Thursday, November 18, 2021

Keep Calm and Stock for the Apocalypse: A Quick Pantry Tour

By the way, the subject line was meant to make you giggle.  If you can't laugh, you cry.  Better to laugh, in my experience.

Anyway, it has been a while since I gave a pantry tour, so I thought I'd do a quick one.  Now, for those of you just starting out when it comes to food storage, do NOT think that you will be able to put this type of food storage together overnight and I hope to put up a post in the next little bit to hopefully help out a bit to get you started.  Honestly, I've been stocking up pretty hard over the last three years, since I started from a not great position after a year of an awful earthquake, a mice infestation in my pantry that wiped out a ton of stuff and other things AND living in Alaska we have to prepare a lot harder for unforeseen circumstances than in other places, so there is that going for me as well.  So anyway, the last few years, I was already in "build up the pantry" mode when certain worldwide events hit and put it into overdrive when I realized that my cost of living was looking to go berserk very quickly.  So, yeah, I have truly been in a mode, especially the past year, to get that one year (at LEAST) of food storage and other household goods stocked up as much as possible.  My husband and I have always worked toward putting up a year's worth of certain things every year, like we do tend to stock a year's supply of toilet paper and paper towels every year (thank goodness we normally did THAT when certain events hit), but the last bit, with inflation raising prices every time I go to the stores, I have been working hard on keeping more and more on hand to keep life as normal as possible in the coming months as items aren't available or we just can't afford to get them in with our normal shopping trips.  

I do have a few things that aren't done yet for the pantry that are on my "to do" list (things I have to process), but I'm fighting allergies the last few days, so I am not getting those done this week by the looks of it.

By the way, this is not my entire shelf stable food storage.  I have my long term food storage (freeze dried cans and things) kind of stored anywhere I can find room throughout the house right now.  I have bread flour, more pasta, corn meal, rice and things in containers stacked up in a corner so I have them to fill the holes in the pantry as I need to in the coming months.  It ain't a pretty set up, but I am glad to have it. 

Anyway, back to the matter at hand.  For one, you'll notice that I have a bunch of prepackaged mixes on the shelves by the door.  I did this quite on purpose.  For one, in some cases the deals were just too insane to ignore (like the 12 boxes of cake mix I ended up getting for 5.00), or I just wanted to make sure we had mixes that were peanut safe that I could stock up on for desserts and breakfasts (in the case of the muffin mixes).  The benefit of keeping the boxed mixes around is basically, in my mind, it helps to conserve my flour, sugar and other baking supplies for other things/projects and they have the side benefit of being easy to mix up so my daughter has definitely gotten into helping me make them when I make one up :).  And they were cheap enough, when I bought them, to make it worth my while to purchase them, so I am doubly happy to have them around.

So, some new things that you may notice that I'm keeping around and raise an eyebrow at.

I have started, the last few years, to stock shelf stable tofu.  I buy a 12 pack off of Amazon and it'll last me a year.  It is American made, a bonus for me an keeps quite well on the shelf.  I primarily use the tofu to make miso soup.  The miso is missing because I keep miso paste in the freezer and fridge to help it keep as I read on some Asian blogs that was the best way to preserve it.  I get organic miso off of Amazon as well, at least for now, in a two pack and that'll last me a year.  I do use the tofu in an occasional other dish, such as Pad Thai or other stir fry as well, so it really is nice to keep around the pantry.

I also ended up buying Japanese soy sauce in bulk off of Amazon earlier this year (we like the flavor a lot better) as a six pack was on sale cheap, so that'll definitely last me quite a while (seen in the top photo, but the close up one didn't turn out).  I've found myself cooking Japanese a lot more than I used to the last few years, so you'll notice that I actually have an "Asian" section in the pantry with Ramen and Soba noodles and stuff.  I got the noodles super cheap earlier in the year when they had a coupon code stacked on top of the Subscribe and Save discount, so I got 6 packs of noodles for like 8.00, which was cheap for specialty noodles.  And hey, more pasta is not a bad thing in my opinion.

You'll also notice in the above photo some containers of specialty coffee drinks.  I bought those as a back up plan in case milk gets scarce as I like milk in my coffee, so I bought those as a way to get my creamy coffee if I need to ration the milk for other purposes (like for the kids as milk is one of the few "real" food items my son will consume, so I consider it an absolute necessity around here :).  I got some marzipan super cheap at the beginning of the year on clearance, so you'll see some boxes of that.  I really love marzipan, so I admit I bought more than I probably should have (never shop hungry).   I've been slowly going through the boxes and making different desserts that call for marzipan (our favorite, so far, has actually just been chocolate covered marzipan *laugh*).

