in my cupboard. My husband's sister gave us an upright freezer and it's wonderful! I store flour, nuts, lemon juice, stewed fruits, fish and meat in it while I store bread, pizza bases, pastry and extras of anything I've baked in the fridge's freezer. In the bathroom, on a little set of drawers on wheels, I store all the extra toothpaste and toothbrushes I buy when they are on special. I find it's really convenient to keep stockpiled items close to where they're going to be used. Meg:)

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  20. Discovering your blog has been an absolute treat and going back to the very beginning was the best read I've had in a long time! Have you perhaps considered a Down to Earth recipe book? Something along seasonal lines with recipes about the many things you mention in your posts - the veg/fruit you grow, breads, baking, preserving etc. It would be a WINNER for sure!
    Beryl - Durban, on the east coast of South Africa

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    1. Thanks Beryl. The recipe book has been suggested by a lot of people but I'm not writing any more books. My books take a year from start to finish and I prefer to spend that time with my family and my garden now instead of slogging away on a computer. :- )

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  21. Just a small tip when reusing jars. When the rubberised or plastic coated lid still smells strongly of the last usage, pour a little white vinegar to cover the lid in a bowl and let it soak, usually overnight. The lids that have the strongest odors may take a few days, but you end up with a usable container and lid whose odors won't contaminate the new contents of the jar.

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    1. thank you for this tip. I have a few jars with smelly lids and have tried washing a few times with no success and the dishwasher made no difference.
      Going to try this now. Excellent tip just at the time I needed it - now I can reuse these jars.

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  22. This is a great tutorial on stockpiling. I run my stockpile in a similar fashion, but a bit differently. :) When I take something out of my stockpile to add to the pantry - lets say a tin of salmon - it goes straight onto my shopping list. I will purchase a new tin of salmon, even if not on special, and then I know my stockpile is always operating at capacity. The only things I don't do this with is home preserved fruits, chutneys etc. as they are replaced seasonally. My stock pile is geared to my menu plan, which I change seasonally, but at the end of the day, the main changes to my seasonal menu plan are predominantly fruit and veg in season and hopefully, most from the garden. We live 23 km from the nearest town, so you have to be a bit organized - the stockpile is a godsend, not only for me, but for some of our neighbours from time to time.

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  23. Dear Rhonda, thank you for this motivating and knowledgeable essay. When first marriaged,37 years ago, we resided in a rural farming community with only a small grocery and hours from larger stores...we quickly learned to stockpile/prep food for survival. We moved on but are still in a small community with only a small grocery.. now closer to larger box stores...we have continued with our early learned skills, many which you hav mentioned. . Our present 1920 s cottage home has a galley kitchen but with a bonus small pantry, We just completed updating the paint and pantry shelves. I then added crocheted lace trim to the shelves..12 yards- the outfacing shelves hold the vintage tins of stored cooking ingredients, glass jars with our stocks of pasta, flours, spices, etc. hopefully you can understand that is a happy room:)....we have a separate canning store room..as you pointed out we eat different depending on the season....Summer is fast approaching so we are consuming more salads, sandwiches, and grilled foods, Peace and confidence in knowing we can eat

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  24. Our house was built in the late 1920s and has a big walk in larder which is north facing with a quarry tiled floor and wide wooden shelves. It is one of my favourite features of the house. I stockpile and preserve in much the same way as everyone else and I particularly value the time saved. If I go to the trouble of making home made parsley and thyme stuffing to go with roast chicken or apple sauce with roast pork etc it makes sense to increase the quantity and freeze portions for future meals to save effort another day. I also freeze the last bit of a bottle of wine in ice cube trays so I can add a couple of cubes to a casserole in the slow cooker.
    My stockpiling of paper goods has made me the butt of many family jokes - my daughters roll their eyes as we stagger to the car with several hundred loo rolls bought on special offer and ask what happened in my childhood to turn me into the champion toilet roll hoarder of the western world.

