The Pantry of Today

AsItems The Pantry of Today

The Pantry of Today - Copyright Adrienne Z. Milligan
The Pantry of Today – Copyright Adrienne Z. Milligan

Preparing Food in Yesteryear

In days gone by or yesteryear, canning was done at home on a larger and more consistent basis. People raised their own livestock.  Cattle allowed them to have milk and beef to eat.  Chickens provided eggs and meat.

Many things were grown and processed at home. Cows were milked and the milk and cream were used that day. Eggs were gathered to use in the daily meals. Produce was grown in the garden, harvested, and canned.

Over time, manufacturing processes allowed for the same items to be canned on a grander scale and for reduced costs (time, money, and effort). People began to buy items at the local store and put their time and efforts into other things other than growing their own foods and canning them.

Fast forward a few years…

For the past couple of decades, new options have been literally popping up all over for ways to buy and heat food. For example, microwave “TV dinners” take up large sections of the frozen section in grocery stores.  Canned foods which you can heat in the microwave in just a couple of minutes.  Boxed foods, which can cut the amount of cooking time, do make it easier to get something on the table.

It may or may not be faster than making it from ‘scratch.’ The quality of the ingredients and how fast you make the meal depends on what you buy and how you cook it.

Convenience Foods Can Be Helpful

Now, I am all for convenience and there are times that I do buy these products for that “quick” meal.  However, the cost of the convenience is too steep for me most of the time.

After my husband had two major back surgeries in two days and was home after five days in the hospital, I did go out and buy a couple of days of meals for the entire family just so I could focus on my husband’s recovery.  Not having to spend a couple of hours two or three times a day cooking was worth it for the short term.

I would rather spend the money on canned goods that we eat on a regular basis than on frozen foods that will be the first to go bad in a power outage.

Please do not misunderstand me. I mean no offense to those who often purchase convenience foods.

I want to help others build and keep up their food storage. Frozen foods do play into it. Budgeting does, too.

Convenience of having food now versus having food which is shelf-stable for months

The instant gratification of having food ready now (or in five minutes) versus having food ready in a few more minutes (making food from scratch or cooking up a meal) does have a price. The price is different for each person and family.

Another option for meals that is a drain on the budget (at least for us) is the all too super convenient drive-thru establishments offering fast food for 99 cents or more.

My family and I do love certain fast food places and meals. However, since we decided to focus on becoming more prepared for emergencies in 2011, our money has been spent on building our food storage and adding to our equipment.  As time goes on, we visit the drive-thru less and less.

It appears the new focus is on how fast can the food be ready to eat.  The focus is no longer on how long the food can safely be on the pantry shelf.

Where is the Pantry in Your Home?

Speaking of pantries, we’ve looked at many houses over the years.  There is a trend in the newer homes to have a small or no dedicated pantry.  Sometimes there is not adequate room to store food. Such a bummer for preppers like us!

There is less storage when living in an apartment or duplex.  Huge bedrooms are nice.  Accessible (and logical) places for pantry storage are even better for us.

Some may even ask, “What is the pantry of today?”

For me, the “ideal” pantry of today is easy to get access to (preferably right off of the kitchen). I want it indoors (not out in the garage) with built-in shelves or room some.  I want to be able to store canned foods (cans and jars alike). Items I use regularly like paper towels, baking pans, and cupcake liners are in this dream pantry.

Emergency items including flashlights and batteries can be in this pantry as well. I tend to have flashlights all over the house.  Why?  We get power outages enough to warrant having them in each room.

We can lose power for a couple of hours to several days which happens once or twice a year on average.  For other areas, a major blizzard may keep you inside for weeks.

I know some friends and family are beginning to or are still canning and dehydrating their own foods.  It is surprising how canning, dehydrating, and growing your own food (produce, dairy, meat) is becoming popular once again.

The Pantry of Today - Mine has Dried Apple Slices dipped in Maple Syrup - Copyright Adrienne Z. Milligan
The Pantry of Today – Mine has Dried Apple Slices Dipped in Maple Syrup – Copyright Adrienne Z. Milligan

The pantry of today may not have everything canned at home like in our grandparents’ time.

In conclusion, does your pantry have enough food for your family to survive in case of disaster or emergency?

How does the Pantry of Today Look for You?

Please share below.  I love learning what people store in their pantries!

If you’re visiting from Commentathon or Tip Tuesday with Dr. Elise, welcome to Gluten Free Preppers!

