More than ever, I believe that everyone should have some level of food storage in their home. What that consists of and how much that is will be different for everyone. Join me as a give you a quick tour of what your food storage could look like.
After that last post on why I preserve food every year, I had a lot of you wanting to know what I have in my canning pantry/freezer/food storage.
So, just for y’all, I went through my pantry/freezer/food storage inventories and compiled a list of things I currently have in my home.
But before we delve into that, let’s just talk about food storage for a minute.
Ideal Food Storage
In a perfect world, all of us would have a lovely root cellar with a dirt floor and walls of stone, lined with row upon row of wooden shelves filled with colorful jars of preserves.
There would be baskets of root vegetables and herbs, rounds of waxed cheeses, braids of onions and garlic, and hams hanging from nails in the old oak ceiling beams.
Can you tell I’m something of a romantic?
But for most of us, the reality is not nearly that picturesque…
Most of us just want a canning storage area with enough room for some jars that’s out of direct sunlight.
Some people have storage space in their basements that have a consistent room temperature that’s just right for canned goods.
Other’s have pantry shelves full of the fruits of their home canning endeavors.
And some of us stash boxes of full canning jars under beds and in closets.
My pressure canner, my waterbath canners, my empty jars and new lids, and my cheese presses have their home in the garage.
In the garage I also keep most of my bulk grains. And while the high temperatures we get here are not ideal for storing a lot of things, the grains and salt are not going to spoil out there.
So, while I keep dreaming about my perfect root cellar (that has a round, blue, hobbit door), a girls’ gotta do what a girl’s gotta do. So I just keep finding more places to put stuff!
OK. On to what I have in storage.
My Food Storage
My food storage consists of canned goods, dehydrated goods, cheese and dairy products (some cheeses have to age for several months), fermented food and drinks, smoked and cured meats, homemade pantry staples, frozen foods, and dry bulk items.
Keep in mind that some of these pantry items I only have 2 or 3 jars of and some are still left from last year.
And the preserving and dehydrating was not all done at once either, but spread out over the growing season for fruits and veggies and over the winter for the meats and broths.
- Whole tomatoes
- Tomato Sauce
- Tomato Soup
- Pizza Sauce
- Diced Tomatoes
- Enchilada Sauce
- Whole Kernel Corn
- Creamed Corn
- Green Beans
- Purple Hull Peas
- Mixed Vegetables
- Black Beans
- Pinto Beans
- Pork ‘n’ Beans
- Chicken Bone Broth
- Chicken Breasts
- Chicken Chunks, with broth and without
- Beef Bone Broth
- Italian Meatballs
- Ground Beef & Venison
- Fruit Cocktail
- Spiced Plums
- Apple Pie Filling
- Apple Jelly
- Blackberry Jelly
- Cherry Jam
- Strawberry Jam
- Spiced Tomato Preserves
- Apricot Jam
- Blueberry Jam
- Sloppy Joe Sauce
- Cocktail Sauce
- Beef and Veggie Soup
- Chicken Soup
- Pickled Asparagus
- Pumpkin Chunks
- Ro-tel Style Tomatoes
- Hatch Chilies
- Cherry Pie Filling
- Marinara Sauce
- Pineapple Chunks
- Chicken and Beef Bouillon (from my bone broths)
- Cherries – both sweet and sour
- Tomatoes – both in slices and dried skins made into powder
- Apples – slices for snacks and chunks for oatmeal and muffins
- Soaked and dehydrated nuts
- Instant Rice
- Minced Onions
- Onion Powder
- Garlic Salt
- Garlic Powder
- Minced Garlic
- Corn – for milling into cornmeal
- Sliced Potatoes
- Hash brown potatoes
Homemade Pantry Staples:
- Vanilla extract
- Peppermint extract
- Baking mix
- Taco Seasoning Mix
- Italian Salad Dressing Mix
- Ranch Dressing Mix
- Onion Soup Mix
- Lemon Pepper
- Season Salt
- Chive Vinegar
- Apple Scrap Vinegar
Homemade Cheese and Dairy:
- Cream Cheese
- Sour Cream
- Queso Fresco
- Cheddar Cheese
- Monterey Jack Cheese
- Colby Cheese
- Mozzarella Cheese
- Feta Cheese
- Pepper Jack Cheese
- Ricotta Cheese
Dry Bulk Food Storage:
- Rice – brown and white
- Pinto Beans
- Black Beans
- Wheat Berries, both red and white
- Oat Groats
- Dehydrated Sugar Cane Juice
- Sea Salt
Frozen Food Storage:
- Ground venison, elk, bison, and beef, waiting to be canned or made into sausage
- Venison, elk, and beef roasts
- Whole Chickens
- Whole turkey
- Beef and chicken bones for making Bone Broth
- Some fruit and veggies that I haven’t gotten around to processing yet
- A variety of flours – freezing keeps them fresh
- Leftover beans, soups, and stews
- Sourdough Flour tortillas
- Homemade Sourdough Pizza Crusts in different sizes
- Various breads, cakes, and cookies for gifting
- Homemade meat pies ready for the oven
- Homemade fruit pies, also ready for the oven
- Several pints of homemade ricotta cheese
- Homemade mozzarella
- Cut up lemons for water and tea
- Venison Summer Sausage
- Spicy Deer Sticks
- Sour Dill Pickles
- Green Olives
- Apple Scrap Vinegar
- Preserved Lemons
- Dilly Beans
- Apple Cherry Chutney
- Fire Cider
- Water Kefir
- Various Shrubs
Again, please remember a lot of the ferments are going on at the same time, but there is a lot of waiting with ferments.
The olives have been going for 9 months in a bucket in the closet and will continue for another 2 to 3 months before they are ready to eat.
The kraut is only 2 weeks old, but needs another 2 to 5 for the best probiotic count.
The scrap vinegar is about ready to strain and bottle.
The pickles needed a few weeks before they were ready. I did a whole gallon last summer because I love dill pickles.
The sourdough I use several times a week and the water kefir I make about every 2 weeks.
A Note on Cheese and Dairy
I make cheese every week when I get my milk, but the other dairy stuff I make when we’re out. The hard cheeses are waxed and take anywhere from 3 to 6 months to age.
I usually do a different cheese every week depending on what I think we need at the time.
The Feta will probably last us for 6 to 8 months (it can stay fresh in a jar of olive oil for a really long time). We use it sparingly.
We use lots of cheddar so I try to make at least one 2-pound wheel every month. (The cheddar ages for 6 months for a good sharp taste and about 4 for medium in my fridge.)
We also use a lot of mozzarella (can I get an amen for Pizza Night?), and I make that 3 pounds at a time every 2 or 3 months depending on the supply.
The others I make whenever I feel like making them. It’s very flow-ey. Some take more time than others and I do what I have time for.
Some weeks all the dairy goes to butter, buttermilk and yogurt. I do what works for me. And that’s what I encourage everyone else to do as well.
The Food Storage Journey
This food thing is a journey and I didn’t start out doing all of these things at one time. That would have been way too overwhelming.
I started making bread and jams and jellies and water-bath canning with Mom when I was a kid.
Pressure canning started the year after I got married, when I had my first BIG garden.
I started playing with sourdough about 2004. The water kefir about a year after that, and the dairy and dehydrating about a year later.
Other ferments I started playing with around 2007. And somewhere in there, I learned to make and smoke my own sausages.
You just fit new things into your routines as you go. I’m always playing with something new.
So, pick one thing you want to learn and jump in!
Where do you want to start?