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Thread: How to plan a pantry for a solo person

  1. #1
    Senior Member razz's Avatar
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    How to plan a pantry for a solo person

    I finally cleaned my pantry yesterday. I found enough dried chickpeas and pasta to feed an army, some items well past their expiry date. I definitely need a better system or plan for rotating items and when to replace.

    I do have a stand up freezer which stores meats, butter, cheese, plus u-pick fruits and veggies from the summer. I also can tomato juice and salsa which get rotated quite well usually. Seems to be mostly the commercial dried and canned stuff which is the problem.

    Any and all ideas are very welcome.
    Gandhi: Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony .

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    You could stop eating processed foods like pasta.

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    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yppej View Post
    You could stop eating processed foods like pasta.
    Dude. What if she makes her own noodles, is it then processed?

    I like the word “expiry” and will be using it in the future. It is so British English.

    Ok, now on to the real topic: I doNt know about an overall system, but I have been successful this year in attacking items that have been in our freezer, and in our pantry for years. You all have heard me go on and on about the squirrel-like nature of my DH. He likes to grow, preserve, and store foods. We have applesauce in the freezer that is a decade old, probably older, and corn from his family farm that is three years old and etc.

    That applesauce is at the deep diving level and I may never be able to use it up, but I AM reaching mid level fruits.
    I do not gravitate to fruits much, so I dont know what to do with them. I need to make cobbler type desserts with them, DH will eat them then. Any cobbler I make is not very good, sadly.

    Last week I used up a can of homemade cherries. They are brown and unappetizing looking, and they have seeds. But because I love sour cherries I ate them as did DH. Just plain, unembellished from the can and they taste good just look “bad” or uncommercial.

    But back to bigger pantry successes: I used up all pasta, all purchased beans, misc rice or else threw it out. I am left with many lbs of beans that were grown and shelled last year here in our gardens. Am making bean soup regularly. I theow in homegrown okra from our freezer, onions we grew, sometimes canned tomates although I had read that keeps beans feom cooking.

    I will say that pantry management for one person, managing only that which you buy yourself, seems like a cakewalk! Still I will confess to buying wrong things and having them hang around. For this it is handy to have dogs. One of our dogs expects”topping” on her dry food, so I can often get rid of unappetizing thngs via the dogs.
    Last edited by iris lilies; 2-17-18 at 11:32am.

  4. #4
    Senior Member herbgeek's Avatar
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    Are you looking for advice on using up what you currently have on hand, advice for going forward or both/something else?

    There are few things I stock up on these days- too many "adventures" as you mention of winding up with all kinds of jars and cans I forgot about and are now expired. Or beans that are so old, that even after overnight soaking and cooking of many hours, they are still hard. So now I try to not stock more than 3-6 months of any particular item, and I've reduced the stuff I stock to just flours/baking needs, legumes that we regularly eat, and staples like oil, sugar and salt. Well that's the goal anyways, then I go through phases where I'm not regularly using the stuff stored and so its more like a 12-18 month supply at the rate its being consumed.

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    When I was a household of one I never thought of planning a pantry I just got groceries when I wanted something. I didnít eat much as a single. I had so little food in the house that one time a friend asked if I had sugar for coffee (I do not sugar my coffee) I answered ĎI donít knowí - I didnít. With a husband who likes to eat, I have a few things in the pantry now that I know we will use (coffee, salsa, mushrooms, beans) and vegetables, meat/fish/poultry in the freezer when on sale. I know what we eat and if it is on sale I buy it but I donít see it as planning just wise buying. I do plan a week of meals now and if I do not have what I need I will buy it. We donít keep a lot of food on hand.

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    Regardless of whether you process food yourself or someone else processes it, it is still processed.

  7. #7
    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    I just had a small confrontation with Mr. Squirrel, aka Mr. Iris Lilies. I requested that he show me ALL homemade cans of tomato products. I cant plan to use them if they are scattered all over our house in 4 places. “But you never use the juices!” he laments. That is because I do not know where they are.

    So, now it seems I have been able to gather home canned tomato products in two places. One place in the kitchen, the other, larger, supply in our basement. There is juice, whole tomatoes, pasta sauce, and salsa.this doesnt include any tomatoes in our freezers.

    In this forage project he pulled out more home canned items including canned peaches hiding on the shelf with flours, sugars, and all other baking supplies. Yeah organzed, NOT.

    I am sitting here looking at another jar of cherries, canned in 1998. Not kidding.

    proof! :

    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Senior Member razz's Avatar
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    I was trying to figure out if anyone had a system to prevent tossing out barely used but opened processed foods, defining how many of an item one might use ( e.g. - I am so bad with buying 4 instead of 2 when things are on 50% off sale and then losing track of them).

    After thinking about it some more, I decided that I needed a made for me master grocery list that I can check each week or two. I am fairly predictable not needing much more than milk and fruit at present but eating up my current stash in the pantry and freezer. What defeats me is the need for a variety of dishes as eating the same dish for 3 days is boring. If I freeze a portion, it gets lost. Part of the problem is fighting my pattern of for preparing for a family as in the past with only one person now routinely eating. Adjusting....

    Came across this website for a master grocery list with an excel or editable PDF version that I can develop for my situation and refer to when I make a list. http://www.grocerylists.org/ultimatest/

    IL, chuckling a little in support of your efforts but you have me beat with that 1998 jar. Each year in the first week of May, DH and I would empty the freezer, clean it and then I would replace the frozen items and he would make a list of fruits, veggies, proteins etc and we compared what we had at that point from year to year. We adjusted our inventory frozen each fall so as not to have much left in May. Maybe that is the problem, I need a husband to help get me organized
    Gandhi: Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony .

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    Oh Razz, Cooking for one is an adjustment. Buying smaller packages is what I do now and try not to go for the 2 for ones unless I plan to donate the one. Unless it's ice cream.

  10. #10
    Senior Member razz's Avatar
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    Unless it's ice cream.
    I agree with that to the point that I don't dare bring any into the house as I will eat too much of it
    Gandhi: Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony .

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