Many of you asked about our food storage plans for all of that bulk food from an order I placed at Azure Standard a couple months ago.
I thought I’d use this as an opportunity to show you my new pantry and discuss a little bit about our food storage.
Having recently just shared my woes about little uninvited house guests, my timing might be a bit off here, but in my defense those critters probably took the wide open, nearly empty, carelessly left out bag of steel cut oats as an invitation. I am not the one who left them out by the way, and in all of the basement clutter, I didn’t notice it sitting there either. (Aren’t I just full of excuses?!)
My pantry is one of my favorite rooms in the house. It’s right off the kitchen which is so much more convenient than in the basement like in our last home. If I open up the cupboard and realize that one of containers is empty, it’s only a few steps away to get a refill.
That, my friends, is homesteading luxury!
The room has many shelves- although hopefully not enough should I ever be able to successfully manage to grow and put up enough food for the whole family for the year-, cupboards for storing my food processing equipment, and a counter. The window makes it bright and easy to see.
In the aforementioned order, the two big items were unbleached, all purpose flour and hard red wheat berries.
300 pounds worth to be exact.
Seems like a LOT, doesn’t it?
Well, I had hoped that it was about a 6 month supply for our family. I don’t know what’s going on around here, but it’s shaping up to be more like a 4 month supply. The take home message being that when I order 300 pounds of bread making ingredients, I’m not planning on an incredibly long storage time so what I do isn’t as meticulous as someone who is storing up for an emergency would need to be. (Such as using mylar bags and oxygen absorbers.)
Cheesemaking, canning, and milk straining supplies… The labeled plastic baskets are for mason jar rings and lids- one for wide mouth one for regular mouth.
In the cupboard are my foley mill, food strainer, water bath canner, and a spot for a pressure canner (when I actually get one.)
See the pantry moth trap on the top shelf? It’s a just-in-case item. Thankfully, we haven’t had any here yet and when/if we do get them, I’m prepared. Those traps are inexpensive and work wonderfully. (I bought some from Ace once and these are so much better- a much larger sticky surface, so I learned to be brand specific.)
If you’re worried that pantry moths are coming into the home in the grain bag- which is how I believe our problem got started before- then sticking your bags in the freezer for a while before transferring them to the 5 gallon buckets would be one solution to nip the problem in the bud before it becomes a disaster.
Not sure if you have pantry moths in your food supply? Look for small bits of grain dust (which is not grain dust, but actually frass) or small sticky cobweb like material that the dust is sticking to. That bag is now chicken food. Lucky gals.
I’m going to do the same thing with just-in-case mouse traps too. We haven’t found evidence that they know the room exists, but I’d rather be safe than sorry!
Most of our food-grade storage buckets were picked up at a local bakery. We were on a list and they’d call us and give them a load for free. That was several years ago and we were at a point where there were more buckets than we needed or wanted and we stopped picking up our share. Eventually, those buckets were used for projects in the barn etc…, and I found my supply dwindled down to less than a dozen. For months and months we tried to get back on that list and couldn’t.
I was able to pick up a few more from a Craigslist ad in order to store some of the grain from that big order for $2 per pail. There are brand new ones to be had at Tractor Supply for less than $4 per pail so make sure you pay less than that while shopping.
The lids we use are either what came with the buckets or gamma seal lids. (Like this one here.) They spin on and off easily so I prefer them. We switch out a couple lids at a time whenever we’re at a store that sells them.
Standard lids are nail breakers (in the case you actually have any nails left to break) so a tool like this one is almost a must-have in the absence of gamma lids. That or get yourself a teen-aged boy to open them for you. The former might be cheaper… and eat fewer wheat berries in exchange for his labor.
In the buckets I’m storing unbleached all-purpose flour, wheat berries, evaporated cane juice, sucanat, sea salt, steel cut oats, popcorn, rolled oats, brown rice, cocoa powder, and powdered sugar.
See the white scoop? It came with a waffle iron I bought years ago. It’s a handy tool for scooping out of the buckets. Something like this might work just as well.
Otherwise, I’m keeping empty jars on this shelf for now.
Except for the box has onions in it. And the huge roll of butcher paper on top. Which is going to soon be wrapped around small pieces of Gus.
Apple sauce, whole blackberries, grape juice, apple butter, apple jelly, blackberry jelly. (I’ve since added elderberry syrup.)
And some wheat berries and flour that are still waiting for us to find a few more buckets….
I took a quick video spin through the pantry so you can see it as a whole. I don’t talk- sorry. But I do show how easy it is to spin off a gamma lid if it’s any consolation.
Did I forget to mention anything? Where do you store your bulk food?