[The curious can click on any image for a larger view. Really, these are larger than I usually upload.]
This is not the original pantry that came with the house. That one was 4x6 foot, and it quickly became obvious that it was terribly inadequate for the type of food storage we were planning to do. We did quite a bit of brainstorming about that earlier this year, and came up with a new plan, requiring only minimal remodeling. Basically it only required repurposing the rooms in the addition. You can see photos of these rooms (before we moved in) here, and how they fit in to the floor plan, here.
By moving Dan's office and studio into the spare room, we had an 8 x 12 foot room to use as the pantry. The original pantry is going to become the utility room. It will house the ironing board, vacuum cleaner, cleaning supplies, and will be where we put the new water heater.
We planned to build shelves, but found the ones you see for about a third of the cost for lumber. They are rated at 120 pounds per shelf, and although the shelf with all the jars of green beans sags a bit (photo below), they are holding up admirably. What I don't like about them, besides that they are plastic, is the wasted space in between shelves. Well, for my purposes it's wasted, except for hanging handfuls of herbs to dry, like you see in the above photo.
I put cardboard in between the stacked layers of canning jars. Not sure if I like it that way, or storing them in stacked boxes. They're easier to assess and access this way.
All my empty canning jar boxes are on top, as are various pots, pans, my dehydrator, canning utensils, and egg cartons I saved. Heavier items, like bins of potatoes (now in fridge) and sweet potatoes, cooler of turnips, 5 gallon container of coconut oil, cases of empty jars, etc., all fit on the bottom. Canned goods, dried beans and grains, gallon jugs of vinegars and blackstrap molasses, various mixing bowels, a box of veterinary supplies, winter squashes, and my lone pumpkin, reside on the middle shelves. There's still quite a bit of room, for more good things to eat.
The green cupboards and island aren't meant to be permanent fixtures here. They will be replaced if I can incorporate them into the design for my new kitchen, whenever we finally get around to that, hopefully by 2012. I already have a replacement for the island, an small, old cabinet that was left in our outbuildings. It will fit better and be a more sturdy base for this...
... my Country Living grain mill. Yes, it's a hand job, purchased during our old Y2K preparation days. DS used to have the daily chore of grinding flour for me, back in our homeschooling high school days. Now the honor will fall to me. Who needs to go to the gym, when such fantastic homestead equipment is available to give my bi's and tri's a workout!?!
I'm using the island to store tools, and also empty glass jars and bottles. I've gotten where I don't even recycle glass containers anymore. I save them to reuse myself.
Inside the green cupboards ...
.... mostly store bought items. I purchase them on sale, from clearance bins, or discount grocery stores, all as storage items. I do try to buy at least a couple cans or boxes of something extra every time I shop. With the garden doing so well, these are mostly convenience foods or things I can't grow for myself: macaroni and cheese, coffee, black olives, sugar, baking soda, canned soups, canned tuna, olive oil, pastas, seasoning mixes, stuff like that.
To the right of the green cabinets, is my extra fridge, the one that came with the house. It's small, but even so, when I bought a new one, I kept it with a mind for future surplus eggs and goat milk.
Right how it hold the last of my spring potatoes (I originally had two bins full, which I kept on one of the bottom shelves), my remaining handful of onions, flours, cereals, my sourdough starter crock, a few condiments, opened coffee container, and seeds.
The freezer is a small one and a perfect fit along that short wall. I can't hang much on that wall because of the freezer lid. In some ways I feel like that makes it wasted space, but I have started to hang my canning tools there.
I've tried to organize the freezer contents with smaller boxes. In addition to my frozen fruits and vegetables, meat, eggs, and broth, I store grains, flours, nuts, seeds, and a few miscellaneous items in here. This is because we always have a moth problem in warmer weather. Just can't seem to get rid of those things. Since I buy so much in bulk, I don't want to risk losing those things to moths, which we have every summer. I'm running out of space though, so I think a future project will be to can all the meat broth I've made and frozen.
As I mentioned above, as long as the garden keeps producing, I'll keep preserving. But here are my 2010 food preservation totals so far. (The ** indicates locally, but not home grown):
- 18 quarts frozen blueberries
- 6 quarts frozen cantaloupe
- 1 pint dried cantaloupe
- 26 pints canned figs
- 1 cup dried figs (wish I had more to reconstitute for my fig cake)
- 2 quarts dried bananas (neither home nor locally grown! I use like raisins in muffins)
- 2 quarts dried watermelon
- 17 pints applesauce**
- 2 quarts frozen broccoli
- 1 cup dried tomatoes
- 22 pints canned Swiss chard
- 33 quarts canned green beans (yup, we like 'em canned)
- 3 quarts tomatoes & okra (just to see what DH thinks)
- 2 quarts dried onions
- pumpkin - 1 pint frozen puree and 1 in storage
- 13 stored buttercup squashes
- 1 pint frozen cut corn
- 8 quarts frozen yellow squash
- 3 quarts frozen sliced sweet peppers (so far. They're still producing)
- 25 quarts frozen okra
- 24 pounds stored potatoes
- couple pounds stored turnips (can also overwinter in garden under mulch)
- 13 quarts canned sweet potatoes
- 3 pounds stored sweet potatoes
- 1 pint dehydrated tomatoes (more if frost continues to delay)
- 11 frozen chickens
- 12 dozen frozen whole eggs (so far, hopefully more)
- 3+ quarts dried black turtle beans (still shelling)
- Soups & Sauces
- 33 pints canned pizza sauce
- 7 quarts canned veggie soup
- 4 quarts frozen potato soup
- 10 pints tomato soup
- 5 pints frozen sweet basil pesto
- frozen broth (various amounts) totally about 4 gallons
- Jams & Jellies
- 12 pints strawberry** jam
- 19 half pints apple** butter
- 10 half pints blueberry jam
- Pickles & Relishes
- 3 pints pickled beets (more to come I hope)
- 11 pints dill pickles
- 2 pints sweet pickle chips
- 5 pints pickle relish
- Dessert ingredients
- Herbs (all dried) amounts in ounces
- sweet basil
- dill seed
- garlic - about 12 bulbs worth, which I replanted
- 2 & 1/2 pounds popcorn
- pecans - just beginning to collect
Considering our long term goal to become food self-sufficient, the real question is, do I have enough of each item to last until I harvest it again? The answer to that question, is here.
Jewels of the Summer Harvest © October 2010 by Leigh at http://my5acredream.blogspot.com/