Hi friends! And welcome back to The Gubba Podcast. I’m Gubba, a first time homesteader following in the footsteps of my homesteading forebears.
On this podcast, I discuss homesteading, food storage, preparedness, and everything in between. Today I’m going to be talking about my food storage, how I actively use it, and what my kitchen looks like day to day with a prepper pantry.
If you have listened to any of my podcasts or tuned into any of my homesteading content, you know that I love food storage and I’m a huge advocate for everyone to have their own food storage.
I don’t think it’s important just for end of the world extreme scenarios but for everyday life scenarios. You never know when a job will become unstable or a friend will go through a rough time and needs some help with food.
What is a food storage?
A food storage is extra food that you have on hand. This could include dry beans, frozen meals, or just add water freeze dry meals. Everyone’s food storage looks a little bit different, but I want to walk you through my kitchen and what I do to actively integrate my supplies.
Right now in my kitchen, I have a sourdough starter blooming on my counter. I feed it once a week and make delicious english muffin bread with it.
This week, I realized I am down to my last bag of flour in my kitchen pantry. I had about 8 large bags that I worked through over the course of a year. I do a lot of baking and cooking with flour, so I wasn’t surprised when this week I opened my last bag. Was I concerned and planning my next trip to the grocery store to get flour though? No.
I’ve been slowly building up wheat berries into my food storage and I recently purchased a grain mill, so now I will be shifting to grinding my own wheat berries into flour.
Do you see how food storage has been beneficial to me?
I stocked up on flour over the past few years, and I have slowly gone through my supply of ground store-bought flour while building up a different supply of flour in the form of wheat berries.
How do you store flour long term?
If I lived bag to bag of flour or even only bought two bags of flour at a time, I would have to rush to the store because I’m out and waste gas and time. I literally made one Costco run a year or so ago, bought a bunch of flour and it has lasted me quite a while.
To be honest, some of the bags went past the expiration date by a few months, but I found the flour performed the same as the non-expired flour. I was able to test the expired flour by feeding it to my sourdough starter and my starter still rose every time.
Expiration dates are just a suggestion anyway, if you didn’t know that. So I was able to feed my starter and bake bread weekly because I thought ahead and bulked up on a necessary ingredient that I use a lot.
How do you store sugar long term?
Another common use ingredient in my kitchen is sugar. Again, I bake a lot so I bulk purchased can sugar about a year ago, and I am still using that supply. I got a 25lb. bag of cane sugar, dumped it into a 5 gallon pale and I keep that in my pantry. I drag it out to refill smaller containers in my kitchen, but it is so nice to have a large supply of sugar on hand for when I need it.
I will never go back to buying small bags of sugar again. Sugar lasts indefinitely, and if you have the space why not buy more? Sugar is not something I can make myself, so I purchased bees to hopefully learn how to have a steady supply of sugar on the homestead through honey. So now, this is an example of my animals integrating into my food storage supply.
Sugar is a staple in my long term storage supply as well. If you have watched some of my food storage tour videos, you have probably seen the #10 cans that I have purchased from The Church of Jesus Christ of Later-day Saints Bishop Storehouses.
These cans of sugar are an easy way to bulk store sugar in a way to ensure that no bugs, moisture, or light get into them. If I ever ran out of sugar in my 5 gallon bucket in my pantry and I didn’t want to run to the store, I would crack one of those babys open and use it for whatever I was baking or cooking.
I have done multiple pantry tour videos, and if you have watched them you have noticed that I keep my pantry full. I would suggest you to try to always keep whatever pantry you have as full as possible too.
Work up to it.
Build up foods you enjoy eating. This past week I made enchiladas. I finally used some enchilada sauce that I bought in bulk from Azure Standard last year. I have about 24 cans, and I was grateful that I had this obscure ingredient on hand so I didn’t have to run to the store when I wanted enchiladas.
With the enchiladas, I had everything on hand I needed to make them. Black beans, corn, tomatoes, and chilis were all canned and in my pantry. I can’t explain the feeling of bliss I experience when I have all of the ingredients I need to make a recipe.
When I use cans from my pantry, I rotate the older cans forward and keep an eye on what needs to be stocked. I want to replenish plus add additional to what I have in my pantry.
This past week I also made pulled pork sliders. Side note, they were absolutely amazing and totally to die for. I will have the recipe on my website and you need to make these. So I started out making these by making homemade rolls.
This required flour (which I have in my pantry), butter (which I have a plethora of in my freezer storage), sugar (which I have in my pantry), yeast (which I have in my pantry but isn’t necessary because I have a sourdough starter but sometimes I want a quick rise with yeast), and salt (which I have an abundance of throughout my pantry).
I also made homemade BBQ sauce. So for this item, you could bulk store your favorite BBQ sauce or make it from scratch whenever you need it. I prefer making it because it is easy and I can make the amount I need for a specific recipe. BBQ sauce requires ketchup, mustard, vinegar, spices, and Worcestershire sauce.
All of these things I have in my pantry. I learned while making it though that I need to bulk up on Worcestershire sauce because I opened up my last bottle. I was making the BBQ sauce and ran out of Worcestershire. I was elated when I found a bottle in my pantry. I cook with this a lot and love it, so I ordered a bulk amount from Azure after that night.
I also realized I need vinegar in bulk because I don’t have that in bulk either. The pork for the recipe was previously canned up from frozen pork chops I had sitting in my freezer.
So now that I had used those items, I make a plan to replenish. I’m actively working on moving meat from the freezer to my pantry via canning.
It is so nice being able to get meat ready-to-go off of my pantry shelf instead of waiting for it to thaw and then having to cook it up.
I’m also a part of a farm share where I get produce weekly from a local farm and this has tested my skill of being able to preserve food. I’ve been pickling a lot. My own farm fresh eggs from my chickens have been in abundance, so I’m learning what to do with those.
The produce that comes to me either hops into my freezer for later use, I pickle it, eat it, or hand it off to my chickens if I don’t like it like cabbage or something.
How do you buy in bulk?
Costco has been one of my favorite places to bulk buy goods for my pantry, but now that I am more remote, I love shopping online through azure standard.
I made mayonnaise this week too, and I needed some lemon juice to add to it, so all I had to do was open up my pantry and grab a bottle of lemon juice for the recipe.
I love ingredients that last for long periods of time on the shelf because I’m able to use them in a pinch when I’m making a recipe.
Over the past year, I have been putting wheat berries into long term storage via mylar bags and now I will start cracking those open, so I can begin to grind my own wheat.
I kind of picture my food storage process as always trying to climb up the ladder. Can I buy in bulk what I’m using? Can I store this for long term storage? Can I grow this? The goal is to be self sufficient but because that knowledge has been lost for generations, it is taking me a bit to work back up to it.
Having a food storage is a great way to start a journey towards self sufficiency though.
My freezer is one of my favorite ways to store food and I actively grab foods from there to add into whatever I’m cooking. I haven’t had to buy onions for months because I purchased bulk onions and use frozen onions for every recipe. Tastes the same to me and saves me many one time grocery store trips for the recipes that call for onions.
I also do this with carrots and celery. Not a lot of my recipes call for these ingredients, but if they do I want to have them on hand and a freezer allows me to do that.
Currently, I have milk stocked up in my freezers and I am rotating those half gallon jars into my kitchen as well. Do you see how I rotate things from my food storage into my pantry? Whether it is directly into the pantry or I’m canning it or using it for dinner that night, I make sure to use what I have on hand.