Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Pantry Challenge #22 ... 2014

We're in kind of a lull right now, waiting for the garden to start producing, but I did get a few things done ...

My to-do list from last time:

Harvest the last of the elderberries and dehydrate them.  Done!   This finishes up all the elderberries from my bushes for this year.

In Addition ….

I harvested and dehydrated nettles, lemon balm and plantain.  I added 1 quart of lemon balm, 1 pint of nettles and 1 pint of plantain to my pantry … then I used the plantain to start a plantain tincture for the medicinal part of my pantry.

The rosemary that I planted week before last is coming up.  I’ll be glad when it gets big enough to start harvesting as well.  The more I can grow ... the less I need to purchase ... the more I have to spend on things I can’t grow.  Works for me!

I found bacon ends and pieces for $1.66/lb and purchased 6 lbs.  I brought it home, cut it into pieces and canned it.  I added 9 pints to my pantry.  This will be great to go in beans, casseroles, used for seasoning, etc.

I cut the biggest leaves off my aloe plant (10 pieces that were 2 – 3 inches wide) and harvested the gel from them.  I added 1 quart of aloe Vera gel to my pantry.  This will be used medicinally, topically and in salves.  Here's where I found info on how to preserve fresh aloe vera gel ... http://www.aloeplant.info/harvest-fresh-aloe-gel/

We found pork chops marked down and chicken breast marked down at the same store where we purchased the bacon.  We purchased two packages of the pork chops, cooked one for supper and the other one was vacuum sealed and frozen  … the package of chicken breast was divided, one portion was cooked for a meal and the other vacuum sealed and frozen.

I had a surplus of onions that I needed to do something with so I sliced some of them to about 1/8 inch thickness and dehydrated them.  I put the ‘onion rings’ in a jar and added them to my pantry.  When I get ready to use them I’ll grind them up, sift out the chunks for minced onions and use the remaining onion powder as needed.

Here’s my to-do list for this week:

No assignments this week … we’re going to ‘free-style’ it and see what I come up with!

I’ve added a new pantry tip, go check it out HERE.

You can read what’s happening in my garden HERE.

Now it’s your turn, what pantry related things have you done since we last talked?

patsi
A Working Pantry

 
Don’t forget to check out my Pinterest page.  
 


This post linked to Homestead Barn Hop

Monday, August 4, 2014

Pantry Challenge #21 ... 2014

Did you see the article I wrote titled “A Pantry for Everything?”  My pantry is made up of more than food and you can read about it HERE. 

If I were to give a theme to this week’s pantry challenge it would be ‘don’t waste the small amounts’ … to see what I mean, read on …

My to-do list from last time:

Continue dehydrating potatoesDone!   Since potatoes are so high in carbs, we’ve pretty much eliminated them from our diet, but I did want to chop and dehydrate a few jars of them to go in soups this winter.  (I shared about our low-carb lifestyle here.)
Make turmeric capsules … Done! 
Make vitamin capsules … Done!  I don’t know how many turmeric capsules or vitamin capsules I made because I didn’t count them.
It sure does feel good to be able to typeDone!’ on each of these as they’ve been on my to-do list several weeks.

In Addition ….
Walgreens had their milk on sale for $2.99/gallon last week and I purchased 6 gallons.  I used one gallon to make kefir milk and removed 1 cup of milk from the remaining gallons and froze them.   The only thing we use milk for is making kefir or if we’re cooking/baking for someone else so these remaining 5 gallons of milk in the freezer should last us 4-5 months or until we can find another good sale!
While I was at Walgreens, I purchased more (see Pantry Challenge #20) of their in-add coupon sale items:  3 jars green olives, 4 cans tomato sauce and 3 cans of tuna. 
I sliced and dehydrated garlic cloves that were getting old.  For now I’ll vacuum seal them in a pint jar and then later grind them into powder or minced garlic as needed.
Someone gave us a cantaloupe … we ate part of it and I pureed the rest and made cantaloupe cubes to go in future smoothies.  I added 70 cantaloupe cubes to the freezer part of my pantry.
The same family that gave us a plastic grocery bag of okra last week gave us another one this week.  I washed it all up, sliced it and froze 4 packages to add to the freezer part of my pantry.  We are blessed to be a part of a network of friends that share their garden surplus/bounty with each other.
I saved the ‘grease’ from a pan of hog jowl/thick bacon that I cooked, let it cool, strained it and added it to the freezer part of my pantry.  We’ll use it for seasoning purposes.
I found a food chopper, like my handy dandy food chopper that I broke/wore out, on sale at Aldi’s for $9.99 and purchased another one.  This is one of my most favorite kitchen tools because it makes prepping for dehydrating foods so much easier!
I ordered stevia seeds to plant.  My stevia plant didn’t survive our unusually cold winter so I have to start over.   Stevia is the main sweetener that I use and growing my own will cut down on the amount I need to purchase.

