Sunday, February 14, 2010

I love a well-stocked pantry

Growing up, my mother had an amazing pantry.

When we were very young I remember canning applesauce, peaches, pears, tomatoes - all sorts of delicious things. Her peaches tasted like summer - even in February.

I guess she was sort of radical (for the early 80's) in how she looked at food. She didn't trust preservatives, food dyes, or HFCS. I remember finding carob-chip cookies in my lunchbox, when all I really wanted were Chips Ahoy. I remember eating wonder bread sandwiches made with grape jelly and Jiff with a side of Doritos at the house across the street - I can distinctly recall the shade of green my mother turned when I told her that's what we'd eaten for lunch ;)

Mom belonged to a natural foods co-op, and once a month we'd gather with other families in a church parking lot to unload the truck. It felt like playgroup for us kids. We would run around the church yard, playing tag and red rover among the hugs pine trees; our mothers would be busily dividing the bulk boxes of dried fruit, cheeses and pails of natural peanut butter. And when we got home, she would store it all away in the pantry.

I love my pantry. I'm pretty sure I could easily feed my family from my pantry/freezer for at least 2 weeks. After that we'd be down to some strange meal options, but we still wouldn't starve.

I just found a fascinating blog, The Prudent Homemaker, she has been feeding her family of seven (and she's due with her 6th child very soon - I love big families!) for two years. She does say that she's stocked up on certain items when she can, but for the majority of two years she has not had the luxury of going to the market every week and buying groceries. She also grows quite a bit of fresh food (makes me feel like the ultimate underachiever).

I'm going to follow some of her tips, and try some of her recipes, and see if I can't stretch my grocery money just a little bit further. All while padding my pantry.


AJ said...

I water bath can at my house, it's so easy! Of course, getting the produce to the point that it's ready to can is time consuming, but it feels so good!

My mom has a pressure canner, so we do green beans at her house. It's a lot of work. To this day I still hate snipping grean beans:)

alanna rose said...

That's how my mom always did it :) I just remember how fun it was to mill the applesauce and then eat it warm...yum!

My mom still has all of her canning supplies - and I'm planning on stealing them this summer - I'm excited!

Caroline said...

My mom canned everything until I was about 10-then we had to switch to store bought, I remember thinking that most everything had no flavor-especially the applesauce and peaches.

We still make fresh canned strawberry jam; we would probably revolt if we had to eat most of the store bought stuff.

Meg said...

I kind of know what you mean about your childhood memories! My mom and dad only stocked lean meat, veggies, fruit and whole wheat bread. It was a HUGE treat to get chips or cookies or sugary cereal on our birthdays. But your mom was incredibly smart. Reading the chemicals in so much food these days is terrifying!

I'm excited to follow your new plan and see how it goes for you. Peaches that taste like summer sound soooo good right now!

Jennifer said...

Love your blog! I feel the same way about a full pantry.

It says you are from Northwest Ohio in your profile. Im living in Sandusky right now.

Also- have you ever read the blog "Young House Love"

They are absolutely adorable and I think you would love them!

Amanda @ Serenity Now said...

I tried canning last summer. It did not end well. I think I need my MIL around to do it. I caught my apron on fire. For real.