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Thread: Stocking (and managing) the pantry

  1. #1
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    Stocking (and managing) the pantry

    Maybe you are a prepper, maybe you want to do a better job rotating food, maybe you have a huge garden, maybe you watch for seasonal sales at your grocery store. Saving money, eating better, avoiding waste… whatever your goal, come join me in managing those food ins and outs.

    currently I am focused on eating fresh from the garden and putting things up for later.

    I have a dehydrator which I have learned more about using this year and I have been making myself yummy, salty, vegetable based snacks with a little olive oil to raise the nutrition and lower the calories of my snack food. (I really need to lose some weight)

    Today’s project is salt and vinegar squash chips - first try. I am a bit concerned because the recipe calls for “6-14 hours” in the dehydrator. Hopefully because I have a good dehydrator and cut them thin and even (I added a mandolin to my arsenal this year) it will be close to six.

    Last night I did tomatoes - Sandwich slicer slices - won’t do again, cherry tomato haves and quarters (a repeat from success last year - my goal is 5 quarts put up for the year - I am halfway) and for the first time tomato purée. My plan is to add the dried purée to my tomato sauce to thicken it more quickly without boiling so much water out into the kitchen. - Internet tip I have not tried yet. One thing - the purée was crunchy when I turned the dehydrator off. An hour later it was fruit leather. So I need to stick it in the freezer (my preferred temporary storage location) right away.

  2. #2
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    I have an abundance of cherry tomatoes so yesterday I tried a recipe for roasted sauce with onion, garlic and basil. It turned out tasty but a lot of work for a small quantity of sauce so I won't do that again. Now, I have an abundance of jalapeños which weren't really expected to be so bountiful (must be the hot weather this summer). DH is going to grill some which we put in the freezer to be added in small quantities to various dishes. The rest I will make into escabeche (picked with carrots and onions). Our peach tree did not produce this summer - darn. As far as grocery items, we tend to stock up on essentials when they are on sale. I did note that last month's grocery spending was about $75 higher than normal. Rising prices I presume and a few splurges like $6 local watermelons that are priceless in taste.

  3. #3
    Senior Member SteveinMN's Avatar
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    Shopping only every two weeks during the pandemic really got me to up my pantry/freezer efficiency game. I regret (a little; I have bigger regrets) that I've let that slide a little now that our groceries will not surely kill us.

    I've been more planful about how to use up what I bought. If one recipe called for 4 ounces of mushrooms, I had to know where the other 4 ounces were going (besides the compost heap). This extends to farmer's market purchases, too.

    One half shelf of our fridge is devoted to leftovers. That's where all the leftover containers go. If I can see it, I will remember to do something with the leftover onion or the quarter jar of spaghetti sauce. That helped a lot even if we ate lots of non-traditional soups and weird omelets.

    Everything in the freezers has a date: meat that has the sell-by label visible through the packaging or a container with a strip of adhesive tape with permanent marker on it describing what it is, its approximate weight/servings, and the date it hit the freezer. When it's time to raid a freezer, it's easier to find the older stuff and make sure it gets used first. I tend to keep a couple of frying chickens in a freezer at all times. But it's good to know which one to defrost and cook first.

    I think we still have a dehydrator (though we may have given it to our kids). I do have a small army of tiny freezable containers that can hold portioned tomato paste or quarter cups of chopped onions and the like. I've been lacto-fermenting a bunch of vegetables, most of which will last a couple of months in the refrigerator until they're eaten. We don't have our own garden but I have a friend who lets me glean from his farm the produce his growers don't take to the farmer's market. I've become selective of what I take since there's only two of us and so much we can eat even if I dry/pickle/freeze it. But that can quickly supply us with, say, a year's worth of rhubarb or leeks.

    I also have a permanent list of things to get at the various markets at which I shop. We're down to our last can of coconut milk. Since I like a particular brand that's not available everywhere, that's on the list for the next time I go to the Asian supermarket. Ditto for cooking oil, etc. when it runs low. Minimizes the trips to the store for just an item or two and helps make sure I don't "oops" and end up with four or five cans of coconut milk in the pantry.
    Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome. - Booker T. Washington

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    Some of those jalapenos can go into bacon-wrapped poppers with cream cheese--one of my favorites.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveinMN View Post
    Shopping only every two weeks during the pandemic really got me to up my pantry/freezer efficiency game. I regret (a little; I have bigger regrets) that I've let that slide a little now that our groceries will not surely kill us.

    I've been more planful about how to use up what I bought. If one recipe called for 4 ounces of mushrooms, I had to know where the other 4 ounces were going (besides the compost heap). This extends to farmer's market purchases, too.

