Retreat Food Storage
By Deborah in the UP
There are many, many articles on food storage to be found on the net, mine included. Back in 1998, Countryside Magazine published my lengthy article on how I did my pantry inventory. The article is still on their website for viewing. Keeping in mind this was pre-y2k and pre-internet for me, and I did everything manually. It was simple and it worked and it’s been copied many times. Flattering!
But that was my home pantry, my every day usage food stock, so now I’d like to take it a step further. How to stock your retreat pantry. For most, their retreat is NOT where they live. It was for me then, it is for me now, but since I have a different view of life these days, I think of here as my retreat first, home second.
If your retreat is ‘some place else’, your food storage must be different. This food is not in constant rotation as your home pantry is, so it must be viewed for longer term. Keep in mind the well used saying (that was in that article so many years ago): Store what you eat, eat what you store. There is little reason to stock a ton of rice if you don’t like it, or if you’re allergic to it, even though rice one of the best things to store long term. Select what YOU like, then go to the source. Want flour for making bagels? Don’t store flour, store wheat. Go back to the origin….The exception to the rule of storing only what you eat, would be for others in your collective, or for bartering.
My suggestions for long term retreat storage includes: rice, wheat, sugar, dried beans, salt, bouillon, a variety of grains (barley, millet, oats), pasta, freeze dried yeast, cooking oil, vinegar, coffee, powdered milk, instant/dried potatoes, anything dried, especially vegetables. All of these should be packed in plastic buckets, sealed with 02 absorbers. Might not stop all mice, but it sure will slow them down.
Some would suggest herbs & spices. Spices yes, herbs no. Herbs degrade quickly, so plant them around the retreat instead, and dry them once you’re living there. Spices to store, in glass jars, include peppercorns, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, cloves, mustard seed. Spices should be purchased whole, not in powdered form, and ground as needed. Done that way, they will last indefinitely.
The next thing I would add, would be canned meats, though they will not last as long as dried foods, they can have long shelf lives, so check the dates carefully. What kind? Again, variety: tuna, salmon, mackerel, corned beef, chicken, beef, pork, bacon. Chicken, beef, pork and bacon can be home canned and the shelf life extended.
Next in line would be canned vegetables, fruits, condiments. For long term, these are the least desirable and the most vulnerable to spoilage. So don’t depend on them.
A vital key to base storage foods is knowing what to do with them… don’t forget to learn how to make those bagels from scratch.