Thursday, July 31, 2014

A Pantry for Everything!

I shared with you in this post my definition of 'my pantry' and I also alluded to the fact that my pantry included much more than just food.  In this post I thought I would continue the thought and share with you some of the  'divisions/categories'  of my pantry so you could get a better understanding of what I was talking about.

Below are some of the parts/categories/divisions of my pantry and what falls under each.

Food ... this is the most obvious and what most people think of when they hear the word pantry.  This includes home-canned food, frozen foods, dehydrated foods, bulk purchased foods, and food purchased from a grocery store.

Medicinal ... herbal remedies, prescriptions and first aid supplies.

Toiletries ...  shampoo, hair conditioner, deodorant, razors, make-up, personal hygiene items, etc.

Stationary ...  writing paper, thank-you notes, spiral notebooks, composition notebooks, post-it notes, pens, pencils, markers, etc.  I try to shop for these things once a year during the back to school sales.

Cleaning ...  since I make most of our cleaning supplies, including laundry detergent, this category includes ingredients to make those cleaning supplies as well as the few 'cleaning' items I do purchase.

Fabric ... I buy almost all of my fabric when it's on sale or when I have a 40 - 50% off coupon whether I need it or not at the time and bring it home and add it to my stash.  When I want or need to sew something I shop in my stash.  I also include buttons, zippers, etc that I have removed from worn out or badly stained clothing as well as fabric cut from outgrown clothing that still has lots of wear.

Paper Products ...  paper towels, toilet paper, aluminum foil, wax paper, cling wrap, etc.

Emergency Lighting ... oil lamps, lamp oil, candles, batteries, etc.

Food Preservation ... freezer bags, vacuum sealer bags, canning lids, etc.

What do you consider 'your pantry?'  Does your pantry have 'divisions/categories' or is it only food?  If your pantry contains 'divisions/categories' what 'divisions/categories' do you have?

Let's talk ... please share in the comments below about your pantry ...

A Working Pantry

Don’t forget to check out my Pinterest page. 

This post linked to:  Front Porch Friday; From the Farm; Fridays Unfolded

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Pantry Challenge #20 ... 2014

Before you read this edition of Pantry Challenge you need to be reminded of what MY definition of MY pantry is … all things needed to keep my home running smoothly ready and available for use when needed … not just food items.

Okay, let's get started ...

My to-do list from last time:

Continue dehydrating potatoes … this is going to be ongoing for a while
Make turmeric capsules … didn’t happen, it was suppose too … I had set aside some time to get this project done, but life happened.
Make vitamin capsules … didn’t happen, it was suppose too … I had set aside some time to get this project done, but life happened.

In Addition ….
Week before last Aldi’s had their avocadoes on sale for $.69/each and I bought a dozen of them.  Of course, they were green so I brought them home to let them ripen.  They were ready this week so I made enough guacamole for a meal and then added 4 containers of guacamole to the freezer part of my pantry.
Someone gave us a plastic grocery bag of okra and I washed and cup up enough to add 4 packages to the freezer part of my pantry plus left out enough for a meal.
I harvested and dried elderberries this week.  This is the second year for our elderberry bushes, there’s not a lot of berries but everything I can grow means that much less I need to purchase.
I stopped in at Walgreens while in town this week and picked up 2 jars of green olives ($.89 each), 2 cans of tomato sauce (2/$1) and 2 cans of tuna ($.89 each) using their in-ad coupons.
I received my order from Bulk Herbs containing the hawthorn berries I had ordered.  I started a tincture that should be ready in about 4 weeks.
I added more lemon zest to the lemon extract I’m making.  We’re enjoying freshly squeezed lemon juice in our tea and are zesting the lemons before squeezing them.  Waste not, want not!
In the stationary portion of my pantry I added 8 spiral notebooks, on sale for $.25 each, and 4 composition notebooks, on sale for $.50 each.  These, along with what I have on hand should be enough to last until school supplies go on sale again next summer.
I cleaned out a flower pot and planted rosemary seeds.  I had a nice big rosemary plant that I had been able to keep going for several years but the colder than normal temperatures of last winter did it in, so I had to start over.  I use rosemary in quite a few things so growing my own saves money.

