There used to be a show on, if I recall correctly, The History Channel about Doomsday preppers. These folks lived off-grid and off the land.
So did my grandparents, but life wasn’t like a television reality show for them.
Back in 1910, my great-grandparents bought several acres of land far out in the country. The property boasted an old log cabin, a creek, and a freshwater spring. I’ve seen old pictures and the road was nothing more than a cart track. There was no electricity, no plumbing, no telephone, no television, no air conditioning, no central heating. And yet they thrived!
They had a garden and Grandma canned everything (probably not safely by today’s standards but it didn’t kill anyone). They raised chickens, rabbits, and goats. They had a small orchard. Around 1930, my grandparents brought the property beside theirs, and the family, my family, still resides on that combined acreage over one hundred years later.
My point to this is my great-grandparents and grandparents were not “doomsday preppers.” They lived simply and simply lived. My grandmothers knew they needed to grow and can x-number jars of corn to serve it weekly for a year. They knew where the wild grapes grew so they could make grape jelly to last a year. There was no panic when it was time to make apple butter, just a plan to have enough to see them through to the next harvest next year.
Should we really stock a pantry to last us for a year? I don’t know. Should you? I can only speak for myself and my answer is yes and no.
In 2021, I purchased and canned peaches. Those peaches will probably last us for two years, possibly three. I will not can peaches in 2022. I’ll probably do pears instead and a half-bushel of pears canned will probably last us two to three years. So you see how long you have an item on the shelf will vary by the item.
Do I have fifty-two cans of corn in the pantry? No, but I have two cases or twenty-four cans. That may do us a year. If we start to get low, I’ll watch for a good sale and get some. If I see a good sale on frozen corn, I may get some and dehydrate it and seal it in a jar or mylar bag. Your pantry and preparedness prepping doesn’t need to be all home-grown items.
Your pantry should consist of only those items you and your family actually will eat. You’ll never find okra in my pantry no matter what because we won’t eat it even if we get it for free.
You decide what quantities you want to stock in your pantry according to your life situation. Your pantry, your way.
Being prepared is having thought it through and responded to the level you’re comfortable with.
Take the time to make a plan. Do you want to serve green beans once a week? Then you’ll need fifty-two cans if you want your pantry to hold a year’s supply. At what point do you purchase or home can to replenish your stock? You decide what will work for you. Just remember to rotate your stock so that it’s first in-first out, or the oldest stock gets used first so nothing is wasted.
Having a well-stocked pantry takes a few minutes of your attention every day, but the payoff is huge.
Next in the series: How much does an adequate pantry hold?
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The Lady of Holly Tree Manor (The Hideaway)
Holly Tree Manor, The Hideaway, pantry prepping, preparedness, inventory, spreadsheets, menu planning, home food preservation, Doomsday prepping, stock rotation, first-in first-out