Building a food security blanket should be on the forefront of every woman’s mind but especially beginners. It’s the whole crux of living self-sufficiently from your kitchen. So, this post will cover some pantry staples & long-term food storage but also address common issues of limited space or budgets. And in the end, you know I’ have to’ll leave you with some actionable steps for immediate implementation because you’ve got to do this!
The Importance of a Food Security Blanket
Food Freedom. OK?
It promises sustenance & empowerment. It’s both how you slip quietly into the realm of kitchen self-sufficiency and the ultimate goal of living more self-sufficiently from your kitchen. This is really important so I’m excited to share what I’m learning about with building a food security blanket. It’s the safety net you can start building no matter how limited your space or budget may be.
Essential pantry staples aren’t just ingredients you should be stocking, hello. They are the building blocks of what eventually becomes a resilient food supply. And I hope by the end of this you can comfortably acknowledge that food self-sufficiency is achievable for you & your family. Especially if you’re not in a space of life right now where you have a sprawling garden or raise your own meat & eggs.
I’m talking to you if you’ve ever felt in your bone marrow that you don’t just need more kitchen skills; you need a firm security system in place. We should live at the ready at all times, but how can you do that if you only put your eggs in one basket, so to speak?
What food freedom isn’t…
Fresh out the pressure canner, these jars represent a 7-meal increase to our food security runway.
What I’m sharing today isn’t about being afraid or panicking. Everything happening in the world today has been & will continue to be things that plague all generations.
Wars, famines, death. The difference is, food is poorer quality, more expensive to buy & overall a struggle to find for some today. But that might not be your story. Food is within your grasp & you should pay more attention to it.
What you buy, cook, store or share.
I would add to that, make it available. And all the time, yeah? So buckle up & let’s get into the mix of sustenance & better preparedness!
Pantry Staples are the Bedrock of Your Food Security Blanket
Fortifying your food supply means you need to consider what staples you have, how to source the others you don’t have but need & how to organize them in the most efficient & sustainable way. That’s the whole cycle. You do that then just rinse & repeat. Because trust me, seeing it all splayed out all over your counter or huddled into secret little piles in the back of your kitchen cabinets will drive you crazy eventually.
The Essential Pantry Staples
Because I cover a lot of this good stuff in detail already, I’m just gonna give you the skinny here & point you there for later (pantry staples you need in a self-sufficient kitchen).
Simplicity breeds excellence in the kitchen. And I’m alllll about simple. I love being in the kitchen & all, but not struggling I don’t!
Simpler is easier to remember & often more versatile & friendlier for beginners. So these essential pantry staples are just about as simple as simple gets. The whole point is to make you stronger, better and more self-sufficient in the kitchen. And that’s the purpose of building your own food security blanket.
Here are 4 main types of basic pantry staples.
- Grains and Legumes:
- Fill your pantry with versatile grains like rice, quinoa & oats. Then complement these with a variety of legumes—beans, lentils, chickpeas, etc. for added protein & substance to your meals.
- Canned Goods:
- Quite possibly home canned too! The convenience of canned goods like tomatoes, beans, or tuna will have you more likely to stick around & make something from scratch even when you really just don’t have it in you. These items have a lengthy shelf life (like years long) & provide flexibility. Plus, it’s so easy to crack open a jar of home canned sweet potatoes & wild-caught salmon & enjoy them. LITERALLY, no cooking required. My type of easy!
- Oils and Vinegars:
- Basic cooking requires good fats & flavors. Stock up on cooking oils (olive oil, vegetable oil) & vinegars (apple cider, balsamic, etc.) to up the essence of your dishes.
- Herbs and Spices:
- These little bits pack a punch! From the warmth of cinnamon to the zest of cumin (one of my faves, actually), these are flavor enhancers & they’ll help you take something simple & transform it into something delectable.
Sourcing & Storing Pantry Staples
Building your pantry doesn’t have to break the bank. And honestly, I’m glad you’re here because that’s a motto of my life.
