So, frugal confession time. I am a food hoarder. Or you could say a fan of stockpiling, which sounds perhaps a bit softer? I grew up in a house that always had tons of tinned, frozen and dried goods there, and when I grew up, I turned out the same. As someone who can never resist a bargain, the stores quickly build up.
[Sidenote: my brother is the opposite, you have to check if he has milk if you go round for a cup of tea].
As I did the larder Jenga again this week, I realised it is time to stop the bulk buying and start emptying out the larder.
When I ended up here
In addition to bargains and bulk purchases, my larder is full of things that have fallen out of the rotation. Maybe they take too long to cook. Or I don’t have a good recipe for them. Or I can’t remember what I usually cook it with. Either way, no matter how they got there, I have a good stock of many items.
Truth be told, I could live off the food in my house for months. After a while, it would get bland and I’d maybe need a few more veggies, but to give you an idea of the quantity, at least two months is probably an understatement.
*[When I say larder, I am envisioning a grand organised walk-in pantry. However, in reality, it is some saggy shelves in the cupboard under the stairs].
Dealing with the stockpile
This is not my first rodeo. I cycle through stockpiling and eating up phases on a biannual basis. I’m pretty sure it does also save me money, as I get things in bulk and when they are at *very* attractive prices. But it’s only saving and an economy if I *actually* eat them, so now it’s time to eat.
And so, in search of inspiration, I hit up my dear friend google and look for some inspiration. I cast the net wide and don’t search for any particular sites, but just see what takes my fancy. And find some recipes that don’t need many additional ingredients, but that set my tastebuds alight. For me, that is spicy and fragrant dishes.
Then get a taste for the languished food
Yes, that is me. After ignoring the food for ages, then making an effort to cook it, I get the taste for it again. That long-forgotten flavour suddenly becomes quite tempting. I am one of those weird people that can eat the same thing for days on end. And then still get a craving for it the next day. So I repeat meals again and again. As why not, especially if it is very yummy.
And this stage is what I call success. A previously ignored food item is back in fashion. It is suddenly tasty, delicious and food to crave. Moreover, the stockpile is diminished. But, and the kind of flaw here is when I still have the taste for it. Cause then what happened? Obviously, I go and buy more and added to the larder again.
But I’ll call this good and rotation, right? As the ultimate aim is to eat up the non-perishables before I have forgotten about them. The true aim is not necessarily to have an empty larder, just one with a little more breathing room. As someone who doesn’t believe in best before dates, this rotation seems common sense and a good solution to the downsides of bulk buying.
This year I have lots of
So what do I have? Each cycle it’s something different. Last time it was flours, jelly, peas and dahl.
This time there are loads of beans, beans and beans. I buy them on offer and do actually eat them a lot. Nonetheless, I am getting such a backlog that needs to be eaten. Mainly white kidney beans and other white beans that were on special, and do taste amazing. Funnily enough, I never end up with black beans or pinto beans languishing, as they are harder to get here and naturally go in a lot more Mexican type recipes I make.
My lentil collection mirrors the beans in variety but not volume. I have red, green, brown and puy, but all in kinda small quantities. Add in an impressive bulgar wheat collection (did you know there are so many different types), a few couscouses, a few kinds of pasta, quinoa and rice you can understand the volume we are dealing with here!
And now comes the fun bit of the stockpiling cycle: new recipes! I clearly need a lot of pulse recipes this time.
So here is what I am thinking of making:
- Lentil, Sweet Potato and Coconut Soup
- Persian Noodle Soup
- Mushroom and Lentil Bolognese
- Saucy Moroccan Spiced Lentils
What other options can you think of? (Ah, and if you hadn’t already guessed, I’m veggie).
Over the next few months, I’m going to commit to making at least one large pot of stockpile food a week. Although I live alone, I always cook on a large scale; leftovers are yummy. And I’m a big portion-er and straight in the freezer for home-cooking.
So my challenge to myself is not to buy any more bargains. Keep to the plan and cook something tasty using up the stores at least once, if not more, each and every week.
Over to you
- What are your thoughts?
- Are you a fan of stockpiling?
- Do you rotate your food stores?