Originally a pantry was understood to be a cool and dark place where perishable foods such as freshly baked bread could be stored. It could be a room where food, provisions, dishes or linens were kept. It is usually in close proximity to the kitchen although sometimes they may be found in the basement or other areas of the home that would otherwise be considered unused space. Over time, the concept of the pantry was expanded from a simple bread room into an area where essentials could be stored in bulk.
My pantry is in an unused corner of the basement.
My basement pantry.
When the house was built we had a small room built that is unheated. The temperature stays between 45-55 year round. It is dark and cool, perfect for storing food and canned goods.
Inside my basement pantry.
Just because you don’t have a separate room to call your pantry does not mean you can’t have some place in your home where you can store extra essentials as a reserve against hard times. Tupperware boxes can be placed under a bed, for example, and filled with back-up products.
Tupperware boxes under the bed.
We also have a closet in our laundry room that was not being used, we lined it with wire shelves and also use it for storage space.
Laundry room closet.
Ideally you should have enough in your home for at least three days. A mid range pantry would be able to feed a family for a period of two weeks to a month.
As I have mentioned previously there are many items that store well over a period of time and these are things that you should have on hand in your pantry. Dried beans, wheat berries, rice and oats can all be stored in a cook dark place. I enjoy having a well-stocked pantry. We live quite a distance from the store and I try to have enough food on hand so I’m not making unnecessary trips to pick up just one or two items. You never know when you might have unexpected company. Last summer we had a house full of company and then flood damage from Irene, which made it impossible to drive anywhere. Luckily we were well stocked and managed just fine.
Soon we will begin a new growing season; this is a perfect time to increase your pantry storage. Learn how to can using a water bath canner. You would be amazed at the various foods that can be put away for the winter using this method. If you visit my Home Front Store you will see the Canning Kit that is available through Amazon. This is the exact canner that I have been using for years. If you are not sure about canning pick up the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving. It is full of wonderful, simple recipes to preserve your harvest.
I will be featuring various recipes as well. I can’t wait to share my “Rhubarbeque” recipe; it is the most delicious sauce that is perfect on pork or chicken. Can you guess the secret ingredient? As soon as my rhubarb comes up I will pass that recipe along.