I have no intention of breaking the bank over much of anything. Ever. But I’m also not willing to compromise on quality or nutrition. And that’s not to say we buy everything organic, non-GMO, hormone-free, vegan, paleo or anything like that.
Simply put: we do the best we can with what we have. And that is all.
And that’s all you need to do too. As we reap financial gain from our self-sufficient kitchen habits, we move up. Don’t break your neck, back or wallet trying to be or do something you can’t afford. Make the best choice & purchase you can with the knowledge & funds you have at any given time. As you learn more or save more, when you’re ready to level up – then level up!
- Buying in Bulk:
- Purchase essential pantry staples in bulk because that reduces the overall costs & minimizes the frequency of shopping trips. So not only will you save time, brain space & money, you’ll have a constant supply of the basics.
- Sales & Discounts:
- Keep an eye on sales & discounts at your local grocery store or discount market. Look into produce auctions. YES – it’s a thing! Take note of the overflow of certain produce items as the seasons change. Timing your purchases, especially the bulk ones, to coincide with discounts allows you to stock up on pantry staples without straining your budget. If you’re not aware of the sales cycle, start keeping a record of what you buy, when, where & how much in your kitchen logbook!
Tips for Efficient Pantry Organization in Small Spaces
Limited kitchen space requires creative organization but it doesn’t have to limit you completely. You can still maximize your pantry’s potential even in the coziest corners, trust me.
- Use Creative Shelving:
- Vertical space is your friend, but often forgotten. Don’t be like that! Install shelves above countertops or along unused walls to open up more room for storage without sacrificing precious floor space. Renting? No problem. Have a conversation with your property manager to see what consensus you can come to. And often times, if you’re not putting up massive equipment, small holes can be patched before you move out really easily.
- Space-Saving Containers:
- Opt for clear, stackable containers to store grains, legumes or other dry goods you’ll use routinely throughout the month. This not only keeps your pantry visually organized but also allows you to make the most of available space.
Add a Long-Term Food Storage Component to your Food Security Blanket
Plan for the future. Long-Term Storage & Food Security go Hand-in-Hand
Preparing for the future is what long-term food storage is all about. You need careful planning and the right techniques to ensure your food security blanket is sustainable & reliable. There are 3 type of long-term storage I’ll cover today.
These tend to have extended expiration dates & include food like dried pasta, canned vegetables or vacuum-sealed grains. And using these techniques helps that food maintain the quality over extended periods. Like 1-4 years or more if stored properly. Use your best judgement though if you’re ever unsure about something you find in your pantry.
Freeze-Dried & Dehydrated Options
Dehydrated food has been around for ages & many people are familiar with it.
If not, have you ever heard of jerky? That’s dehydrated meat. Fruit leather? Yep, that’s a fruit roll-up.
Freeze dried foods are newer, but all the craze for homesteaders these days seems like. Both are wonderful additions to your food security runway & simple (although costly on the freeze dryer) at home food preservation methods that lock in nutrients & flavors while offering lightweight, space-saving options.
We use both methods since having found a Nesco FD-50 at a thrift store. But we actually purchased our own Harvest Right at home freeze dryer a couple years ago shortly after our first child was born. I used it to turn my oversupply of breastmilk into homemade baby formula. Now we run everything from produce to homemade bone broth to meats & more through it!
Familiarize yourself with the basics of canning, ok? Because you’re going to encounter this one EVERYWHERE.
So whether you start with water bath canning high-acid foods like tomatoes or you go with pressure canning low-acid foods like meats, this skill allows you to preserve seasonal foods & favorite meals & that makes food accessible to you. This is your food security blanket being built!
Beginner-Friendly Long-Term Storage Techniques – Here’s how you do it.
1. Start with Small Batches
Begin this incredible journey by focusing on small batches. Doing so allows you to hone your skills without overwhelming your resources or space. We want the food security blanket we’re putting in place to ease our minds & support us in chaotic times, not be the chaotic thing that sends us over the edge! So by starting small, maybe instead of the 2lb bag of flour, you pick up the 5lb bag to store on your shelf.