Here’s my to-do list for this week:
Harvest the last of the elderberries and dehydrate them.

I’ve added a new pantry tip, go check it out HERE and let me know what you think?

Now it’s your turn, what pantry related things have you done since we last talked?

patsi
A Working Pantry 

Don’t forget to check out my Pinterest page. 

 


This post linked to:  Homestead Barn Hop; Hearth and Soul Hop

Thursday, July 31, 2014

A Pantry for Everything!

I shared with you in this post my definition of 'my pantry' and I also alluded to the fact that my pantry included much more than just food.  In this post I thought I would continue the thought and share with you some of the  'divisions/categories'  of my pantry so you could get a better understanding of what I was talking about.

Below are some of the parts/categories/divisions of my pantry and what falls under each.

Food ... this is the most obvious and what most people think of when they hear the word pantry.  This includes home-canned food, frozen foods, dehydrated foods, bulk purchased foods, and food purchased from a grocery store.

Medicinal ... herbal remedies, prescriptions and first aid supplies.

Toiletries ...  shampoo, hair conditioner, deodorant, razors, make-up, personal hygiene items, etc.

Stationary ...  writing paper, thank-you notes, spiral notebooks, composition notebooks, post-it notes, pens, pencils, markers, etc.  I try to shop for these things once a year during the back to school sales.

Cleaning ...  since I make most of our cleaning supplies, including laundry detergent, this category includes ingredients to make those cleaning supplies as well as the few 'cleaning' items I do purchase.

Fabric ... I buy almost all of my fabric when it's on sale or when I have a 40 - 50% off coupon whether I need it or not at the time and bring it home and add it to my stash.  When I want or need to sew something I shop in my stash.  I also include buttons, zippers, etc that I have removed from worn out or badly stained clothing as well as fabric cut from outgrown clothing that still has lots of wear.

Paper Products ...  paper towels, toilet paper, aluminum foil, wax paper, cling wrap, etc.

Emergency Lighting ... oil lamps, lamp oil, candles, batteries, etc.

Food Preservation ... freezer bags, vacuum sealer bags, canning lids, etc.

What do you consider 'your pantry?'  Does your pantry have 'divisions/categories' or is it only food?  If your pantry contains 'divisions/categories' what 'divisions/categories' do you have?

Let's talk ... please share in the comments below about your pantry ...

patsi
A Working Pantry

Don’t forget to check out my Pinterest page. 
 



This post linked to:  Front Porch Friday; From the Farm; Fridays Unfolded; Homestead Barn Hop

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Pantry Challenge #20 ... 2014

Before you read this edition of Pantry Challenge you need to be reminded of what MY definition of MY pantry is … all things needed to keep my home running smoothly ready and available for use when needed … not just food items.

Okay, let's get started ...

My to-do list from last time:

Continue dehydrating potatoes … this is going to be ongoing for a while
Make turmeric capsules … didn’t happen, it was suppose too … I had set aside some time to get this project done, but life happened.
Make vitamin capsules … didn’t happen, it was suppose too … I had set aside some time to get this project done, but life happened.

In Addition ….
Week before last Aldi’s had their avocadoes on sale for $.69/each and I bought a dozen of them.  Of course, they were green so I brought them home to let them ripen.  They were ready this week so I made enough guacamole for a meal and then added 4 containers of guacamole to the freezer part of my pantry.
Someone gave us a plastic grocery bag of okra and I washed and cup up enough to add 4 packages to the freezer part of my pantry plus left out enough for a meal.
I harvested and dried elderberries this week.  This is the second year for our elderberry bushes, there’s not a lot of berries but everything I can grow means that much less I need to purchase.
I stopped in at Walgreens while in town this week and picked up 2 jars of green olives ($.89 each), 2 cans of tomato sauce (2/$1) and 2 cans of tuna ($.89 each) using their in-ad coupons.
I received my order from Bulk Herbs containing the hawthorn berries I had ordered.  I started a tincture that should be ready in about 4 weeks.
I added more lemon zest to the lemon extract I’m making.  We’re enjoying freshly squeezed lemon juice in our tea and are zesting the lemons before squeezing them.  Waste not, want not!
In the stationary portion of my pantry I added 8 spiral notebooks, on sale for $.25 each, and 4 composition notebooks, on sale for $.50 each.  These, along with what I have on hand should be enough to last until school supplies go on sale again next summer.
I cleaned out a flower pot and planted rosemary seeds.  I had a nice big rosemary plant that I had been able to keep going for several years but the colder than normal temperatures of last winter did it in, so I had to start over.  I use rosemary in quite a few things so growing my own saves money.

