When you have a stocked pantry, you can have affordable, healthy meals every day. These secrets to a prepared pantry save you time, money, and worry.
Busy families go in a hundred directions, and it can be a struggle to get healthy, home-cooked meals on the table every day. One late class, a sick child, or unexpected appointment can derail the whole thing, and you’re left with a desperate fast food stop for dinner.
Which is why a prepared pantry is so important.
A prepared pantry saves you time and money. Instead of going to the store every day, you can reach into the pantry for quick, home-cooked meals. Without a pantry, you’ll find that purchases of convenience foods or take out will increase.
I’m constantly on the lookout for ways to make dinner meal preparation easier and still stay within our budget. You’ll learn to save time and money as you follow these 3 secrets of a prepared pantry.
Fill the pantry by buying in bulk
The bulk bin section at the grocery store is a great place to start. You’ll find that affordable bulk food it is cheaper to purchase because you are not paying for the extra packaging, store shelf space, and merchandising costs. You are paying for the actual food itself.
This strategy works well for fresh produce too. Buy quantities of your favorite fruits and vegetables while they are in season and less expensive, and then learn the techniques for canning, dehydrating, and freezing food.
By canning, freezing, and drying foods in season, you can ease the financial burden of building a pantry. This allows you to slowly build up a reserve of food without overwhelming your budget
Because you are preparing during the good times when everything is in season, you can accumulate your pantry foods during these sales and harvest times.
This will bring peace of mind, and in the event of an economic crisis, financial hardship, or food shortages you will be that much more prepared to get through the rough patches.
Package food for convenience
Food storage does not have to be huge plastic containers with fancy lids and five years of provisions. Trying to organize that much food at one time will quickly get overwhelming. When you start small with a home pantry and repackage large purchases into smaller portions, you will still reap many rewards.
Here are a few ways to repackage:
Purchase grains in 25-pound bags from a local mill, Costco, or Sam’s Club. Split the each bag into 5 or 6 Ziploc bags and place them in a 5-gallon Remove one bag for your working pantry and keep the remaining bags in long-term storage until they are needed. These will last 1 year without adding oxygen absorbers.
Purchase large #10 cans of rice, beans, nonfat dry milk, or oats from the Provident Living website of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. You do not have to be a member. These will be shelf stable for 5+ years. Once a can is opened, transfer the contents to a food grade container and make use of it in your pantry during the next year.
Save food grade containers obtained from your grocery purchases. We save glass jars and sturdy plastic containers, wash and repurpose them to store pantry items, spices, and herbs. In this picture, I repurposed a salsa jar and painted the lid, the white container was originally full of protein powder, and the clear jar was full of nuts. These all have a place in my pantry.
Rotate for freshness
Above all, a pantry needs to be rotated for freshness, and the money you save by purchasing in bulk will be wasted if the food is not used in your regular recipes. You will accomplish this by creating meals from your pantry every day.
Then the stock on your home pantry shelf will be used while it is fresh, items will be brought into the pantry from your long-term storage, and those items will be replaced every year with new bulk purchases. It’s a lovely cycle to keep fresh food in your pantry.
Over time you will find that a well-stocked pantry goes in cycles. In the summer, as produce from the garden is being set aside, you’ll add more than you can eat. Then in the winter, the cupboards may seem bare as you eat more than you can store.
Be sure to set up a purchasing plan so that next year during peak season you can start all over again. Then if a natural disaster should strike, there is a severe power outage or your family has an economic downturn, you won’t need to worry about it. You will be that much more prepared if you have a well-stocked pantry
Freedom from worry is the best reason to have food storage in the first place. When you have a prepared pantry, you can store affordable, healthy and convenient meals every day.