Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Bulk Food Storage!

So when I posted my haul from Beachy's, two people asked how I store it.  I have tried many (many!) different things but this is what works now.  I keep my supplies for using in my cabinets....in lock and lock containers.  I won't buy unless that's what I find.  I have other tupperware for lunches and leftovers and sometimes those sneak into my baking cabinet and it is just not pretty.  Things fall out and its a mess.  Well, its always a mess....its just a bigger one when the containers don't all stack and match.

For the rest of it...I do a couple different things.  For the 50 lb bags of flour I have 2 big 5 gallon buckets.  My mom subs for the school district and is often in the kitchen and was able to snag a couple for me.  I would love to have more (4 or even 6 of them).  I fill these full (one with white flour and one with whole wheat).  They slide behind a curtain the the hole where my dishwasher used to be.  I just slide them back out when I need flour.  This is my "in house" supply rather than in the cabinet.

Everything else goes in the freezer.  Large quantities are bagged two gallon ziplock bags.  I have only ever found these at Martins IGA.  They are not cheap.  But since I store only dry good in them when I empty one I stick it back in the freezer and use it more than once.  After dumping as much flour into the buckets as I can, it takes 3 of these bags to store the rest of the flour.  Not too shabby.  I also use these for the oats.  For smaller things I bag them in 1 gallon freezer bags and get em in the freezer.  This is the best way I've found to keep it all fresh and bug free.  (if you don't rebag it all in freezer bags though it will smell like freezer if it's left in there too long....so take the extra step and rebag or double bag it)

The popcorn comes in a gallon "milk jug" so it just goes into the cabinet that way.  The coconut oil is also just in the cabinet.  I have a section of a lower cabinet that I use for only bulk supplies.  Some of them, like the popcorn, I pour some into a more handy sized container for in "usable" cabinet.  Like a mason jar.  So although I LOVE the lock n lock containers....I think mason jars work well for some things (mostly snacks).  And they look nice in the cabinet that the stupid door fell off of....again. (I hate my kitchen cabinets-but that is an entirely different post).

Spices come in the little "deli" tubs, you know, like the ones a single person gets potato salad in.  Those go directly into the freezer as is.  Do NOT put them in the door where they will slide out when you open it....those suckers explode when they hit the floor.  Again, I have a spice drawer where I keep baby food sized jars of each individual spice and some of my own mixes for handy access.

Bags of flour ready for the freezer

Other grains ready for the freezer.  You can't tell but the big bags are the two gallon freezer bags.  I don't even dump the grain from the bag it came in.  I just drop the whole thing in there.  

Half of my baking cabinet/pantry.  My house actually has a closet style pantry....it, however, is full of craft supplies so thankfully I have LOTS of cabinet space.  Anyway,  I tried to label what was what but apparently don't know how to do that on the computer.  :(  (and I totally cleaned this cabinet up before I took a pic....it never looks like this-HA)

Big buckets of flour.  

My basket of spices in the freezer.  They are clearly all thrown in...just keepin it real.  :)
My spice drawer...no idea why the pic is sideways.  This drawer is a mess but it is still easier than pulling the mess outta the freezer every time I need a spice.  :)

Snack cabinet.  Mason jars on the top hold snacks that come in bulk.  depending on what it is the rest may be in the lower "bulk" cabinet or the freezer.  Right now I've got a trail mix, popcorn kernels, and pretzel balls.  The big silver things is a vintage cake safe that I store bread in.  (The door totally fell off this cabinet onto my head-so I have made due with what it is now.  Someday I'll remodel the kitchen....someday)

So there ya have it.  That's how I store all my bulk goods.  For the record, I have 3 freezers.  The fridge freezer (that's where the spices are).  I also have a small upright freezer in my laundry room  and a BIG deep freeze in the garage.  We hunt venison and that is our meat for the year so I need the freezer space.  Often at this time of year I am only running one of the big freezers because we are out of meat.  This year A has already gotten 2 deer (one of them was tiny) but we still have to get it in a freezer so I have them all running.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Beachy's Baby!

 So we made a desparate trip to Amish country yesterday....I was out of almost everything I buy there.  So despite the rainy, "stormy" (wasn't really that bad) weather and having to take all the kids along (which I rarely do)...off we went.

And I stocked up!  I'm ready for winter.  We get a few deer in the freezer and we'll be eating good all winter.  If I'd only been able to can/freeze more produce, I would only have to buy fresh produce, and dairy all winter....so cool!