Here’s my to-do list for this week:

Continue dehydrating potatoes
Make turmeric capsules
Make vitamin capsules
I’ve added a new pantry tip to the Pantry Tips page, go check it out HERE.

Now it’s your turn, what pantry related things have you done since we last talked?

A Working Pantry

Don’t forget to check out my Pinterest page. 

This post linked to:  Front Porch Friday

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Pantry Challenge #19 ... 2014

If you’ve been following along with my 100 Items Challenge this month … I . DID . IT!  Go take a peek HERE!

My to-do list from last time:
Continue to preserve peaches.  Job Completed!  I added 180 more peach puree cubes to my freezer!  That’s all of our peaches from our trees for this year.
Dehydrate potatoes.   I finally got started dehydrating them!  Thus far I have added 2  pints of cubed, dehydrated potatoes to my pantry.
Can maple syrup.  I . GOT . IT . DONE!!!!  Can you believe it?????  How lonnnnnnnng has this been on my to-do list …. too long!  Sometimes it takes a little longer than we would like to get a job done, but if we preserve, we will get it done!
Order hawthorn berries to make hawthorn tincture.  There are several herbs I need to order so maybe this will actually get done this week!  I got this DONE too! 
Make turmeric capsulesDidn’t get done!
Make vitamin capsules  Didn’t get done! 

In Addition ….
We found slab bacon in 10 lb boxes on sale for $19.99 at Save-A-Lot.  This made it $1.99/lb.  The bacon was sliced nicely and wasn’t chopped up into ends and pieces.  We were thrilled and purchased 2 boxes.  We brought it home and divided it up into equal parts and froze it.  I added eight 2.5 lb size packages to the freezer part of my pantry.
I also found extra virgin olive oil on sale for $5.49 per 34 fl oz bottles.  We purchased 2 and added them to our pantry.
Someone gave us a GINORMOUS zucchini …  it was over a foot long … I shredded it up, packaged it into 1 cup baggies then vacuum sealed 8 packages of 2 cups each and added them to the freezer part of my pantry.  We'll use these when making squash patties or in baked goods.

Here’s my to-do list for this week:
Continue dehydrating potatoes
Make turmeric capsules

Make vitamin capsules

That’s what I’ve done, how about you?  What have you added to your pantry since we last talked?

A Working Pantry

Don’t forget to check out my Pinterest page. 


This post linked to:  The Homestead Barn Hop

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Dehydrating Potatoes!

We finally got our potatoes dug and now it's time to get started preserving them.  We don't have a basement or root cellar and the heat and humidity are so bad here that they will rot if you just let them sit.  What to do???  In the past years we've canned them and dehydrated them.  I've read of others making potato flakes and turning them into powder.  Still others cut them into French fry pieces and freeze them.  How do you preserve your potato crop?

I've been asked several times about dehydrating potatoes so that's what I'm going to share with you today ...

 First, I peel the potatoes and slice them in approximately 1/4 thickness. 

As I slice them I immediately put them in water to keep them from turning brown.
 Then onto the food chopper they go one at a time to be chopped.
 The chopper container is filling up!
Next, I put them in a pan on the stove and bring them to a boil for 3 minutes.
 Drain them ...

Run cold water over them ...
Then load them onto the dehydrator and dehydrate them at 115 until they are dehydrated.

I don't like to dehydrate things at a high temperature as I feel it destroys some of the nutritional value.
The end result ....  This half pint jar of dehydrated potatoes is about 8 potatoes.  I've got lots more potatoes to do and as I fill up each pint jar I'll vacuum seal it.  You can also oven-can these if you don't have a vacuum sealer.

We'll use our dehydrated potatoes in soups this winter.  You can also use them in stews, casseroles, etc.

If you'd rather dehydrate potato slices just use a food processor or some other method to slice the potatoes thin and follow the same instructions.  Dehydrated sliced potatoes make good scalloped potatoes.

