Saturday, 20 January 2018

The Stores - Musings

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.

Sue xx


  1. Very true and for some, ways and means of cooking, just in case.

  2. You do have a very good stores and freezer stock.
    I don't go yellow sticker shopping every week I will go through phases, and also there are more people at it so I can't get as much as normal, so the way I work it is when I can't get anything I use something from the store cupboard and the freezer and I regularly batch cook so there is always a home made meal in the freezer.

  3. I have a very well filled store cupboard which i think is essential for cooking on a strict budget and at the moment a full freezer filled with home made fillings for pies , spag bowls , chilli , sliced cooked yellow sticker meat , One thing i don't do though is grow my own as i cant get down so low to weed and plant , I have thought about raised beds which i might give a go this year xxx

    1. We have 3 high raised beds made from large thick sleeper type planks of wood. They are about 3’ x 4’ and around 28” tall. Also a raised bed made with normal planks about 3’ x 2’. They make such a difference to not having to kneel.

  4. I LOVE your preserves cupboard and the whole post makes me feel a lot better about my copious supplies of food, thank you!
    J x

  5. Love your cupboard, it's so nice to see things at a glance.

  6. I've just re-stocked my store cupboard. Two days ago it was 28 degrees here with ice on the plants...I was glad not to need to venture to Aldi.

  7. The joy of blogging.............being able to nose into someones else's cupboards!

    For a minute I though you'd pinched my photo of that 'Dig for Victory Now' postcard which is stored in blog files on the old blog, but no, your table top is different!

    1. I'd tell you if I pinched something ;-)

      I have lots of these postcards and bits and bobs which I have photographed and they'll appear over the course of the year.

    2. I knew you hadn't really,
      I've also got lots of these postcards - they were supposed to be used but I can't bear to part with them!

    3. Haha, I'm exactly like you ... I have lots of postcards and cards that 'are too nice' to send 😉

  8. Having a good selection of herbs and spices is important, I find I can make a delicious meal out of the most boring vegetables.

  9. I always keep dried and tinned beans in store cupboard plus passata or chopped tomatoes, Worcester sauce, herbs and spices, and for the freezer I make a chopped frozen onion and pepper mix. That way I can always rustle up a tasty bean stew if the need arises

  10. a good store cupboard.
    yes, time to make marmalade..the fruit is in the shops, and once made it has to mature

  11. The picture of the rations.....who would that be for? A single person or a family?

  12. We grew Borlotti beans last year. We dried them out and I have a large Kilner jar full of these delights. They are brilliant addition to a chilli (a firm favourite in our house) after they have been carefully rehydrated. I am certainly considering drying a lot more of our grown food this year.

  13. It does alarm me how little food some people keep in stock at their house. A neighbour of mine in my old house only had their food for a week. I'm not sure what she would have done if she couldn't shop when she planned to, or if something had interrupted the supermarkets restocking.

    I don't have enough food for months but I could feed all of us for quite a while (though the family may have to eat beans more regularly than they'd like!). After the riots a few years ago a journalist commented on the 'just in time' restocking by the supermarkets and with the calculation that people will go hungry for 3 days before they start to take the law into their own hands wrote that we are 9 meals from anarchy. I find that quite a sobering thought.

    I think you'd enjoy Sharon Astyk's books, especially Independence Days and Depletion and Abundance.

  14. Am drooling over your preserves cupboard at this moment in time!


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