Before the garden comes in I have been using my time inside wisely by working on stocking and organizing not only my canning supplies but my pantry and freezers as well. I took advantage of sale prices around the 4th of July and purchased some large (25 pound) bags of flour for a good price. (Gold Medal is NON GMO! ) Had some great sugar coupons one week in the Sunday paper and was able to snag about 40 pounds of sugar for cheap between the sales and my coupons. That sugar will come in handy for canned grape juice, apple sauce, canned peaches and pie fillings, pickled beets and sweet relish. Also found a printed coupon for jar lids buy 2 and get one free that I was able to use. I always try to stock up on those to have on hand from year to year.
Once my big bags of flour made it home they go in the freezer for a couple weeks to freeze any critters that may be in there and then get separated into smaller containers. O Wise One buys these large mayo jars for 10 cents from a local deli. They make great storage containers for the flour and then they go back into the freezer until I need them. The sugar I leave in the bags and simply set down into gallon vacuum seal bags and seal. Once sealed the ants cannot get into them and they go into large rubbermaid tubs to be stored into the pantry ant proof and ready for fruit season.
When you make so much of your food from scratch it is so much easier for me to shop those staples than scattered boxes of prepackaged food. The backbone of my pantry are my containers of flour, sugar, oats, rice, pasta, and beans.
When you add to that my bulk spices.
A pantry full of canned fresh foods
Two freezers full of frozen prepared dishes for those emergencies and frozen produce from my garden.
Homegrown and cured meats
And dehydrated herbs and vegetables
These all add up to the convenience of always having healthy and plentiful food on hand regardless of me shopping regularly. Add to that some powdered milk for emergencies and some butter, lard, shortening and oils and regardless of storms of shortages my family always has a healthy meal at my fingertips.
Just as my mother and grandmother before me, always working to prepare my family for that hard winter or crop that may not come in. Not a fad movement for us but rather an age old way of farm life. Living as frugally and sustainably as possible while being at the mercy of the whims of the wind, weather and seasons. Never knowing when that wind may turn and blow in that storm, drought, recession or illness. Just like education, retirement, marriage or death, preparation and planning may be the key.
This life is not for the faint of heart. There are no days of basking in the luxury of idleness. Instead a life of hard work, exercise and more work. But a satisfaction of self reliance and an honest endeavor well done.
Blessings from The Holler
The Canned Quilter