Summer Pantry Challenge - Stock up, Use it Up, Preserve It to Save Money - Mothering Forums

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Old 05-18-2009, 12:23 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Here's the place for anyone wanting to maximize the use of their pantry and stored foods. You can organize your pantry, focus on using up what you have, avoid the grocery stores complete, or stock up your pantry.

To quote Amys1st from the January thread:
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Some people do it to use things up and only shop for things like dairy etc. Others use it to supplement their normal eating habits. Do what you want and help everyone else. This works great for the no spend mamas as a supplement their challenges!
So, let's get together and share ideas.

Bridget. Momma to DD (4), expecting DS - 9/09, wife to SAHD. Gardener, coffee addict, urban dweller.
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Old 05-18-2009, 10:55 AM
 
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subbing.....

"The true joy of life is the trip. The station is only a dream. It constantly out distances us."
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Old 05-18-2009, 11:07 AM
 
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The last challenge was great for me so I am in. I am down to about half what I had and keeping the grocery budget in line.

Anyone know what I can do with a lb of uncased raw chorizo sausage? I was thinking it would be good freid with onions and peppers and cooked with some red beans for red beans and rice but I don't know. I stuck it in the freezer and need to use it.

Jennifer
Valrico, FL
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Old 05-18-2009, 11:49 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Anyone know what I can do with a lb of uncased raw chorizo sausage?
Another use I commonly see is a kale, chorizo, and bean/pasta dish. If that combo sounds good, I would google for recipes. Sometimes this is done as a soup, other times not. I imagine it would work well with spinach too.

My personal goal is ONCE AGAIN, to make headway in the freezer. We have been doing okay, considering I am not the main cook. DH likes to cook what he wants to cook, and I am not going to stop him.

So I am trying to inject the freezer items where I can. I am planning to make more squash muffins tonight, maybe throw in some oatmeal in one batch and do chocolate chips again. I got some bacon out of the freezer, I'll either just have that with breakfast tomorrow, find a crockpot recipe, or maybe do grilled cheese and bacon sandwiches.

After an event on Friday, I managed to score about 2.5 dozen Panera bagels and a couple quarts of Starbucks coffee. So we are eating a lot of bagels for for breakfast and snacks, and I am freezing the coffee in cubes for icy coffee mochas. I also got opened but barely used 40 oz containers peanut butter and jelly. I had mixed feelings about stuffing more stuff in the freezer, but we are trying to save money. It's hard to pass up free!

Bridget. Momma to DD (4), expecting DS - 9/09, wife to SAHD. Gardener, coffee addict, urban dweller.
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Old 05-18-2009, 11:54 AM
 
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For me, this season is going to be focusing mainly on putting up the excess from my garden. I do can throughout the year anyway, but the summer is always the busiest of canning seasons. Getting my garden going and working on getting firewood for the winter has been our focus these last few weeks, which is why I haven't been here much.

So far I have canned 51 half-pints of strawberry jam, 11 half-pints of blackberry jam, and to free up some freezer space, I canned 3 quarts of chili and 14 pints of hamburger last week.

I'm always quite excited at the beginning and sick of it by the time October gets here.

My goal is that I will not have to buy any canned or frozen vegetables this winter and that I will be able to go until February before I have to buy onions. Potatoes and carrots I will still have to buy.

My dd is 7 now and she is being a big help preparing the foods and equipment(but I still won't let her near the pressure canner when I'm doing the actual canning - paranoid ).
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Old 05-18-2009, 12:30 PM
 
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This is the "change of season, change of eating habits" time of year again. We will use the grill 5-6 times weekly instead of the once/twice a week we average all year. Yes, we grill stuff even in the 30 below days of winter.

One thing I need to do right now, is eat out the fridge. Since its grilling/party season, a lot of the condiments etc will be on sale so its time to stock up over the next few weeks. We wont have too many feed the freezer meals but I will make a few.

We have been donating $ to the local pantrys and food depositories since they all need it. I have noticed it makes an abundance for us too.

"The true joy of life is the trip. The station is only a dream. It constantly out distances us."
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Old 05-18-2009, 01:40 PM
 
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I'm so in! I need to finish off what's in my freezers now so I can restock with summer stuff. And dh's itching to go hunting this fall so I need to make room for that.

