It's only because of our stores of food that I have been able to keep our spending so ridiculously low this month.
During the first three weeks of this year I've done two shops, one where I spent the grand total of 16p, thanks to having an Asda Price Guarantee coupon and being in the right place at the right time to get a shed load of bread items and a couple of treats for pennies, thanks to yellow stickers. And the second shopping trip spending just £6.76 thanks again to shopping at the end of the day and finding some yellow stickers.
Now this 'lucky' shopping is not going to be a regular thing, as much as I would like it to be and this is not a 'yellow sticker bargain blog' with me out and about chasing bargains ... although I do love those blogs and they do inspire me. No this is going to be more about how we use what we have in store.
And food stores are important.
Shops these days only hold enough for an additional 24 hours of fresh sales, and they mostly only have for sale that which you see on their shelves of the longer life dried, bottled and canned goods. The days of large warehouse space behind supermarkets was gradually phased out a few years ago.
When I worked for a year as an online picker if it wasn't on the shelf we could go into the warehouse and see if there was more stock waiting to come out. Just as I was leaving my job (it was at Sainsbury's) the shop was being redeveloped to have only a quarter as much warehouse space and the rest being opened up into the store for more homewares. This was all thanks to the EPOS tills and the new technology that now fills out order requirements for the stores next days deliveries, all ready for the lorries to deliver the goods overnight from central locations ... have you driven on the motorway overnight recently? If you were in a car you would have found yourself to be in the minority, as Tesco, Asda, Waitrose, and other stores lorries all vie to overtake each other on the inside and middle lanes.
It's a whole other world.
The main food cupboard.
And this is where what we store at home, either bought in goods, home produced goods or home grown goods is so vitally important. We really do need to know that if we can't get out, due to bad weather, ill health or other unexpected reasons we can still put together enough meals for at the very least a few days. If it's the weather that causes our inability to shop is it also going to stop the new deliveries getting through to the shops. We just need to be aware and be prepared ... yes I was a Girl Guide :-)
With dried and canned goods in cupboards, frozen foods in freezers and enough fresh foods such as potatoes, bananas, apples etc either in cupboards or bowls we can breathe easy knowing that we have resources at our fingertips to keep ourselves, our families and any visitors alive and reasonably happy.
Wartime rations, supplemented with vegetables and off ration items.
We are very, very lucky these days. Even the most hard up of us will have a basic larder of spices, herbs, condiments etc and couple of bags of Smart Price pasta and jars of Smart Price pasta sauces or tins of tomatoes to rustle up reasonably filling and relatively healthy meals for a few day. We will most likely also have some frozen or fresh vegetables that can be turned into soup etc etc. How much less they had in the war years, and in the years after due to rationing. Stock held in homes at the start of the war no doubt dwindled away very quickly and you would not have be able to build up supplies in the same way again.
Those of us with more money these days will have much more in stock. We have very good stores at the moment, although even through this month I see things very gradually creeping down. I took photos of the cupboards, freezers etc on the first of the month and will do so again each month to see how things are used.
The house freezer.
I have brought some things in from the freezer in the workshop to refill the shelves in the house freezer but they are both still full of lots of very balanced foods to prepare whole meals from.
Of course in a few months it will be time to start planting vegetables over in the poly and net tunnels and in the Veggie Patch, and then that will see us 'living off the land' for a few months as well as preparing, preserving and freezing foods to last us over next Winter. And that is the cycle of food production when you grow your own. While we are still in the process of eating last years homegrown vegetables from the freezer and from the jars of bottled goods we are already planning what we will be eating this time next year.
The Preserve Cupboard.
Just to show you what is in the cupboard at the top of this post.
The contents of this are creeping down one jar of jam and one jar of chutney at a time. I thought I needed to make some marmalade but seeing this photo I realise there are still three jars waiting to be used.