The well-stocked pantry (and freezer)

At some point, I’ll write an entry on longer term food storage, but for the moment I just wanted to run down what everyone should have on hand at all times.  Many people never seem to have more than a few days worth of food on hand, particularly in the cities, where it’s always convenient to just pick something up from the corner store.  Bear in mind that most supermarkets only have 2-3 days worth of food on hand at any time, with small convenience stores having even less.  In the event of situation that may cause a supply interruption (e.g., a severe storm) shelves can be bared within hours.  Having a few weeks worth of food on hand means you can ride out these events without blinking an eye.

You’ll notice that I don’t have a lot of prepared foods listed.  That’s intentional.  With a small number of staples, assuming a little bit of cooking knowledge (or a having a couple of cookbooks handy) you can make just about anything.

Non-perishable Staples:

  • Bread Flour - 2 X 10 lb bags
  • All Purpose Flour - 2 X 10 lb bags
  • Yellow Corn Meal - 2 X 1.5 lb cannisters
  • Oatmeal - 2 X 2.5 lb cannisters
  • Pasta (Assorted) - 10 X 1 lb boxes
  • White Rice - 10 lb bag
  • Sugar - 2 X 5 lb bags
  • Honey - 5 lb jar
  • Molasses - 2 X 12 oz jars
  • Brown Sugar - 2 lb bag
  • Baking Soda - 2 X 1 lb boxes
  • Baking Powder - 2 X 10 oz cans
  • Salt - 3 lbs
  • Dry Milk - 5 X 2 lb boxes (envelopes)
  • Vegetable Oil - 1 gallon
  • White Vinegar - 1 gallon
  • Dried Beans/Legumes (Lima, Pinto, Kidney, Lentils, Chickpeas, Pearled Barley) - 5 lbs
  • Cous Cous - 2 lb jar
  • Yeast - 2 X 4 oz jars
  • Mashed Potato Flakes - few boxes
  • Dry Buttermilk - 12 oz can
  • Dry Soup Mixes - Couple dozen envelopes
  • Gelatin - Dozen boxes
  • Gravy Mix Envelopes (Assorted)
  • Peanut Butter
  • Soy Sauce
  • Worcestershire Sauce
  • Tabasco Sauce
  • Coffee
  • Tea Bags
  • Canned Goods - Tuna, Sardines, Salmon, Chicken Breast, Vegetables (half dozen to a dozen of each)
  • Spices (Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Black Pepper, Cayenne Pepper, Oregano, Rosemary, Cumin, Ginger, Cinnamon, Lemon Zest, Cream of Tartar)

Perishables (require refrigeration)

  • Butter
  • Salad Dressing
  • Mayo
  • Ketchup
  • Mustard

All of the above require very little space.  In addition to basic kitchen appliances like a mixer, blender, microwave oven, I also highly recommend a bread machine.  Bread is something with a short shelf life, so being able to make your own will cut down on the number of trips to the store you need to make.

Another must have is a deep freezer, AKA a chest freezer.  Load it up with frozen meat and vegetables.  Just be sure to rotate your food out of the chest freezer and into your standard freezer on a regular basis as your freezer runs low so that you are automatically rotating your stocks as you eat.  Also, give serious thought to getting a generator (which will be the subject of a future entry) as you don’t want to have all that wonderful food spoil in the event of a prolonged power outage.

By keeping a well stocked pantry and freezer, you’ll be able to continue eating well for weeks should you get snowed in or face some other problem that interrupts your regular shopping.

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