Okay, so let's move to the other side of the pantry entry.  Over here I have additional storage buckets of flour and some containers containing popcorn and other items.  New over on this side is a big bag of citric acid, food grade, that I bought from Amazon.  I've messed with citric acid in the past so I have had experience making my own bath bombs and other uses.  I mainly got this as a good cleaner to have around (like your dishwasher cleaner is just citric acid, so it's a great thing to put in your dishwasher to clean off the scum and things if you can't find your dishwasher cleaner tablets and things), but it is good that I can use it for making candy and things if I need/want to.  Over on this side is some bottled water (in the brown "Alaskan Grown" box and there is more under it) and I keep all of my freezer bags, my emergency box of trash bags, cling wrap...other plastic goods, etc.  In the box on top of the salt reservoir for the water softener I have all of my coffee filters, some plastic cups, some paper storage containers for ice cream and some other miscellaneous things.  On the other side of the water softener tank (where the vinegar container is) is where I keep my bulk jugs of vinegar.  I have white distilled, apple cider and rice vinegar at the moment in gallon jugs as I use vinegar quite a lot.  I also have a bulk container of salt (the red lidded container there) and some bags of potatoes that I can't quite fit in my fridge yet.

As you go deeper into the pantry you'll see some of the canned fruit and vegetables.  I'm doing pretty well on being stocked up on things, but believe it or not I'm a little light on green beans (shocking, I know *laugh*).  I am so relieved every time I look and see a variety of things that we can eat in this area, after the dreaded "year of the green beans" as I like to call it now.  

Next up is the shelf next to the canned goods shelf, so we have ketchup (we have a ton of it, but we are going through it), BBQ sauce, some pizza sauce that my daughter likes (under the Oreos that I'm hiding from my son at the moment), a bunch of cooking oil (which you can't really see in the pic unfortunately), honey (as it keeps forever and works great as a sweetener in a pinch) and some miscellaneous cooking sauces and things (in the wine caddy...I have cooking wine, but I found it is a great storage container for other things as well).  On the bottom shelf I have my home canned sauerkraut and applesauce as well as some store bought applesauce (in case we run out of home made) and things.  It actually is rather well organized, although you really can't tell from the photos.  The big dark jug on the floor is actually Worcestershire sauce that I got super cheap on Amazon when I needed to get some for the house  From what I read, since the sauce is fermented anyway, it doesn't really go bad, so I thought I'd give it a shot (since it was the same price as a small bottle of the stuff at my local store).   

And here is the big change I made to the pantry, that took me forever (which is sad), but makes the lights in the pantry work a LOT better and lets me actually see what I have a lot better as well.  I moved the condiment shelf from the other wall to this one, so the light actually illuminates everything on the shelf.  It turned out to be a real asset doing that as I found some things I needed to use up when I moved the shelf and things, so I've been going through those items and using them for meals.  I also went through the #10 cans that I used to construct the shelf and traded some of them out with other cans that were longer termed storage (like the wheat replaced a can of dehydrated apples I need to use and things), so that was a double good reason to move the shelf.  

So, yeah, that about wraps up the pantry tour.  I feel pretty good about the pantry at the moment, I have to say.  I've worked really hard, especially the last couple of years, to start buying items that we'll actually use versus items we might use or just getting something I want to try.  So far I'm doing pretty well as I've gone through and found that I've been doing a good job rotating through the food storage and using up everything before it goes too far past it's use by date.  That's usually, to me, a good indicator of how good of a purchase a certain item was for the pantry.  If you end up throwing it away, don't buy it again.

I have gotten a few e-mails asking about what I consider to be the most essential items in my pantry to help give people a place to start.  I've been working on the list and will hopefully get that up in the next few days, so please, for those of you who have been keeping a pantry for a while, jot down some notes as well to share as I'm sure I'm going to forget things in my list :).  Hopefully it will help some people to have a starting point to work from.


  1. Your pantry looks great. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Looks fantastic - great job. Absolutely believe stock what you eat is so important. Otherwise, unless bartering, other items may be wasted.

  3. I started reading your blog about the time the earthquake hit you. I have your saying of Be Calm you don't need to stock up for the Apocalypse on the basement door to my pantry. I am so GLAD you are doing so much better. I had and have several family members that lived in Alaska. They still talk about the price of food.

  4. Your pantry looks amazing! Great job with the organizing.

  5. That is a well stocked pantry. Thanks for the pictures, I really liked having the visual,!

  6. This is amazing!!! Great organization, and I appreciate the explanation of everything. Seriously inspiring!

  7. You really know how to pack and organize a lot of stuff in a fairly small space! Very well done and very well stocked also. Hope you are all doing fine. We have not had much snow here in MN yet, but I'm sure it's coming. It's been a weird year with the drought and now, not much snow or even rain. You probably already have things planned for Christmas. I do love the ideas you share. Ranee (MN)

  8. NICE pantry!! Hope you continue to feel better.