A Working Pantry

Don’t forget to check out my Pinterest page. 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Canning Maple Syrup

Several years ago we started buying pure maple syrup from a Mennonite family that tapped their own trees.  We would buy it in pints and would purchase enough to last for a year.  One year we went to make our yearly purchase and they were out of pints and only had it in gallons.  The lady of the house told me I could can it and proceeded to tell me how.  When I got home I consulted my canning books and searched online for further instructions.  I combined the instructions I got from the Mennonite lady with what I found in my research ... and here's how I can maple syrup ...
Empty the maple syrup into a pot.  Heat the syrup slowly until it reaches 180 degrees. Stir occasionally.  Do not let it boil or stick to the pan.
I attached a candy thermometer on the side of the pot so I could watch the temperature.
While the syrup is heating I wash and sterilize the jars by boiling them for 10 minutes in a pan of water.

I also heat the lids and prepare the rings.
 When the syrup reaches 180 degrees I fill each jar with the hot syrup, put a hot lid on each and screw on the ring.

The jars are hot, the syrup is hot and the lids are hot so be careful when filling and capping the jars.

The jars will seal as they cool.  No further processing is needed.

As I type this I am listening to the ping of the jars as they seal.

This maple syrup will last for years.  I am currently using some that has been on my pantry shelf for 3 years and it is still good.

Don’t forget to check out my Pinterest page. 

A Working Pantry

This post linked to:  Thrifty Thursday; From the Farm Blog Hop; The Homestead Barn Hop

Looking Back @ Last Week ... #5

Last week was filled with doctor appointments and lots of busyness, here’s what I did in and around those doctor visits and busyness ...

To see what I added to my pantry go HERE.
While peeling and pureeing peaches one afternoon I listened to this free podcast by Wardee at GNOWFGLINS on Traditional Food and Preparedness.   

I watched this short video by Wardee at GNOWFGLINS on how to get kefir milk thick.  While I am pretty pleased with how my kefir milk does I watched it anyway to see if I could pick up any information I didn’t know and … I did!

I unpacked a few more boxes and put their contents away from where we had to box everything up and move it out to get our floors finished.

My husband cut a nice big bouquet of sunflowers from the field next to our house and brought them in.  (He has been given permission to do this.)  They made a beautiful arrangement for our dining room table.  I love free things like this that helps make a house a home.
Getting Healthier in 2014
I walked on the treadmill 30 minutes each day for 6 consecutive days! 

My husband and I bought each other Fitbits for our anniversary and they have been a real motivator to keep us moving and get those steps in.

Read what happened in our garden HERE

Pantry Tips
I added a new pantry tip HERE

Bible Study
I started writing out the book of Proverbs into a notebook.  I needed something simple and easy to do that didn’t require a lot of research on my part and this fit the bill perfectly.  It’s been nice to just think on each verse as I write them out.

I printed off a Bible study titled Like Mother, Like Daughter from this site. 

I finished chalking the ‘Judges’ for the children’s Bible class I teach.

I finished the doll quilt top that is part of a Christmas present for my granddaughter.

I started another batch of cider fire last week and made garlic salve.
That was my week in a nutshell!

Don’t forget to check out my Pinterest page. 

A Working Pantry


Making Peach Cubes for the Freezer

 If you've been reading my pantry challenges for the last few weeks you will know that I have been making peach cubes for my freezer from the peaches on our peach trees.
I picked another bowl half full today and I thought I would share with you how I make peach cubes.
I peel and slice the peaches removing the pit.  As I go along I drop the peach pieces in my Magic Bullet blender/smoothie maker/what-ever-you-want to call it container.
I give it a quick whiz ... approximately 30 seconds ... I told you it was quick!

Then pour the puree into an ice cube where it is immediately put into the freezer.

Approximately 24 hours later, I remove the cubes from the trays and put them in freezer bags and put them back in the freezer. 

I've been keeping this rotation going for several days now and have several bags of peach cubes in my freezer.
What do I use the peach cubes for?  Right now I'm enjoying them in a kefir smoothie every morning.  My husband mentioned that they would be good to make peach tea with ... how would you use these peach cubes?
Don’t forget to check out my Pinterest page. 

This post linked to:  Thrifty Thursday; Friday's Unfolded; From the Farm Blog Hop