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  25. Hi Rhonda - I have stockpiled since I was first married. I continue the practice even though I'm on my own and a senior now. It makes me sad that the stigma of being considered a hoarder has become so commonplace these days. I still do some preserving and grow veggies and I like to keep my pantry filled. Our grandparents always kept a pantry well stocked as that was common practice until the 1960s. Frugal living was a way of life due to limited availability of foods in the shops and living on much smaller incomes. Veg gardens were common and preserving was what was done because refrigeration was not that common then. I'm happy to see a growing awareness again with young people that the choice to simplify can lead to a very satisfying life without the enormous debt load that so many are saddled with. Not to mention the skills that can be developed when you do for yourself!
    Your site is exactly what is needed in these challenging economic times! Thanks Rhonda.

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  26. Oh, Rhonda. I would love to spend a week with you to "learn" all I can. My only suggestion comes from my 78-year-old mentor who is a Master Gardener. She cans and freezes all of her produce. She told me that a frostless freezer is nice to have but pulls on your electricity. So, if you are trying to cut costs, buy a non frostless freezer and put in the elbow grease it takes to defrost it when needed.

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  27. There was some very good information here, it is good to go over things you already now, you have "Oh that's right" moments, and I love that about your blog and this post. One of the single best things I have done for our stock pilling was getting a vacuum sealer, it seemed no matter how well I packaged meat it always got freezer burn, I vacuum seal all meat that comes into the house, and it lasts twice as long in the freezer now.

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  28. Hi Rhonda, I’m a long time reader (although a little shy and not a commenter) and this is my all time favourite post! I’m fortunate enough to have had two grandmothers who stockpiled and cooked from scratch and my mother also carried on the tradition. I’m teaching my kids to do the same. My mum and I often discuss the importance of passing this important skill on to the next generation. I love looking in the pantry where I can go shopping for all of my favourite brands, on sale, 24/7!

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  29. Thanks for another great post Rhonda. I'm stockpiling as a mad woman before baby comes haha :)

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  30. I took some ideas from the local organic farmer to organize my freezer. Everything labeled with name and date, whiteboard on the wall to keep the inventory on, and small fruit and beer crates to containerize similar items inside so I can go right to what I want, just lifting out a box or two if I need something on the very bottom of the chest freezer.

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  31. Thank you for a very interesting post. I have a separate cupboard for my stockpile which is in my dinning room which is working perfectly. It was from your books I heard of this idea Rhonda. I love reading everyones tips as well, they are so helpful.

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  32. When I was a child we had no refrigators and no deep-freezers. All food had to be preserved or salted. Usually they made up food for winter. Meat could be preserved in 2-liters glass jars or salted in wooden casks and they made flatbread that was placed in a storehouse where also salt-cured meats hang in another room. This meat should be ready to eat when the cuckoo came back from warmer countries. I can remember my mother made soap from animal-fat. It was grey and didn't smell good. Potatoes, carrots and such was stored in the basement under the house. It's much easier nowadays, but I still do some of it. I make juice from the garden-berries and hang some herbs to dry. I use deep-freezers to put meat in and as we are just two in the house I even put some berries in the freezer instad of cook them and put them on jars. We always have flour, sugar, tea and such in shelves a room in the basement we call the food-room and juice in a cold storage room. I'm not so organized that I have lists, but I usually know what we have in the house. We've just stored up with meat. I write date and year on the packages. It should last until spring. We buy fresh fish and milk. We store soap (Rhonda-recipe) and washing-powder in shelves in the washing-room and I always have soda and white winegar.

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  33. Interesting that folks think it is odd to stockpile these days when it used to be normal life, isn’t it? My parents and grandparents good have eaten just fine from their storage for 2-3 months. Pioneers had to rely on theirs for 8-9! I call mine Mom-mart. And ya’ll please be aware that those commercially canned foods are good usually long past the date on the can. We have eaten fruit 3 years past the can date and the quality was fine. Yes you must use good sense, relying on smell, look, taste, and no swollen cans. You can find info online about the true shelf life.

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