Wednesday, March 23, 2011

What's in Your Pantry? Part Two: Food Storage

Check out part 1 here.

I have had some questions regarding how I store all that food, so I thought I would devote this post to giving some answers.  I don't have a food pantry in my home.  We just have regular old kitchen cabinets, but they can hold a lot if we are creative.

In this lower cabinet I store my oils and baking goods along with canned jellies and my crockpots.  I will be taking the jellies out this week and moving them to a lower cabinet in my dining room that currently holds our cd and cassette collection.   That will free up a good bit of space in this cabinet and I can then fill the buckets below with pasta or dehydrated foods that will keep for a long time.

I got these food grade buckets free at the Kroger bakery.  They tell me they are having lots of people asking for them now!  I hope to get about fifty of them eventually.  In the last two weeks I scored 9 so I need to up my search.  The smaller round buckets I think will fit very well under Jordan's twin bed.  I could probably store 20-30 buckets under there with oats, wheat, corn, pasta, dehydrated foods, sugar, etc.  Again, I have to get creative with storage.  We don't even have a coat or linen closet in this house.  The four boys have a large closet that easily contains all of their hanging clothes and shoes.  There is still a lot of floor space and I store bottled water there.

This other cabinet holds my canned goods.  Tuna, chicken, beans, sauces, olives, evaporated milk and tomato paste are all on the top.  On the bottom are large cans of tomato puree and green beans, LOTS of ketchup, honey, mayonaise, canned corn, tomato sauce, rotel, cream soups, various small bottles of condiments and lemon juice for our "homemade"  lemonade.  It is easy to see what I am almost out of...English peas, corn, lemon juice, etc and I can really stock up on more green beans.  We generally eat one of those large cans in 2-3 meals. 

This cabinet used to hold boxed cereals and crackers, but we have gotten away from using those.  The upper shelf contains our stash of nebulizer medications, hot air popcorn popper, seed sprouting tray, and kitchen scales.  Middle shelf holds some small containers of dried dates, mushrooms and sage, Caedmon's gluten free, egg free, dairy free snacks and pastas and boxes of wheat pasta.
The bottom holds our electric tortilla press, a few clearance bottles of maple flavoring, a large assortment of medicinal, herbal and plain tea and five bags of grits.

Our galley kitchen is designed with a small eating area which is way too small for my large family.  We have a large deep freezer against the wall and this medium sized table.  On top of the table I have canisters filled with sugar, flour, white rice, brown rice, oats, pasta, tea and some gluten free flours.  There is generally a basket of fruit or vegetables there as well.  The forty gallon buckets under here contain wheat, white flour, white sugar, oats, popcorn and dried beans.

These items really need to find another home!  Here against the wall I have 45 pound buckets of grains, 50 pound bags of wheat and oats and a 50 pound bag of red potatoes.  If I can get enough of the smaller buckets, these big bags will be repackage there.

Another storage area that I didn't take a picture of uses underbed storage boxes.  I think I can store 6 bags of grits in one small underbed box.  A larger box contains 3 25 pound bags of basmati brown rice and there are several other boxes containing toiletries and more.  I have purchase bed risers from Bed Bath and Beyond to raise one queen sized bed up in order to store underneath it.  

New garbage cans are great for storing paper goods such as toilet paper, paper towels and feminine supplies.  These can be kept in an outdoor storage area. 

The cabinets above the stove and refrigerator spot and another small cabinet need to be cleaned out and reorganized.  The will then be able to hold the empty canning supplies and the spices for cooking.  My upper cabinets have lots of space above them where I keep my large cooking pots and home canned goods.

I would love to have a room devoted to food storage, but for us that is not possible.  Our Mississippi summers are so very hot and humid I don't think it would be wise to store our food in the garage.  We have thought about digging out a gulley near our backyard area and  burying a 'pod' there to use as a cellar and as a storm shelter.  Heavy metal shelves all around the pod would provide lots of storage and it should stay relatively cool if it is buried in dirt.  

Hope that answers some questions and I would love to hear about your food storage ideas.



Tami said...

Okay, I have a very personal question. Have you noticed any extra "guests" since you've been storing food like this - specifically mice? I can handle any kind of creature except rodents, in fact I have a pretty severe anxiety about them. For instance I would love to have a ton of popcorn on hand, we go through so much of it. But I'm afraid it would be like an open invitation to creatures. I really need to get passed this, but it is a real problem for me. Are the white buckets fairly resistant?

Anita said...

Tami, my husband says it would take some mighty tough rodents to get into those buckets!!

Even the bags are double and triple layered, but I still want to move them to the buckets.

We have had mice problems before, but not because of food storage but because of cracks, etc in the home. Those had been taken care of and we have had cats outside that have helped as well.

I am terrified of mice and during the time when we were having trouble, if I spotted one we were gone for the rest of the day. Terrifies me!

Danielle said...

Thanks for showing off your food storage - it makes me feel better about having 5-gallon buckets sitting around my house too! We are soo lucky to live in a cool, dry area where we can store extra buckets in our crawlspace.
I am amazed at how organized your cabinets are - wow!

Mrs. Trixi said...

Anita, let me just say first that you are my hero!! We are doing so much in the way of preparedness but I look at this and know that I have so much more to do.
I am curious as to where you are getting your bulk wheat, oats, etc. We order from a CoOp out of Tn. but I would love to know if you have another source. When we lived in S'ville, we would occasionally drive up to Ada's in Bethel, Tn.

Also, I would love to see you do a post on how much of certain things you are planning to keep stocked.

Anita said...

Trixi, there is so much more that I need to do, but I know that if Jeff's work fell through right now we would be able to eat for a while.

We are considering placing a large order with Wheat Montana in the very near future and hope to link up with some folks who would like to order in the Starkville area. We would load up the truck after delivery and haul it down there for pick up. Let me know if you would be interested via email. I hope to have all the info very soon.

I don't have a good idea of how much of each item to stock. I have found info, but haven't incorporated it as I should. Check the Food Storage Analyzer button in my side bar to get an idea.

Rashel said...

You have inspired me to reorganize some of my cabinets, thank you! We don't have a single closet in our home, no pantry and no cellar. So, my storage space is severely limited. I do use some under the bed storage though. Thanks for the tip to store paper goods outside in a large trash can, I never would have thought of that.

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