 

~Adrienne

Canning Pickle Relish

Canning Pickle Relish - Copyright Adrienne Z. Milligan
Canning Pickle Relish – Copyright Adrienne Z. Milligan

 

Canning Pickle Relish

My husband and I have been making pickle relish for years.  We only use his Grandma’s recipe.

Why Grandma’s recipe?  Well, it tastes so much better than the store bought relish.

I grew up not liking relish – any of them.  I did not like the taste at all.

I also did not like pickles.

Enter Grandma’s Pickle Relish

I was willing to support my husband in making his Grandma’s Pickle Relish.  I said I would help him make it.  I reserved the right to taste and not like it.

We made it and only changed one thing in the recipe:  We increased the cucumbers and onions to compensate for not including the bell peppers listed in the recipe.  (I cannot eat nightshades and bell peppers are in the nightshade family.)

Cooking up the Pickle Relish

 

Canning Pickle Relish - Cooking up pickle relish - Copyright Adrienne Z. Milligan
Canning Pickle Relish – Cooking up pickle relish – Copyright Adrienne Z. Milligan

 

Canning plans for rest of 2015

I am planning to get some pickle relish canned next month when my aunt is in town.  I’m not sure how much we will be canning, though.

What have you canned this year?

~Adrienne

Strawberry Freezer Jam

Strawberry Freezer Jam Copyright Adrienne Z. Milligan
Strawberry Freezer Jam Copyright Adrienne Z. Milligan

Strawberry Freezer Jam

Note:  Post contains affiliate links to Amazon for products I used in making the Strawberry Freezer Jam.  Please see my Disclaimers for more info.

Last summer my family and I made a lot of freezer jam.  Oh did we ever!

One of the local produce markets had full flats of strawberries for $5 each.  Yes, $5 for a full flat of strawberries!

My flats of strawberries

Strawberry Flats - Cop;yright Adrienne Z. Milligan
Strawberry Flats – Copyright Adrienne Z. Milligan

I purchased five full flats of strawberries!  It took me quite some time to get all of these strawberries ready for jam or freezing.

Summer for me is made better with fresh strawberries.  If you grow your own (my favorite!) or purchase locally, making Strawberry Freezer Jam is a great way to use up strawberries.

Getting strawberries ready to make jam or freeze (for pies)

Slicing Strawberries - Copyright Adrienne Z. Milligan
Slicing Strawberries – Copyright Adrienne Z. Milligan

Since I bought so many strawberries, I had strawberry juice and ends all over the table!  Since I knew I would need to freeze some for making pies later, I had bowls for the sliced for pies and a bowl for the jam.  After all, who doesn’t love Strawberry Pie, especially in the middle of winter?

How I froze strawberries for later use

Getting ready to freeze strawberries - Copyright Adrienne Z. Milligan
Getting ready to freeze strawberries – Copyright Adrienne Z. Milligan

I used Ziploc Quart Freezer Bags for the strawberries.  I wrote date and the contents using a Sharpie Fine Point Permanent Marker.  I loved seeing the bags in my freezer when I was done.  It reminded me to include a pie on the menu down the road.

Pectin for Strawberry Freezer Jam

Pectin for Freezer Jam - Copyright Adrienne Z. Milligan
Pectin for Freezer Jam – Copyright Adrienne Z. Milligan

I found Cornaby’s Jam in a Jiffy – Instant Fresh or Freezer Jam Mix, No Cook, Low Sugar on the shelf at Wal-Mart.  The pectin states “Gluten Free” on the front of the package.  All pectin I have seen is Gluten Free.  To be sure, read each label on every package.

Making Strawberry Freezer Jam

Mixing up Strawberries and Pectin - Copyright Adrienne Z. Milligan
Mixing up Strawberries and Pectin – Copyright Adrienne Z. Milligan

Making freezer jam is so easy with this pectin.  Crush the strawberries.  Stir in the pectin.  Place jam into airtight containers then refrigerate or freeze.  It takes longer to prepare the strawberries than it does to make the jam!

Enjoying Strawberry Freezer Jam

My family enjoys Strawberry Freezer Jam on Gluten Free Pancakes or Waffles.  We also love a Peanut Butter & Jam Sandwich using the jam.

What do you use Strawberry Freezer Jam for in your home?  Please share with me and my readers in the comment section.

~Adrienne