Time to Stock Up

Sorry for not posting on my usual Mondays. No internet for days.

Several weeks ago I said that I wouldn't be shopping until inflation settled down a bit. Even though many prices were starting to stabilize, the cost of gas/oil suddenly skyrocketed, putting a stranglehold on shipping and all the industries affected by oil. Hence, prices are now higher than ever.

My spidey sense has been tingling though. It’s like seeing lightning and knowing the thunderstorm isn’t far off. There has been too much saber rattling of late. Not so much from the states, but by many of the US’s allies. If any of them get into trouble with the bullies of the world, we have an obligation to help.

If you think prices are high now wait until there’s another world war. All it would take is for someone to take a step too far.

To that end, I’ve decided to start buying a few things I’d hate to live without—or can’t grow easily in Texas heat.

I’m going to tell you what I’m stocking, but your circumstances may be different. Run a checklist on your pantry and supply closet. What are the things you would hate to run out of if they became unavailable? Put those first on your list.

Garden: I’ve already stocked up on seeds. I got caught with my pants down early in the pandemic and my favorite seed companies sold out before I could reorder. Not this time. I got everything but onion seed—which is best bought fresh.

Supplies: I’m also well stocked with oil, alcohol, alcohol wipes, and hydrogen peroxide. None of these items are anything I can produce here. They were also in staggeringly short supply during the pandemic.

My other concern came up recently. When my immersion blender stopped working suddenly, I panicked. It’s the only way for me to emulsify food for Jammy, my disabled cat.

I have a quality grinder—for which I paid big bucks, but it’s electric. I have to find an old fashioned food mill. It still might not emulsify as much as required, but I might be able to mash the meat into puree with enough liquid.  

Why a manual food mill? Because many times we are without power for one reason or another. I can’t tell Jammy to wait a couple of days until the power’s back, can I? He’s a cat. He would be rightly miffed. And he’s not a quiet cat when he’s miffed. MEOW!


Food: This is where I’m going to mix things up this time. Generally I’m all about stocking cans or freezer food, but this time I’m adding commercially dehydrated food.

The reasons are two-fold. Dehydrated food takes up less room. Also, because we’re older and not prone to polishing off a whole bag of potatoes or a pound of cheese in a sitting, dried foods will patiently wait until we’re ready to use more.

Dehydrated Meals: If you’ve gone camping, you may have already tried some dehydrated meals. They’re not bad. 

I’m going more for specific ingredients to supplement what I already have. But you can buy the whole meal if it suits you. Just add water and heat.

I would choose companies that produce and process food in the US or Canada. Don’t get cheap and get the off-world stuff. You’ll notice it in the taste and texture.

That said, you’re better off buying some foods in bulk rather than through companies that sell dehydrated food.

Such food would be flour, salt, sugar, powdered milk, oatmeal, dried beans, and rice/pasta. All of these foods can be bought in bulk and repackaged to the amounts that suit your needs. If you’re storing them for long term, do yourself a favor and invest in a vacuum sealer. There are many brands out there, but I’ve always liked and bought FoodSaver.

I still have powdered milk that I vacuumed sealed seven years ago. I use it now with no difference in flavor. Note: powdered milk will never taste as good as fresh milk, but it’s indistinguishable in baked goods.

When I make my list, I always take into account what I would miss most if it was unavailable, un-growable, or too expensive.

I can grow a lot of vegetables, but I have to plant during the sweet spot between the hot temperatures of north Texas and the one month of bitter cold in February.

I would hate to be without tomatoes, onions, potatoes, cheese, and oil. That’s my starting point.

And don’t forget textured vegetable protein (TVP). It’s good even if it looks weird and it’s a great substitute for meat whether you’re a carnivore or vegan.

How about you? What food would you hate to live without?

PS. Keep some water stored too.


Mike Keyton said…
I think you’re right ref the looming storm. You’ll probably need a shot gun as well to defend what you’ve stored 😎. On a happier note, how are the Canterbury Bells doing?
Maria Zannini said…
re: shotgun
Well, I hope it doesn't come to that.

re: Canterbury bells
Oh, Mike, they were doing so well up until the heat came on. We've had triple digits for six weeks now. I had them in pots but got cocky (and out of space) so I put them out in the landscape. It was still springlike and they transitioned well, but once the heatwave arrived no amount of watering seemed to help.
nightsmusic said…
Probably most people won't want to hear this, but we are well armed and well ammo'ed. So while I would hope that won't be something we'd have to rely on, we do plan for most any occasion.

I buy a 5 gallon container of water once a month and into the basement it goes. I probably have enough for a year though we also have an old manual pump with handle and the pipes to go with that we can slap on our well so either way, we'd have water. I have a grill and a smoker and both take wood. With five full cords in the back, mostly oak and cherry and a really efficient fireplace, we'd be okay for at least a year and there are so many places to pick up wood here. I can smoke almost everything in the freezer and store it in the root cellar so that's not a problem. My pantry is pretty stocked (Love Bob's Red Mill!!) so while I hope things would never get that bad, you just never know. But we'd survive.

FWIW, I've tried to plant Canterbury Bells every year since we moved here and every year, they die. I give up.

Hope the knee is coming along!!
Maria Zannini said…
nightmusic: I love Bob's Red Mill too! It's my absolute favorite. I always stock up when it goes on sale.

While I stock water and rotate it out by using it on my plants I'm wondering about long term. Recently, I started reading about people canning water. At first I thought it was silly, but it is the safest way to store water, albeit inconvenient. By boiling then canning you eliminate any chance of bacteria and the off-gassing and break down of plastic containers.

My one problem and nothing I've found on the internet yet is how to "unflatten" water. After water has sat in storage for a few months it goes "flat". According to the internet, small amounts of carbon dioxide dissolves into the water lowering the ph.

Maria does not like lower ph water. LOL! I don't want to manipulate it, I just want it to remain stable. I'm wondering if canning will help. Since I've not found anyone to corroborate this, I might have to test it myself.

re: Canterbury Bells
Oh, thank heaven. I thought it was just me. I had been so careful since it was a gift.

re: the knee
He's doing very well. He still complains about a shooting pain that comes out of nowhere. He'll be sitting, not moving at all and a stab of pain hits him then subsides.

Right now my nursing duties have shifted to Odin. He has eye surgery tomorrow. He is a very bad patient. He know now that a vet visit means pain and I wish it hadn't turned out that way. Even to sedate him is a Herculean task.
nightsmusic said…
Jimmy's phantom stabbing pains have subsided. That's nerve pain and it's normal. This too shall pass.

Water will never 'go bad' though I get what you mean about the plastic it's stored in. You can try finding it in the glass that they used to use for watercoolers, but that would be the only alternative. I'm not interested in having a thousand quart jars of canned water so won't be trying that one. If I'm that concerned, I'll boil it before I use it, but you could look up the bottler of your water and see if there are any pfas or anything else used in the plastics they bottle in. I try to only buy Absopure here but I doubt they're in your area.

I'm sorry about Odin. Murphy doesn't seem to care one way or another about the vet. It's too bad they all can't be that way :(
Maria Zannini said…
nightmusic: It's been a godsend to have you as a sounding board. Knowing Jimmy's surgery was a month+ ahead of Greg's it helps me to navigate and understand what's going on.

Thank you.
nightsmusic said…
Awwww...you're welcome! I'm glad to have helped in any way. Jimmy's so forgotten the first two weeks that he's talking about getting the right one done, it's bad but not quite as horrible as the left, around Thanksgiving. I'm not looking forward to that, but at least they'll be over and done with!