This is an exciting season for my husband. It is hunting season. One of the reasons we moved to Wyoming 3 years ago was for the hunting opportunities. My husband, with the help of our 17 year old (Kiki), makes it his goal each year to fill our chest freezer with antelope and venison. This year we are also hoping to add elk. I suspect a good portion of the meat will be dehydrated to help with the space issue and after learning how to pressure can last year, I may utilize that skill also. The canned antelope that I made (with the help of a friend) was terrific! Yes, canning does decrease some of the nutrients but home canning is something that we are okay with (as a compromise) and helps us reach our goal of a well stocked pantry. So far we have 3 antelope in the freezer, you can see two in the picture with Kiki. The one she is holding is hers, the (smaller) one behind belongs to Joe.
Poultry processing is nearly complete for the season (yippee!). Each summer we raise chickens for the freezer. We’ve processed around 30 chickens so far but have several from a late hatch to do still. We may also cull some of our laying hens before winter. We’ve also processed several ducks (drakes) but have a few left to do. The ducks are Khaki Campbells which are more of a laying bird than eating bird but they do work well for stewing and making spectacular broth.
We recently went through our pantry and took inventory. We order most of our bulk foods from Azure Standard. Our Azure drop is a 2 hour drive one way and we do not drive up during the winter. We put in a large order in August but missed September. Our last order until spring will be in October. Planning ahead for the items we get through Azure Standard is essential! I’ve also been searching for bulk produce that can be preserved for winter. So far I haven’t been successful but there is still time. I am hoping there will be things still available when we put in our Azure order next month.
Keeping a well stocked pantry (the word ‘pantry’ encompasses the freezer and any areas food is stored) is important to us for several reasons.
- Convenience is a main factor. I very much like shopping from my pantry for our meal planning as opposed to driving to down, buying food and then meal planning.
- Purchasing food in bulk is often (not always) a less expensive option. With the cost of food continually on the rise, buying foods that keep well at a lower price just makes economical sense.
- Living around 25 minutes from town keeping a well stocked pantry helps to eliminate the need to drive in just to be able to cook dinner. And with the weather we get sometimes driving in isn’t the easiest thing.
- Also, I do admit, that my well stocked pantry does cross-over a bit to food storage. In my mind it is a fine line between a well stocked pantry and food storage. Of course, discussing a well stocked pantry seems more acceptable. Mentioning food storage causes people to look at you like you are wearing a tin-foil hat.
Taking inventory late summer and restocking as needed works very well for my family. Because of the hunting and our home grown chickens we make a point of emptying out the freezer each summer so we can restock it. Taking pantry inventory at that time just seems natural. A few things we’ll be restocking in the coming weeks include baking supplies. We are low on sweeteners, baking cocoa, coconut oil and a few other items. My hope is to purchase enough in bulk to carry us through until next fall.
Need some inspiration to stock your own pantry?
8 Ways to Increase Your Food Storage- Real Food Style
7 More Ways to Increase Your Food Storage- Real Food Style
My GNOWFGLINS Pantry List from Wardee at GNOWFGLINS
The Basic Pantry List from Retro Momma, Vintage Wife
I should also note that we do plan for these extra bulk buys at this time of year. Buying so much at one time can be hard on the budget. A few months ago we started setting a little extra aside to accommodate for the increase. Even so, we will probably dip into our savings a little bit to buy everything. This is okay for us since having food on hand is somewhat like having ‘money in the bank’. We feel with our well stocked pantry that we could go several months spending very little on food if necessary. Even so, a little ‘belt tightening’ will probably still be necessary until the pantry is restocked and the savings account is replenished.
Do you have a system for keeping your pantry stocked? Please share!