This is what I got (with approximate weights):

  • white flour(50 lbs)
    • I make all our breads/grains from scratch - bread, bagels, pizza crust, muffins and scones, pretzels,waffles, pancakes,etc etc etc
  • whole wheat flour (50  lbs)
    • Almost all our grains are at least 50% whole grain.  So this is used with the white flour above
  • rye flour  (2.5 lbs)
    • our favorite bread calls for 1/2 cup of rye flour....that's all I use rye for
  • grape nuts (7lbs)
    • A's favorite breakfast is quick oats and grapenuts mixed 50/50 with milk and cooked in the micro....add some brown sugar.  YUM
  • quick oats (15 lbs)
    • breakfast cereal, cookies, granola bars, baking
  • rolled oats (7 lbs)
    • I like rolled oats better than quick oats so I make these for breakfast sometimes....also for baking
  • steel cut oats  (2.5 lbs)
    • with these I can make oats overnight in the crockpot without it all turning to mush.
  • cream of wheat (2 lbs)
    • ummm, breakfast
  • wagon wheel pasta (1 lb)
    • I got these for fun.  I'll use them for tuna casserole.  But only cause we were up there and it is on the menu.
  • orzo pasta (1 lb)
    • spaghettios
  • those crunchy noodles like on a salad bar (1lb)
    • on salad  :)
  • yeast
    • bulk yeast is the ONLY way to buy it if you bake often.  I got just shy of a pound (in those plastic tubs that you get potato salad in at the deli) for $3.25.  This is enough to make I don't even know how many yeast breads.  Between bulk yeast and flour I can really really save a lot on our bread products plus they are GOOD!
  • cinnamon
    • um, it's cinnamon....also bulk like the yeast.  
  • chili powder
    • also bulk like the other.  Actually it is worth nothing that I buy ALL my spices at beachys in bulk.  The prices are great and the spice is wonderful.  I have a big basket of spices in my freezer keeping them fresh a little longer.  The only thing I have been a bit dissappointed in was the curry....and I don't cook with curry often so it totally could have been my cooking or my recipe.
  • REAL vanilla
    • pretty self explanatory I would think  ;)
  • a vanilla bean
    • This was a new thing I found there.  SO EXCITED!  I will buy good vodka and put this in a bottle with it.  By Christmas I will have beautiful, home made, tasty vanilla.  Then as I use it I will just top the bottle off with more vodka....and I'll have a "never ending" supply of good real vanilla.
  • pearled barley
    • I sub this in for pasta in a any soup that calls for small pasta (ie minestrone).  It not only adds a good (whole?) grain....but it makes it reheat better.  Unlike pasta the barley seems to stop absorbing water so when you reheat it is still souplike rather than a pasty overcook pasta goupy mess Can you tell I feel strongly about this? :)
  • brown sugar
    • oatmeal in the mornings, baking, etc
  • sea salt
    • basic cooking and table salt
  • loaf of Amish made bread
    • supper last night :)
  • potato soup mix
    • supper last night :)
  • regular muffin papers
    • I use these A LOT!  For baking and freezing muffins.  I found these for less than a penny each
  • mini muffin papers
    • same as the regular muffin papers
  • dry black beans (2 lbs)
    • I cook these down in a crockpot and then freeze in 2 cup portions and use for tacos, soups, etc.  
  • dry red beans (2 lbs)
    • same thing as the black beans
  • walnuts
    • M requested these although I'm sure he won't eat them.  I like them so it'll all be good (I put them in my favorite oatmeal-apple pie oatmeal-YUM!)

  • blueberry honey 
    • this was a treat.  We'll use it in our homemade honey 
  • dry milk powder (1.5 lbs)
    • I add 1/4 cup or so to thicken up my home made yogurt.
  • corn meal (3 lbs)
    • corn bread,  special yeast bread, under pizza crust
  • coconut oil (1 gallon)
    • baking (anything that says Crisco-gag!), greasing pans, washing my face, essential oil dilution, etc etc etc
  • cheese curds
    • snack - except I accidentally bought ranch cheddar.  It is ok but not what I wanted.  grrr
  • popcorn (1 gallon)
    • MOVIE NIGHT!  :)
  • "oil cups"
    • I don't know what to call these but they are the 12 white things in the front,center of the pic.  They look like what carmex comes in kinda....I am using them to mix and store some essential oil blends we use frequently so I don't have to mix all the time.
  • straws
    • Um......

Here's the haul.  Not pictured are the 2 fifty lbs bags of flour.  They are heavy and they look like dog food bags.  seriously.  I've gotta repackage all this for good long term storage.  And then to start baking!!!!!  :)