I'll have to inventory what I've got again and post the list.
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Old 05-18-2009, 02:38 PM
 
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Hi there! Joining for this month!

I have a very well stocked pantry and a freezer full of meat. We get eggs and veggies once a week from our CSA. Our garden is mostly in and will start producing in late June, so hopefully between the garden and the CSA we should have plenty to can/freeze/dehydrate We need to eat up some of the beef in the freezer as we are getting our yearly bulk order in July, so I will be trying to think of summery recipes to use that up.


My goal for next week is to only spend $30 at the store and only buy important things that we have run out of, rather than stocking up again. I'm hoping to make some more labor intensive items that use up our pantry staples. I'm really hoping to put the money away that would have been spent on groceries towards some new blueberry bushes for our yard

~Rebecca~
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Old 05-19-2009, 10:59 AM
 
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I am doing an inventory of the fridge and I have an abudncance of onions red and yellow!

Should I make:

french onion soup
chopped up all onions and freeze for later use
all of the above
none of the above and do this: (put your suggestion here)

Also, I have noticed my 3 yr old not drinking as much milk anymore. Usually 2 gallons a week is our use. This is for DH, and our 2 dds. I do not drink cow milk, I drink soy. I might just go to one gallon a week instead of 2 delivered but since dd will be home this summer from school, it might go back to 2 gallons again.

"The true joy of life is the trip. The station is only a dream. It constantly out distances us."
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Old 05-19-2009, 11:16 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I didn't get to make the squash muffins last night, but hopefully we can do that tonight.

During breakfast, I picked out about 5 crockpot recipes that I think we have everything for. I'd like to use up some of the white beans, black beans and dal that I have had on hand for a long time.

And last night, DD and I picked some chive flowers and chives, chopped them up, and mixed them into cream cheese. I wish there had been more flowers - more purple color would be cool. I used about 5 flowers and 4 chives for slightly less than 1/2 package of cream cheese. Next time I may go heavier on the flowers - a little more flavor and a more dramatic effect. As a bonus, we are using them on our scavenged pleathora of bagels.

Bridget. Momma to DD (4), expecting DS - 9/09, wife to SAHD. Gardener, coffee addict, urban dweller.
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Old 05-19-2009, 01:59 PM
 
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I need to buy a canner. Like, today.

As far as chorizo goes we just do the traditional eggs and chorizo, beans and chorizo, potatoes and chorizo all for breakfast. That's pretty much all we Mexican's do with it in these parts, we don't do fancy foods.

I need to drop by a roadside fruit stand and pick up some cherries. I saw about four stands on my way to dinner the other night and they all had buckets of sweet, dark red cherries. Yum. Oh, watermelon too. And corn. Gah, I love living here.

I need to bake like a mofo but it's already hitting 90 degrees here so....no.
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Old 05-20-2009, 11:31 AM
 
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Well, so far on track. I am about to go pull some chicken from the freezer to make for dinner. I am right now pretty right on my budget for the week, with what I need to go get tomorrow for a BBQ. I feel pretty good about that. I actually was getting all giddy at the grocery store (where is that bag on the head emoticon). Pathetic but still... I was a grocery rock star for about 10 minutes there.

Thanks for the chorizo ideas. I am going to use it next week for sure... it's bugging me every time I see it.

I am tempted to just box up the foods I won't use and donate them to a food pantry in my actual pantry. I have so many box cake mixes and we really don't eat much cake at all.

Jennifer
Valrico, FL
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Old 05-20-2009, 12:38 PM
 
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Subbing for ideas. I don't know what my actual goal is right now, but Iknow we need to...
Cut down on grocery spendage
Use what we actually have (meat in the freezer, eggs and milk from the farm each week, some grains/beans/lots of canned tomatoes)
Really focus on putting away the harvest this summer. This is the first year since living in TX that mom and I put in a really good garden and we hope to put away lots of frozen and dried produce and herbs.

Shelley, mom to dd 5/19/01, ds 9/06/02, and ds 4/01/07.  Lost babe 4/09

belly.gifDue 12/18/12!