2. Budget-Conscious Storage Solutions
Invest in budget-friendly & sustainable (I mean, reusable) storage solutions. Things like mason jars, mylar bags, and vacuum-sealed pouches. These options extend the shelf life of your foods without requiring a substantial financial commitment. Except for jars which I’ve found can be increasingly expensive. Thrift through family, friends, Marketplace or OfferUp style platforms! I once scored over 170 jars (mostly quarts but some smaller) from a couple downsizing that were $0.73/jar!
3. Choose Foods with Long Shelf Lives
Prioritize foods with extended shelf lives in your long-term storage. Items like honey, dried fruits, and powdered milk aren’t only versatile but they have an impressively long lifespan when stored properly. It’s ok to be selective! Your money will ultimately be what you eat or waste here.
Take Action – Tips to Start Your Food Security Blanket Today
You know what this is. It’s time to roll up your sleeves & take your first (or next) steps toward building your food security blanket. Here are practical, actionable steps you can take immediately to start setting the stage for your journey to food freedom.
A. Quick Wins in Pantry Staple Arena
Inventory Your Current Supplies – Take stock of what you already have in your pantry using something as simple as a basic kitchen inventory management worksheet. Identify gaps in what you have vs what you need & note items nearing expiration. This helps you prioritize what to buy & prevents unnecessary duplicates. Always start with a baseline. Your most current inventory check is that baseline.
Prioritize Essential Pantry Staples – Speaking of prioritizing, make a list of essential pantry staples based on your preferred cuisines or dietary preferences. These are going to be the backbone of your meals so choose what you love first!
Shop for Staple Items – Take your list through your pantry, freezers/fridges before going to the grocery store or shopping online. If you do need to buy something, look for sales, discounts & bulk options to make the most of your budget. Don’t forget that a buy one get one sort of purchase is a way of “buying in bulk”.
B. Initial Long-Term Storage Ventures
Start with Durable Goods – These have a naturally extended shelf life so start here then move on to others with shorter expirations/best by dates. The better the shelf life, the longer your food security blanket will cover you when needed.
Experiment with Canning – You’ll arrive at this skill in due time, but I recommend jumping in to get your feet wet now! Try water bath canning – the simpler choice compared to pressure canning. Pick a small batch of high-acid foods like jams or pickles to familiarize yourself with the canning process. So long as it’s something you actually see yourself eating, have fun with it! I absolutely LOVE Preserving by the Pint. It’s the most beginner-friendly, non-committal way to start canning in small spaces.
Invest in Storage Containers – Purchase a few storage containers suitable for long-term storage. You need to prevent moisture, air & pests/rodents from getting to your precious cargo.
C. Set Realistic Goals for Sustainable Progress
Create a Food Calendar – Plan your meals for the week or the next few days. Overachiever? Plan for the next 4-6 weeks. Incorporate both routinely used pantry staples & long-term storage items. This not only ensures a well-balanced diet but also helps you use items before they reach their expiration dates. Reduce food waste, save money!
Gradually Expand Your Repertoire – Don’t overwhelm yourself by trying to stock your pantry all at once. That’s bad on you, your organization, time & money. Go slowly lovely. Gradually expand your collection of pantry staples & experiment with new long-term storage techniques as you become more comfortable in the kitchen. Remember that you’re not just learning what are staples to your kitchen, but the meals you make from those staples too.
Document Your Progress – Track this progress in your self-sufficient kitchen logbook! Note successes, challenges & any adjustments you make. This also serves as a valuable resource for future activities.
Hopefully this mini guide has you feeling ready to start building your own food security blanket! But this is just the beginning. As you increase your food security blanket or runway, you’ll experience a stronger self-sufficient kitchen. And I think you’ll be so hooked you won’t be able to stop!
So get going on this alright? You’ve got this lovely.
🌱 Start Small. Start Now. Start where you are with what you have. The rest will follow.🌱
Is being more self-sufficient is something you’re interested in but you’re not sure where to begin?
Then check out the Self-Sufficient Living Roadmap!
I designed it to help you eliminate some of the overwhelm of starting an incredibly massive journey.