Preserving Dry Foods

Kellene Bishop of Preparedness Pro is such a guru on preparedness and preserving foods.  She recently referenced this article and since that’s something I do quite often, I thought I’d share some of what I do for my preserved foods.

I will ruin my reputation here because, for the most part, boxed mixes don’t find much favor with my menu planning.  There are a few exceptions.  I buy Ramen noodles for the Chinese Cabbage Salad recipe that I make.  I buy cake mixes because sometimes they’re used as the base in good cakes.  I buy brownie mix because Vince likes brownies and I do not!  That’s kinda bad, huh?  Seriously, he picks times when I couldn’t eat another bite and he’s starving for brownies so . . a mix is what I make.  I buy a Risotto mix that I’ve found at Big Lots, and though it’s loaded with sodium and we don’t eat it often, I really like it.  The exception to those exceptions is that I only buy these items, as with most items, when they’re on sale.

Since I am 100% sure that properly preserved, cake mixes, brownie mixes, Ramen noodles and Risotto will last at least five years, so when I find them on sale, I buy a lot!  A whole lot!  Prices haven’t been going down lately so I consider my well stocked pantry just as important as money in the bank.  I keep an inventory of what I have and what I use and what I need.  My pantry is set up so that I pull from the front and stock from the back so the newest items are in the back.  I use the older items in the front first.

Here’s what I do with those mixes.  I take them out of the box and cut the instructions off the box.

On the flap of the bag, I write any identifying info that I need to write.

Using half gallon Mason jars, I can stuff two cake mixes into one jar, or two brownie mixes into one jar, or three Risotto mixes into a jar.  Using the jar sealer attachment to the FoodSaver, I seal the jars.

 I label the outside of the jar.  These were labeled with Post-It tape but I put packing tape over that.

The jars go into their original boxes, along with the instruction portion which I’ve cut from the boxes.

Any time I need or want a cake mix or brownie mix, or whatever I might have, I go to the pantry, pop open a sealed jar and grab what I need. These lids will re-seal several times.  I never try to re-use lids on canned food except when using Tattler lids.

In August, 2008, I caught a huge sale on shredded wheat.  It was the strawberry flavored, which I love, and I bought a lot .  . a whole lot.  I love doing that!  I’m not going to say I’ve had shredded wheat every day for 4 years but I have it fairly often and still have quite a bit left.  Not too long ago, I wrote about it here and this is the jar I’m opening when Vince is away and I won’t be fixing breakfast every morning.  If we have a big lunch, often Vince will want only a sandwich or something light for dinner and I’m happy to have a bowl of shredded wheat.

The FoodSaver, the jar sealer attachment and these half gallon Mason jars are some of my favorite items to use when preserving food.

Yarn Buying

Last week a friend wrote me to remind me that I had forgotten the “On the Needles” post and she so sweetly reminded me of this post.  After reading it, I think I should become a politician!  There’s a lot of spin and spew in there but the funniest might be this:

2012 is definitely going to bring about a change in my knitting and yarn purchasing habits!

My first thought is . . 2012 isn’t over yet.  I still have time to change my habits.  But for all practical purposes, there was no change in the yarn buying and knitting habits in 2012.  I went back to The Loopy Ewe and added up how much I spent in 2011 and 2012 and I have spent about 20% less this year so that’s a start.  The year isn’t over but I really have no plans to buy more yarn.  Really!

The saddest point in the entire post is this:

Neither of those socks have mates yet.  Maybe I could redeem myself by getting just one pair finished before the end of the year.