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Old 05-20-2009, 03:00 PM
 
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I need to go thru some of my food and just use it. LAst week I had trips to costco, aldi, plus the grocery so we are pretty set. Also with this upcoming holiday weekend, I should use up some things since I will bring a salad or pasta salad plus dessert to my ILs party on Monday.

"The true joy of life is the trip. The station is only a dream. It constantly out distances us."
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Old 05-20-2009, 03:13 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Magpie1972 View Post
The last challenge was great for me so I am in. I am down to about half what I had and keeping the grocery budget in line.

Anyone know what I can do with a lb of uncased raw chorizo sausage? I was thinking it would be good freid with onions and peppers and cooked with some red beans for red beans and rice but I don't know. I stuck it in the freezer and need to use it.
As a pp mentioned, chorizo is great for breakfast with eggs, potatoes, cheese, tortillas, etc. Or in a quiche. Yum.
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Old 05-20-2009, 03:25 PM
 
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subbing!

I need to inventory my fridge and try to eat it down...

Your User Agreement here at MDC, read it and make it your friend and read the FAQ to answer all the questions of the (MDC) world.
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Old 05-20-2009, 05:28 PM
 
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Chest freezer:
boneless skinless chicken breasts
ham
pork roast
pork sausage
pork ribs
hamsteak
ham hocks
pork chops
beef roast
hamburger
steak
stew meat
beef ribs
bagels
garlic herb trout filets
turkey
deer sausage

Downstairs freezer:
whole tomatoes
chicken thighs
chicken drumsticks
hamburger buns
popsicles

Upstairs freezer:
boneless trout filets
spicy trout hoagies
salmon cakes
swordfish
ice cream (of course!)
blueberries
raspberries
peaches
peas
green beans
broccoli
cauliflower
stir fry veggie mix
bacon
and a few boxes of junky food

Cupboards:
canned corn
canned green beans
canned mixed veggies
refried beans
canned fruit
rice
tortillas
pasta
tomato sauce

Lots of baking/misc stuff.


I've planned out the rest of May just using things that I've already got and I'll be able to go quite aways into June, hopefully the whole month. I'll have to post my menu later since its at home.

Any ideas on whole frozen tomatoes though? It was part of my experimenting on freezing last summer and now I have no clue what to do with them.
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Old 05-20-2009, 05:48 PM
 
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Like everyone else, I need to inventory and clear out the odds and ends in the freezer to make room for summer produce and fall meats. I want to figure out a routine of having healthier homemade icy treats on hand at all times to break the kids of the "I want a freezie/slurpee/popsicle" habit. So I need room in the freezer for icy juices and frozen fruit.

My home daycare is scaled back by about 50 percent until January, and closed entirely in July and August. Even in Jan, I will be looking after babies who come with their own diet instead of hungry sphagetti-eating preschool boys. This scale-back is a good thing for my family, as dh's income will cover the diff. and I will get to spend more time with my own little guys. HOWEVER, the big pantry challenge will be to not over-prepare or over-purchase.

I do want to bake some muffins and bread to freeze for those hot days when one doesn't want to use the oven, but it is barely 50 degrees F here right now, so hard to imagine heat!

Threw out my broken breadmaker and am enjoying the extra counter space. I am trying to figure out a rotation of knead and no-knead bread recipes and avoid buying a kitchen aid mixer to knead for me. Got some carpal tunnel issues in my wrists that turn up, otherwise I would love to just knead.

Rhubarb is coming up and I want to boil/strain and can the juice of all of it this year. Don't need more rhubarb preserves.

Want to can a TON of no or low sugar strawberry spread. And grow more carrots and green beans to store and freeze this year.

I would like to investigate canning peaches, too. Never done that before.

Our best-for-saucing apple tree is in a down season this year, and the other tree makes smaller apples that I like better for eating. So this year, I won't be doing huge batches of apple sauce or butter. Some of my applesauce from last year got overcooked and the children don't care for it. Wonder if I should open the jars and just cook them down to butter, or just discard them.

Amy1st, French onion soup would be my vote!

