Self-Reliance in the Pantry – Part One

In one of last week’s posts, The Intertwining Systems, we saw how precarious our food system really is. I showed you just some of the points of failure and how if just one of the many systems that prop up our food system were to fail, it could fall apart.

Pantry - Canned foods
This pantry needs to grow!

So what are some things we can do about it?

For one, we can start storing our own food. I’m not talking about going out and buying 120 cases of military MREs (Meals Ready to Eat). I mean buying a little extra of what you already use on a regular basis. Just a little at a time. If your family likes canned clam chowder, the next time you buy a can, buy two instead. When you use that first can, buy not one but two again. Now you have three, one replaced the used one and two more in the back of your pantry. By the time you’ve eaten and replaced your 5th chowder, you have five more in store. Just keep going like this and in no time you will have quite a bit of reserve on your shelves. This is called Copy Canning. I first heard about Copy Canning from Jack Spirko from The Survival Podcast. If you have not heard his podcast, I highly recommend you look into it. And I believe he heard about it through Karen Hood, the wife of the late Ron Hood of Survival.com. I think it’s a great idea! It’s a low investment and you can stretch it out over time and before you know it, you can have dozens each of everything you already eat. Note that when I say “cans,” I don’t only mean canned foods. I mean anything that is storable for some time; boxed foods, bagged foods, etc., are great.

After you do that for a while, you won’t have to buy something when you really it. You already have it. You can now wait until it’s on sale, taking advantage of opportunity buys. You also won’t have to run out to the store because you just found that you’re out of something you need for dinner. You already have extras because now you’re running deep pantry.

Rotating your food stores

Canned foodStore what you eat and eat what you store. Those are words to live by. Well, at least concerning a deep pantry and food stores. While you are storing away more and more food, it makes sense to rotate it through as a store would. When you bring home 6 extra cans of this or that, it goes to the back of your pantry. say they’re 6 more cans of kidney beans. They would go behind the kidney beans already in your pantry because they are the newest cans and you bring the older to the front so they get used first. If you stay on top of this and use what you’re storing, you never really have to worry about expiration dates. You’re constantly rotating food through so most things won’t ever see their expiration date come.

Also, here’s a quick tip that my dad told me about a while ago. Keep a small pad of paper near your pantry or 2nd pantry, however you’re set up. Every time you take a can or box of something, jot it down on the paper. And then the next time you go to the grocery store, tear that piece of paper off and take it with you and get those items along with your regular grocery items. Great idea, huh? And of course, Copy Can what you can from that list to keep you pantry growing.

So there are some ideas to get you going. And you aren’t really out any more money than you normally would be. You would be buying that stuff anyway. In fact, you’ll be saving money because you are now buying things when the price is right, not just when you really need something and paying full price. This is called Capital Deferral – buying what you know you’ll need in the future, but doing so at today’s prices. It’s just smart business and yes, your home is a business. Or it should run as one anyway.

I think in our next topic I’ll get into some long-term storage ideas.

Until then,

Stay free.

Comments, ideas or thoughts? Let us know!

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