Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Stocking the Pantry

One of the things I find very helpful in keeping our household orderly (along with menu planning) is to have a well-stocked pantry.  I always like to have jars full of staples on hand - beans, rice, oats, lentils, etc.
Recently I had the opportunity to get some of these staples from a buying club and was pleased to be able to really stock up and get buckets of some things (organic coconut oil and natural peanut butter), big paper bags of other things (french lentils, rolled oats, beans) as well as essential oils, coconut milk and more - all this without having to go to a grocery store.
(even though we've eaten loads of legumes for years this is the first time we've tried French lentils - they're our new favourite)

So along with our cold-room full of preserves and stored veg. we also have a full pantry which means very few trips to the grocery store for us.  This is such a time saver and...frankly, a sanity saver because I find big grocery stores - with their vast array of choices - to be pretty overwhelming and time-consuming places.  Stocking up on all the essentials now means more time outside in the garden in the coming months. 
Stocking up also usually leads to a cooking day when dry pinto beans are turned into jars of re-fried beans and put in the freezer for future use. 
(the boys love to have re-fried beans on hand so they can use them on corn tortillas with our salsa for their lunch)

Rolled oats are made into big jars of granola.  And lentils are made into a favourite - lentil casserole (which we now like even more with French lentils instead of brown lentils).


daisy g said...

Aren't those jars just gorgeous!!
What??? No refried bean recipe?

P-L-E-A-S-E??? ;0)

cargillwitch said...

I love a well stocked larder- makes me feel prepared and ready for anything!
I ran an organic food co-op/buying club for 10 years when my children were very young. I loved having the large transport pull up and bring in skids of 12kg bags of beans, cornmeal and pails of almond butter. The kids helped me sort the large skids into individual family orders. We then did all the math to invoice each family and arranged for pick up. It was a all day affair once a month. It was a huge part of their homeschooling day and as we were the hosting family ( and did all the work of co-lating, sorting and invoicing/banking) we added 8 percent to each order. that 8% came off our own purchase so it kept food costs down for our family. Even though I passed the torch on to a dear friend after I started to work full time I still order nearly every month- it is always a thrill to get my order!
( we ordered through the Ontario Natural Foods Co-op one of the largest food co-operatives in North America!)

Cait said...

I hope to have a pantry like that in our home, one day. It is certainly included in the "dream house" at the moment at least!

Calico Hen said...

You have a lovely pantry! I belong to a buying club also and am so pleased with the variety and the savings. My most recent find was sweet brown rice--great for stir fry and for rice pudding. One of our members also sells local honey on the pick up day:)

Heather said...

Hi Daisy,

I don't really have a recipe that I follow but I'm happy to give you an idea of what I do.

Once the pinto beans are soaked overnight (then water poured off and clean water added then cook) and almost cooked I add a cube of bouillon to the pot and let them simmer more. Once soft I put in a bit of tomato (fresh in the summer or frozen in the winter or you could use a spoon of tomato paste). I like to add some sauteed onion and garlic (or you could use powder) while it is simmering and some salt and pepper. Then some cumin and oregano. Then I mash them up a bit. That's about it. I freeze them in the pint jars (2 cups worth). The boys eat them spread onto corn tortillas which they fry on the cast iron skillet with a little cheese grated on top of each. Then they eat them with our salsa on top. Makes for a great lunch.

Unknown said...

Where do you buy your bulk items from? I live in Miami and am looking to stock up for on more for less... and then just go to farmers markets for veggies (my favorite place to shop)! Any tips for buying in bulk, outside of the typical Sams/Costco would be appreciated. Thanks!

Heather said...

I'm afraid this won't be much help since I'm in Canada and you're in the States but these are the places I buy in bulk.

But I'm sure there are similar places near you - so many areas are starting up buying clubs/co-ops.