    One half shelf of our fridge is devoted to leftovers. That's where all the leftover containers go. If I can see it, I will remember to do something with the leftover onion or the quarter jar of spaghetti sauce. That helped a lot even if we ate lots of non-traditional soups and weird omelets.

    Everything in the freezers has a date: meat that has the sell-by label visible through the packaging or a container with a strip of adhesive tape with permanent marker on it describing what it is, its approximate weight/servings, and the date it hit the freezer. When it's time to raid a freezer, it's easier to find the older stuff and make sure it gets used first. I tend to keep a couple of frying chickens in a freezer at all times. But it's good to know which one to defrost and cook first.

    I think we still have a dehydrator (though we may have given it to our kids). I do have a small army of tiny freezable containers that can hold portioned tomato paste or quarter cups of chopped onions and the like. I've been lacto-fermenting a bunch of vegetables, most of which will last a couple of months in the refrigerator until they're eaten. We don't have our own garden but I have a friend who lets me glean from his farm the produce his growers don't take to the farmer's market. I've become selective of what I take since there's only two of us and so much we can eat even if I dry/pickle/freeze it. But that can quickly supply us with, say, a year's worth of rhubarb or leeks.

    I also have a permanent list of things to get at the various markets at which I shop. We're down to our last can of coconut milk. Since I like a particular brand that's not available everywhere, that's on the list for the next time I go to the Asian supermarket. Ditto for cooking oil, etc. when it runs low. Minimizes the trips to the store for just an item or two and helps make sure I don't "oops" and end up with four or five cans of coconut milk in the pantry.
    Care to share what exactly?

    I love escabeche:
    https://www.thenourishinggourmet.com...ted-escabeche/

    Also Tomato Pepper Relish by Nourishing Traditions and a variety of fermented pickles.

  6. #6
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    I've been finding that I stocked up on basics way back when, but have hardly used any of them! So, I'm currently trying to eat down the pantry and will re-organize it when there is "shifting" room to move stuff around. I think I need to put some of the things we haven't touched out where we can actually see them as a reminder. I consider this a long-term, on-going project. lol.
    To give pleasure to a single heart by a single act is better than a thousand heads bowing in prayer." Mahatma Gandhi
    Be nice whenever possible. It's always possible. HH Dalai Lama
    In a world where you can be anything - be kind. Unknown

  7. #7
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    The squash is not pleasing me. It was pretty dry after 9 hours, but tasted like salt and not vinegar. And it’s really sweet.

    I put it in a bowl and tossed it with another quarter cup of vinegar. Once that soaks in I’m putting it back in the dehydrator.

  8. #8
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    Dh went to the grocery store yesterday. I think he noticed that I was a little annoyed because he made a point of cooking dinner with my homemade pesto, two kinds of squash from the garden, rice from the pantry, spices, and an onion from the store.

    these are things we have ready to eat from the farm: green beans, yellow beans, red beets, yellow beets, 7 kinds of basil, zucchini, crookneck squash, kohlrabi, turnips, endive, three kinds of kale, five kinds of tomato, three kinds of pepper (one hot), mint, oregano, thyme, camomile, eggs, cheese, milk, ice cream, edamame, ground cherries, four kinds of pickles, the last few cucumbers, two kinds of shallots, two kinds of garlic, blackberry jam, canned crushed tomatoes and canned tomato sauce.

    we also have apple sauce, strawberry jam and canned peaches I made from bulk/direct on farm purchases.

    we have pasta, quinoa, barley, corn meal, oatmeal, three kinds of flour, three kinds of rice and various other baking needs in the pantry, along with nuts, dried fruit, dried veggie snacks, vinegars, spices, and oils.

    he bought - onions, cauliflower, spinach, potatoes, olives, salsa, English muffins, three kinds of bagged snack chips, cookies, beer, and soda because there was “no food in the house.”

  9. #9
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    Sorry for the serial posting.

    I sound very grumpy in the last post. I was just incredulous about the “no food” comment. (I forgot to list cabbage, carrots, and parsley) most of those vegetables are vegetables that he eats and I feel like there is enough variety not to need to buy different vegetables. Also, for someone who claims to love cooking and eating with fresh ingredients, I would think he might be willing to make some salsa? I was feeling unappreciated. (His biggest farm contributions are mowing, firewood, and managing the blackberry canes.)

    anyway, my take away is that when Dh starts complaining that there is nothing to eat I should either ignore him and let him handle it or bake.

    meanwhile, the chips are very close to crispy after 8 hours, but I haven’t tried them because salt and vinegar doesn’t really go with coffee for me.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Teacher Terry's Avatar
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    I think your husband is probably craving something that isn’t in the house. I would let him handle it. Personally I have to be in the mood to make something from scratch like the salsa versus just opening a jar. Probably the same for him.

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