Does this look familiar? Click on the comment link in any posting and leave us some feedback- we'd love to hear from you!

Monday, February 12, 2007

Having a Pantry

This writing would seem at first to belong in the food section, but it is a home matter because being prepared is key to having a smoothly-run home. It is also about more for me than food. The 'pantry' is my supply of whatever I think I would need to care for my family if I could not get to a store for a month. Food is certainly one of the most essential, but there are many others that would be important. Here are the various pantry categories I have, and what is in each:

Ideally you would have many meats and staples in your freezer or outside on the vine, but I am talking about middle of winter when there is nothing growing and the electric might be out, causing the items in the freezer to thaw and become spoiled or there is no way to cook them. It's a 'catch 22'= if you have the fuel to heat your home, the frozen foods will thaw, and if you have a cold enough house to keep things from thawing, you probably don't have a heat or cooking source.

So, in case there is no way to keep frozen or fresh foods or a way to cook them, here is what I recommend having on hand (consider your portion sizes and the number of people in your home):

sardines- good meat source, very cheap, come in a variety of flavors (avoid the ones in soybean oil)
canned spinach- great place to get your iron when fresh salad greens are inaccessible
canned sweet potatoes or pumpkin pie filling- several vitamins, as well as some yummy taste
dried fruit- we have an assortment of raisins, figs, dates, dried apples, banana chips, and coconut. Just remember that dried fruit's sugar is highly concentrated, so watch how much you eat
nuts- pistachios, peanuts, pecans, walnuts, filbert, etc. Great fat source and very versatile. Also good to add to this group are seeds- sunflower, pumpkin, etc.
olive oil- source of fat as well as a possible internal lubricant in case of constipation.
oats- we buy 25 lb. bags of thick rolled oats from the co-op. These are very versatile and even alone make a filling breakfast. SOAK YOUR OATS OVERNIGHT! Even if the directions do not say to, it will make digestion easier. Soaked oats can be eaten without cooking if you really have to.

Health and Medicinal-
Along with all the items that would be in my First Aid Kit (see Hope Chest section on the right), it is good to have some other helpful items in case of 'blizzard, drought, or war':
honey- anything with good bacteria in it will help to keep your digestive system alive, but many of these things, such as yogurt, are impossible to keep without refrigeration. Honey has enzymes in it that help the body but does not need special storage arrangements (NOTES: do not give honey to a child under 1 year of age, and make sure your honey is real, or raw, and not pasteurized)
red wine- even for those who believe in temperance, wine is a good medicine and is stated as so in the Bible (1 Timothy 5:23) Also contains good enzymes
bleach- while it is important not to over-use chlorinated products, they are very helpful in clearing a home of germs in time of need. We had a roto-virus mini-epidemic last spring, and a jug of bleach was very handy. A weak bleach solution (1 capful for each gallon) makes a rinse for dishes that will kill any germs. The same is true for any communal surfaces that would be exposed repeatedly- the bathtub, toilet, sink, table (as long as it is not a fragile fine wood finish)
soap- washing almost anything will improve the situation it is in. For clothes and dishes, use a mild a soap as possible, especially if hot water is not readily obtainable. The same is true for the body, where washing off too much of the essential oil creates a gateway for more invasion. I buy all my bath soap at The bars last longer than ones from the store, so the price evens out.
peppermint tea- not only good for stomach aches and sore throats, peppermint is a natural antiseptic. Be careful not to get a bunch of tea leaves in a cut or open sore, though! A hot, squeezed tea bag is good for eye infections and boils.
chapstick and lotion- both are very soothing in a situation where skin is exposed to temperature extremes

batteries- I try to keep 4 of every size battery on hand, because you never know which ones you will need
oil lamps- the discount store here has some that are only $3.00, and the oil refills are $2.00 a bottle. They work very well, especially for the money, and are safer than candles
matches- if you are lucky enough to have fuel for heat or light, you will need a way to light it
toilet paper- not essential, but a great luxury regardless of where you end up having to go
extra blankets and sheets- we have a closet completely reserved for these items, and when the gas line troubles came to us, we sure were glad to have those extra blankets! Old sheets can also be ripped into strips for bandages, masks, or diapers in a pinch.

February 20th, 2007- In a very odd chain of 'clicks', I found a new blog to view today, and on this block is a link to a website about being prepared. I went to the website,, and was suprised to see many of the things on my list also included in the authior's list of important staples to have on hand. There were some differences, such as his use of tuna rather than sardines and the use of white flour and rice (brown is better in both), but it was nce to see that my own 'gut' instinct was comparable to this researched list!

No comments: