Simple Steps to Fill Your Pantry for the Winter
The Third Annual Fill Your Pantry bulk buying event is fast approaching – Sunday November 6 from noon until 3 pm at the Siuslaw Middle School. It is an amazing opportunity for the Florence Community to stock up on important local food items to get them through the winter. Not only does a full pantry come in handy if you can’t get outside due to nasty weather, but it provides a helpfu if you are sick and need to quarantine, just feel too lousy to shop, or want to save on gas and not take multiple trips to the store. Cooking is simpler and quicker when you have all the ingredients already on hand! And you save money when you buy in bulk. A full pantry provides a resourceful backup for you and your family and allows you the diversity of local foods to create healthy and satisfying meals all year long.
Here are some simple things to think about when you are building and stocking your Winter Pantry.
How much do I need and what should I store?
You need to buy food you and your family like and will eat. What are your favorite foods and meals, and your most reliable recipes? Make a list of the most common items you cook and eat and plan from there. If you are a baker, you will need flours, yeast, sugars etc. Cooking lots of vegetarian meals? Beans, grains, storage crops and dried fruit are perfect choices. Frozen meats, poultry and seafood provide options for quick and easy protein additions to meals any time of year. Building a store of your own in your home allows you to have healthy foods available when you need them.
Take a look at your storage space too – you may have room for only a small amount of items in your kitchen, but you can store shelf stable items any place that is pest free and temperature regulated. Think garage, linen closets, even under the bed! Of course, you will need adequate freezer space for those frozen food items.
How do I keep my food from spoiling?
Only buy what you will eat, and replace what you use. If you don’t eat sweet potatoes, don’t stock up on them! Keep your storage crops (onions, garlic, potatoes, etc) in a cool dark location (not the refrigerator) and check them regularly to be sure they’re keeping well. When you buy in bulk, make sure you have air tight containers to store larger quantities of items in. Keep them in the original packaging until you need to use them. Label and date your packaging so you can keep things in rotation and use the older items first. This is especially important for flours, grains and legumes. Canned meats, vegetables, pickles and jams are kept for a long time (with usual recommendations from 12-18 months or more) unopened, in a dark cool place if unopened. Make sure you refrigerate anything that is perishable and has been unsealed. Keep an eye out for unwanted pests like ants and such. Keeping things safe and well packaged are crucial for long term storage.
What are some of the basics for a well stocked pantry?
Here is a list of the foundational elements that make up a well stocked pantry. Pick items you like and will use and get creative when you shop! Have fun!
Oils and vinegars
Cans and jars – tomato sauce, canned tuna, soup stocks, canned beans, etc
Spices and dried herbs
Grains and beans
Nuts and nut butters
Preserves and pickles
Condiments and sauces – mustard, mayonnaise, soy sauce, hot sauce, etc
Shelf stable tofu (especially helpful for vegetarians!)
Dairy items – shelf stable milks, powdered milks
You will be able to pick up a wonderful assortment of these items this year at our indoor event in the Siuslaw Middle School Auxiliary Gym on Sunday November 6. Now is a great time to stock up!
There will be over 20 local vendors ranging from farmers, ranchers, fisherfolk and beekeepers to bakers, soap makers and food producers plus a whole lot more. Music will be provided by Robbie Dee and Terry Kloepfer. Come and help support the end of the season for these local providers ,and your hometown Florence Farmers Market.
See you there!
How to Stock a Modern Pantry, New York Times
Pantry Master List
Blog article written by Britte Kirsch