Thursday, January 06, 2011

Pantry and Freezer Shopping

This is not my pantry, but it sure does look familiar!
NOTE: This picture is NOT my pantry, so don't panic - it's just a visual to give you an idea of how stuffed fully my shelves are too. My pantry has healthy stuff in it, not crap.

In the past several months I've had a dedicated goal of using up food from my pantry and freezer. There was a time when I WAY over-bought food and was stockpiling food in my pantry, cupboards and freezer. I think some of that might have been based on a level of compulsion - but that's a whole other topic to explore later. Anyway, this past summer I made a conscious decision to try and use up as much stuff in my pantry as I could without buying a lot more groceries. And so far, it's going well.

Yes, I'm still working through my pantry stash about six months later and I could probably go another six months with minimal grocery shopping. Crazy, huh? But then again, I'm just one person so it's not like I"m feeding armies of family members either. But in the past six months I estimate I've reduced my stash by about 50% or maybe slightly more.

I do still buy groceries each week, but mostly just perishables like milk, eggs, fruits, veggies and deli meat or anything that I need for a specific recipe that can't be substituted with something I already have. But there might be a 2 or 3 week stretch between shopping trips at times, which seems to be saving me some $$$ in the meantime.

I mostly use my freezer to store individual serving size meals (usually leftovers from my once-a-week cooking) and large quantities of fresh ingredients that I bought when they were in season. For instance when berries are in season and on sale for super great deals ($1/container) I'll buy $20 worth, then flash freeze them and package them into gallon size freezer bags. Then I have "fresh" berries all year long. Frozen berries are great in protein smoothies! Same goes with farmer market produce that I can get for super great deals. Also when I'm chopping an onion or celery or peppers and only need a small amount for a recipe, rather than let the remainder of that go to waste, I'll chop up the rest and stash it in the freezer for the next time I need it.

Here's some of the stash for this bulk-buying:

  • Strawberries - bought on sale - 3-4 gallon bags
  • Raspberries - bought on sale - 2 gallon bags
  • Blackberries - bought on sale - 2 gallon bags
  • Cherries -- picked from a neighbor's tree - 1 gallon bag
  • Butternut squash - from farmer after Halloween (cut up and frozen during this recipe) - 3 gallon bags
  • More beans than I care to think about. Me and My Brilliant Ideas
  • Chopped onions, celery, peppers - 1 quart bag for each
But I also have a bunch of stuff that wasn't bought with the purpose of stockpiling because it was a good buy at the time. I've got more sauces and dressings to "try out" than I could ever get through. I have cans of tuna and shrimp and chicken for salad toppings. I have way too many protein bars, granola bars, snack bars, peanut butter crackers and stuff. I've got a bunch of miscellaneous protein powder samples that I really just need to give away to newbies. I have lots of dry goods like beans and grains. A bunch of canned goods like diced tomatoes, beans, mushrooms, sauces, fruit, etc. 

It's all pretty organized right now, but there's some stuff hidden that I'm sure I don't know about. I guess what I really need to do is pull everything out and organize it all. I could probably box up a lot of it and donate it to family or the food shelter. But that sounds like a lot of work that I'm not exactly willing to do (yes, folks, I'm lazy too!). 

So I'll continue to work my way through the stash. It's kind of fun, actually. To actually see empty spots on shelves and airspace inside the freezer makes me feel like I'm accomplishing something. 

Anyone else have this problem? 


  1. OMG! if you have a pantry like that, isn't that a whole lot of processed and preserved foods?

    Anyway, as for boxing it and taking it to a shelter, it takes minimum time. There may be some places that will actually pick these things up. There are hungry people who could benefit from those items which are only going to expire in your pantry.

    ...and you know that doing something so good for someone else will only make you feel happier for having done it.

    As someone who's been unable to afford food, I encourage you to send this stuff out to a food pantry. The lines at the pantries are getting longer and longer as the economy worsens, and if that food isn't something you're going to eat, why let it go to waste?

  2. Kate - Notice the caption on the photo that says the picture is NOT my pantry. LOL! Yep, that one has a whole lot of crap in there.... mine does not. Mine is filled with lots of heealthy food.

  3. I notice that my fridge is filled nowadays with veggies, deli meat,cheese, yogurts - and not just chocolate while the freezer gets stocked with fish,soy patties, edamame, green peas (and not just my B&J).
    I wish I could buy here protein powder sample packets as it would be so much easier to keep in my bag.
    I hope you can decide and do in purging of "too much".


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