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Pantry Tour (Storing a Year’s Worth of Food)

by | Feb 19, 2022 | Canning, Dehydrate, Fermenting, Freeze Drying, Freezing, Preserve, Thrive

You asked, and we’re finally giving you a pantry tour to show you how we store a year’s worth of food for our large family of 12. It may not be perfect, but that’s not stopping us, and we’re continually making improvements and adjustments. We hope some of our long-term storage tips come in handy for your own food storage solutions.

Woman standing in a large pantry holding up a half gallon mason jar of food.

Because we use many different types of food preservation we have many different ways we store our food. Everything from freeze-dried food (if you don’t have a freeze-dryer, it’s quickly becoming our favorite preservation method!), dehydrated food, home-canned food, fermented food, frozen food, and even root-cellared food (with our makeshift root cellar).

Main Pantry

In our main pantry area, we store all of our home-canned food as well as our freeze-dried and dehydrated food.

We also like to store some of our bulk goods such as maple syrup, olive oil, and different kinds of vinegar. We buy large quantities of the store-bought items we don’t yet grow enough of here on the homestead. Our favorite place to purchase these items is Azure Standard. They have a lot of organic products at a great wholesale price (when buying in bulk).

Here are some of our favorite recipes that I mention in the video so you can bookmark them and come back to them after harvest:

Two gallon jugs of olive oil, a gallon of coconut oil and a gallon of honey on a shelf.

Bulk Storage

When it comes to our staple foods we like to store them in bulk in larger containers like five-gallon buckets with gamma seal lids, or even 55-gallon drums.

In the drums, we store items such as hard white wheat, dry beans, oats, oat groats, salt, and sugar so we can stay ahead of the curve and save money for items we know we’ll always need. (Learn how to beat inflation at the grocery store here!)

In the five-gallon buckets, we store other items we don’t need in quite such large quantities. Items like baking soda, flaxseed, our limed eggs (or water-glassed eggs), and anything else that falls into that smaller item category.

Colorful canning jars sitting on a shelf.

Harvest Kitchen

Though this isn’t quite a “storage area” we do still store some of our canned goods as well as our ferments in the harvest kitchen. We keep some of our braided garlic and onions ready for easy access as well.

This is the area you see most often because it’s where Josh and I do our Pantry Chats, and I usually do my teaching videos from this space as well. It’s a fully functioning kitchen, but it’s down in our basement so the temperature stays just a bit cooler than our regular kitchen.

Sometimes in a home, especially if storage space is limited, it’s good to think outside the box for different areas where you might be able to store some food.

Here are some of our favorite fermented recipes:

Cold-Storage Room

This room is a place I’m very excited to have in this house, it’s right off the main kitchen but it’s on an exterior wall with a door to close it off to the house. When I open up both windows I essentially have a large walk-in refrigerator and can store various items all winter long.

I also have a large rack that holds all of our farm eggs (here are five ways to use or preserve extra eggs), multiple large buckets of food that we need to grab frequently (sugar, flour, various oils, etc.), and I even hang my dried herbs from the ceiling to grab all year long or keep my extra homemade herbed garlic salt and onion powder.

A gallon ziplock of frozen milk at the bottom of a chest freezer.

Freezers

Our chest freezers are out in the garage and we have a total of four chest freezers. Because we raise or harvest most of our meat here on the homestead, and we have 12 people (usually more) that we’re feeding every day, we need to have a way to keep it all organized.

We designate each freezer for a specific animal (or a couple of animals) to keep it all organized and easy to find. This means a designated freezer for pork and venison, one for lamb and beef (as well as fat for rendering into lard or tallow), one for poultry like chickens and duck.

The final freezer that’s about half the size of our larger freezers is where we store all of our homemade dairy products. Items like homemade butter, frozen milk, and even some cheeses like mozzarella that tend to freeze well.

If you feel like you’re ready to start storing more of your own food, be sure to check out the seven pantry staples I’m NEVER without, and our post on how to build up your food supply and properly store it for long-term storage.

A woman pouring boiling water into jars of raw packed canned stew.
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Great to meet you!

It is our goal to encourage you in the path to a more healthy, more secure and free lifestyle by sharing and teaching the skills that lead to greater sustainability and self-sufficiency for you, your loved ones and your community.

– Carolyn and Josh 

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