Thursday, December 5, 2013

The Homestead Pantry

      Visions of a homestead pantry may bring to mind the image of colorful canning jars neatly arranged on simple wooden shelves. While it's true, a large part of my pantry is home canned goods some things just don't come from the farm. Let's take a list at my standard list of on-hand items that not only line my shelves, but stock my fridge as well.
       Pantry Staples
  Dependent upon the budget, flours can be whole wheat or whole wheat berries. I prefer the whole wheat berries due to their nutritional value and, when properly stored, have an excellent shelf life. Either way, flour suitable to the family diet is very important.
  Honey is the primary sweetener in my home, often purchased at our feed store since it is raw and unfiltered. I keep white and brown sugars on hand for baking. Once again, the type of sweetener in stock depends upon the expenses at that time.
  Essential for preserving and preparing food, I keep a large box of salt at all times.
  If any baking is to be done there has to be leavening. Yeast, baking soda, and baking powder are key to a flaky biscuit or a tender cake.
  Olive oil is my standard on hand oil, as is a shortening for baking.
   Apple cider vinegar is my all time all purpose vinegar and definite must have. White vinegar is primarily used for cleaning, but is called upon in the kitchen for some canning recipes. When the budget allows, Balsamic is brought on board for a little change of taste.
*Cocoa powder/chocolate chips
  Home made is best made and chocolate never goes out of style. There has to be chocolate!
  Most of my herbs are growing outside my door, but cinnamon and vanilla have to be purchased as does pepper and the occasional odd spice I have decided to try out.
  Much of our teas are herbal, however, we keep green tea and Ceylon on hand.

  Whole, bone in chicken and a whole, bone in roast are the top two contenders.
  Milk and Orange juice are readily available and on hand staples.
  I cook with real butter. You can't beat it!
  These two are the primaries, with occasional visits from hot sauce and mayo (often made here at home).
*Carrots, Celery, Ginger Root, Onions & Garlic
  Here is the start of almost every meal.
  Cabbage, kale, lettuce, or whatever is in season are vital and necessary.
  My husband can't live without it- ask anyone.

     Paper Goods
*Toilet paper
*Paper towels
- on a side note, paper towels are a luxury and are not always on hand or in use

    Cleaning Goods
*Dish soap
*Wash soda/borax/baking soda
- I dust with a damp cloth and use a lemon oil when the need arises

     In the understanding that I shop as little as possible- bulk shopping monthly and grocer trips as needed (weekly or biweekly)- this list may seem meager to some. No coupons are clipped and I do not go from store to store chasing prices. We have a store we visit regularly tracking their sales and mark down items and stocking up accordingly. There is also a wholesale/bulk store in town that offers us the opportunity for discounts and quantity. I have two pantries that stay well stocked with foods purchased or grown/canned or dried. Just this week we found a great price on apples giving a perfect opportunity for dehydrating and putting away for later.
    At the request of a friend, tomorrow we will take a look at homesteading with baby. Peek at how we managed food, diapering, and wipes while keeping the chores done and meals on the table.

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