Or 'Other" -carmelize the onions and freeze them in small batches for sandwiches and burgers, rice dishes, etc.
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Old 05-20-2009, 06:12 PM
 
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Doing really well eating from our stockpile, not grocery shopping and no snacks while out. I think we are actually eating WAY better right now then when I was going to the store more often. I just now have enough energy again to actually cook 3 meals + snacks a day again, so this challenge is at a good time.

Not going to the store to fufill my pregnancy cravings is proving to be more difficult than I thought though I have been totally addicted to my gluten free toaster waffles and they ran out yesterday. I'm going to try to find time to bake something gluten free today that is safe for the whole family (ds1 cannot tolerate grains except corn). Hopefully that should satisify my craving without needing to buy anything!

~Rebecca~
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Old 05-20-2009, 06:47 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Not going to the store to fufill my pregnancy cravings is proving to be more difficult than I thought though
I am SO WITH YOU on this. Unfortunately my cravings are usually for JUNK. I am loving our okra pickles and habenero jelly though, and we need to use that up.

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Any ideas on whole frozen tomatoes though? It was part of my experimenting on freezing last summer and now I have no clue what to do with them.
I made a marinara sauce in the crockpot with frozen tomatoes. The recipe is from Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker. I'll have to see if I can track it down. I was very simple, and you just put it through the blender/food processor to break the tomatoes down.

Bridget. Momma to DD (4), expecting DS - 9/09, wife to SAHD. Gardener, coffee addict, urban dweller.
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Old 05-20-2009, 07:34 PM
 
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I am SO WITH YOU on this. Unfortunately my cravings are usually for JUNK.
Yes, definitely! I have been eating these processed gluten free toaster waffles daily but they really add up! Not to mention I would rather not eat stuff out of a box. I have a bunch of stuff that I need to eat here anyway. I am actually *really* glad that I was already in the mindset that I was not going grocery shopping until next payday (already picked up fruit and lunch stuff with my $30 for the next 2 weeks). It turns out we don't have any $ left for groceries until next payday anyway after an unexpected expense

~Rebecca~
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Old 05-21-2009, 01:57 AM
 
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The last challenge was great for me so I am in. I am down to about half what I had and keeping the grocery budget in line.

Anyone know what I can do with a lb of uncased raw chorizo sausage? I was thinking it would be good freid with onions and peppers and cooked with some red beans for red beans and rice but I don't know. I stuck it in the freezer and need to use it.
You have described what we call gallo pinto and you can make it with red beans or black beans. We fry the sausage and onions, add the other vegie (peppers or celery or whatever is around), toss in the cooked beans and rice near the end. We season it with some fresh garlic, salt, and cilantro (opt.). We also fry some eggs on the side. Yummy! My DH often eats this for breakfast.

Kris wife to Stew and mom to Joey 8/03 who cares for , 2 frogs and a worm
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Old 05-21-2009, 02:04 AM
 
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I'm in! I love pantry challenges. I need to redo the inventory this weekend while DH and DS are out of town. We are still eating meals I prepared ahead of time and froze in April. But I have a lot of misc. in the upstairs freezer that I lose track of. And for some reason my pantry cupboard is always overflowing but I feel like there is nothing to eat in it.

Kris wife to Stew and mom to Joey 8/03 who cares for , 2 frogs and a worm
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Old 05-21-2009, 11:34 AM
 
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Any ideas on whole frozen tomatoes though? It was part of my experimenting on freezing last summer and now I have no clue what to do with them.
Amy to the rescue!!!...Get a larger stock pot. Pour olive oil in the bottom and put on a lower heat. Chop or grind up a few onions and garlic and brown a bit.

Take the defrosted tomato and grind up OR just dump it frozen and whole in the pot and let the heat defrost it and mix with the onion/garlic oil mixture. When defrosted and simmering, add fresh chopped up basil or dried basil, oregano, salt pepper and a tablespoon of sugar.

I usually take my hand blender and grind up the tomato at this point but you can grind it up before hand. Simmer for 1-2 hours.
Presto, you have homemade sauce!

Serve hot with whatever, but taste it to see what you need to add. If acid tasting add a bit of sugar.
Once you cool it down, you can fridge it up to 5 days, freeze it into portions whatever. YUM!!!

