Wednesday, January 17, 2018

A Winter Pantry

In the old days, the mothers would garden all summer and then, in the fall, they canned and put things away for the winter. And, also in the fall, they would go to the General Store and buy supplies that they couldn’t grow at home. Things like coffee and flour sugar and salt, baking powder and baking soda and yeast. All in amounts that would last the winter. They took their corn and had it ground up at the Grist Mill for corn meal, to make cornbread. The mothers stored their food away for the winter, as they only went to the store every 6 months or so. Once it began to snow, they couldn’t even get to the store.

Now days with so many viruses going around I wouldn’t want to take my children out to the store, especially in the winter, and especailly if they were little babies. So it’s nice now if you can get some staples to bake with and to make some simple meals with, while it isn’t that cold yet.

I know it’s hard to get a lot of money together to buy ahead. But here are some ideas for your winter baking cabinet. I have an old hoosier cupboard in my dear little kitchen that is only big enough to hold “some” baking supplies, but not bags of sugar and flour. In this little cupboard, I have baking powder and baking soda and salt. Then I have a spice cabinet by the stove and it holds all of my spices. Mainly, I use cinnamon for baking and nutmeg and ginger. Then I have vanilla extract. These would be good to start out with. I have a lot of spices in there, but I have bought them as I have gone along. If you dont have any spices, just start out buying a few at a time.

I keep my flour in the freezer. The flours I have on hand are the corn meal for cornbread, then the whole wheat flour and white. It’s nice if you can afford the self riseing flour, too. It’s nice to have on hand for biscuits and pancakes. But you don’t really need it as you can add your own baking powder to plain flour. It’s nice if you can keep a jar of plain flour next to your stove to use for gravy and home made puddings, as you just need a tablespoon here and there. Also a jar of sugar to sprinkle on stewed fruit … it’s handy like that. But if you could maybe buy some flour and sugar ahead, this way you can always have supplies to bake with.

I try to have raisins and oatmeal for my winter pantry, dry cocoa and a few cans of shortening, like Crisco. Then corn oil and brown sugar. Some of these bulk items, I store on top of my refrigerator.

Then, of course, the old time mothers canned their fruits and vegetables. Maybe you could find some sales and buy up cans of corn and peas and green beans and tomatoes, some canned peaches and pears. Canned items are so great to have and to make meals with.

Potatoes are such a staple for us, too, and apples, onions, and carrots. The old time mothers stored these vegetables in the root cellar.

Then, maybe you could find a buy on ground beef and chicken and store that away.

Maybe while things are pretty cheap in the store, before winter, just buy up these staples with the money you have. Just think of staples to make things with. Try to get along without the mixes and see how much you can pack away for the winter.

Well, Papa will be home in a minute, so I had better say Good-night for now.

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