Here’s my to-do list for this week:

Continue dehydrating potatoes
Make turmeric capsules
Make vitamin capsules
 
I’ve added a new pantry tip to the Pantry Tips page, go check it out HERE.

Now it’s your turn, what pantry related things have you done since we last talked?

patsi
A Working Pantry

Don’t forget to check out my Pinterest page. 



This post linked to:  Front Porch Friday

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Pantry Challenge #19 ... 2014

If you’ve been following along with my 100 Items Challenge this month … I . DID . IT!  Go take a peek HERE!

My to-do list from last time:
Continue to preserve peaches.  Job Completed!  I added 180 more peach puree cubes to my freezer!  That’s all of our peaches from our trees for this year.
Dehydrate potatoes.   I finally got started dehydrating them!  Thus far I have added 2  pints of cubed, dehydrated potatoes to my pantry.
Can maple syrup.  I . GOT . IT . DONE!!!!  Can you believe it?????  How lonnnnnnnng has this been on my to-do list …. too long!  Sometimes it takes a little longer than we would like to get a job done, but if we preserve, we will get it done!
Order hawthorn berries to make hawthorn tincture.  There are several herbs I need to order so maybe this will actually get done this week!  I got this DONE too! 
Make turmeric capsulesDidn’t get done!
Make vitamin capsules  Didn’t get done! 

In Addition ….
We found slab bacon in 10 lb boxes on sale for $19.99 at Save-A-Lot.  This made it $1.99/lb.  The bacon was sliced nicely and wasn’t chopped up into ends and pieces.  We were thrilled and purchased 2 boxes.  We brought it home and divided it up into equal parts and froze it.  I added eight 2.5 lb size packages to the freezer part of my pantry.
I also found extra virgin olive oil on sale for $5.49 per 34 fl oz bottles.  We purchased 2 and added them to our pantry.
Someone gave us a GINORMOUS zucchini …  it was over a foot long … I shredded it up, packaged it into 1 cup baggies then vacuum sealed 8 packages of 2 cups each and added them to the freezer part of my pantry.  We'll use these when making squash patties or in baked goods.

Here’s my to-do list for this week:
Continue dehydrating potatoes
Make turmeric capsules

Make vitamin capsules

That’s what I’ve done, how about you?  What have you added to your pantry since we last talked?

patsi
A Working Pantry

 
Don’t forget to check out my Pinterest page. 

 


This post linked to:  The Homestead Barn Hop

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Dehydrating Potatoes!

We finally got our potatoes dug and now it's time to get started preserving them.  We don't have a basement or root cellar and the heat and humidity are so bad here that they will rot if you just let them sit.  What to do???  In the past years we've canned them and dehydrated them.  I've read of others making potato flakes and turning them into powder.  Still others cut them into French fry pieces and freeze them.  How do you preserve your potato crop?

I've been asked several times about dehydrating potatoes so that's what I'm going to share with you today ...

 First, I peel the potatoes and slice them in approximately 1/4 thickness. 

As I slice them I immediately put them in water to keep them from turning brown.
 Then onto the food chopper they go one at a time to be chopped.
 The chopper container is filling up!
Next, I put them in a pan on the stove and bring them to a boil for 3 minutes.
 Drain them ...

Run cold water over them ...
Then load them onto the dehydrator and dehydrate them at 115 until they are dehydrated.

I don't like to dehydrate things at a high temperature as I feel it destroys some of the nutritional value.
The end result ....  This half pint jar of dehydrated potatoes is about 8 potatoes.  I've got lots more potatoes to do and as I fill up each pint jar I'll vacuum seal it.  You can also oven-can these if you don't have a vacuum sealer.

We'll use our dehydrated potatoes in soups this winter.  You can also use them in stews, casseroles, etc.

If you'd rather dehydrate potato slices just use a food processor or some other method to slice the potatoes thin and follow the same instructions.  Dehydrated sliced potatoes make good scalloped potatoes.


patsi
A Working Pantry


Don’t forget to check out my Pinterest page.