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Old 05-21-2009, 01:01 PM
 
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Amy to the rescue!!!...Get a larger stock pot. Pour olive oil in the bottom and put on a lower heat. Chop or grind up a few onions and garlic and brown a bit.

Take the defrosted tomato and grind up OR just dump it frozen and whole in the pot and let the heat defrost it and mix with the onion/garlic oil mixture. When defrosted and simmering, add fresh chopped up basil or dried basil, oregano, salt pepper and a tablespoon of sugar.

I usually take my hand blender and grind up the tomato at this point but you can grind it up before hand. Simmer for 1-2 hours.
Presto, you have homemade sauce!

Serve hot with whatever, but taste it to see what you need to add. If acid tasting add a bit of sugar.
Once you cool it down, you can fridge it up to 5 days, freeze it into portions whatever. YUM!!!

:

Great! Thanks!

Our dinners for the rest of the month, using only what we have in the house:
chicken strips & french fries
spaghetti
steak bites, honey carrots, twice baked potatoes
clam chowder, homemade bread
grilled chicken salads
pork chops & rice
tacos
grilled hamsteak, roasted potatoes, stir fried veggies
fish cakes, roasted green beans, pasta
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Old 05-21-2009, 01:51 PM
 
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we're still eating most of our pantry.. dh doesn't get his first paycheck for another 2 weeks

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Old 05-21-2009, 02:55 PM
 
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I want to stock up my pantry while I am still getting food stamps - things will be pretty tight once they run out - and i'm not sure when that'll be.

I don't have money to buy bins to keep beans and/or grains in...but we are vegetarian and eat both of these things a lot so I'd like to try to store them anyway?

I've been told freezing your grains/beans/flour, etc keeps the bugs away - right? Well, I live in an apartment and only have a tiny and PACKED freezer...would it still make sense to just buy smaller bags to freeze if that's all that can fit? I know the savings wont be as big, but is it still worth it to save up for hard times? Help? Thanks!
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Old 05-21-2009, 03:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I don't have money to buy bins to keep beans and/or grains in...but we are vegetarian and eat both of these things a lot so I'd like to try to store them anyway?
I keep my beans in glass jars - reused spaghetti, saurkraut, mayo, etc. Plastic would probably work fine too. I have been able to get jars and lids at the recycling center. You can use cardboard flats to make them a little more stackable.

I would say it is worth it to save up. I usually buy 5 lb bags of beans when i see them on sale.

We haven't had problems with bugs in our beans - it's usually the flour and dried peppers.

Bridget. Momma to DD (4), expecting DS - 9/09, wife to SAHD. Gardener, coffee addict, urban dweller.
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Old 05-21-2009, 03:37 PM
 
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I want to stock up my pantry while I am still getting food stamps - things will be pretty tight once they run out - and i'm not sure when that'll be.

I don't have money to buy bins to keep beans and/or grains in...but we are vegetarian and eat both of these things a lot so I'd like to try to store them anyway?

I've been told freezing your grains/beans/flour, etc keeps the bugs away - right? Well, I live in an apartment and only have a tiny and PACKED freezer...would it still make sense to just buy smaller bags to freeze if that's all that can fit? I know the savings wont be as big, but is it still worth it to save up for hard times? Help? Thanks!
Are you on WIC too? I have a nice dry bean stash from our WIC coupons (I totally prefer canned beans).

A few months ago we were getting $400 a month in FS so we stocked up then. Now we are getting $100 a month and DH just started his new job (and is working out of state) so we have been living off our food storage, and using the FS for stuff like soymilk and fresh fruit/veggies.

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Old 05-22-2009, 04:54 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beansmama View Post
I want to stock up my pantry while I am still getting food stamps - things will be pretty tight once they run out - and i'm not sure when that'll be.

I don't have money to buy bins to keep beans and/or grains in...but we are vegetarian and eat both of these things a lot so I'd like to try to store them anyway?
This won't be a fast fix, but if you buy the biggest things of pickles you can find, then you'll have large glass jars for storage once you finish them. Not every store sells them, but Mt. Olive pickles (our favorites) come in 1 gallon jars, and Vlasic pickles come in a bit smaller jars. Walmart usually sells the big sizes.
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