And all that jazz (or food)
So, with the recent grocery challenge throwdown, I thought it would be helpful for myself if I took a really in-depth inventory of all the food in my house.
Holy smokes, what an eye-opening experience! It took me two hours (including organizing a new shelf we got from Craigslist) to write it all down. First, I was really proud of the fact that our monthly grocery budget is pretty low, but we’ve managed to accumulate a great stockpile…though it’s small if you’re a prepper (which we’re not). I found very little “random” food during my inventory; nary a lima bean in sight. What was so surprising to me was the vast amount of food we have in our house. It was everywhere and there was so much!
The list doesn’t include condiments or the giant bulk supply I have of oats, evaporated cane juice (organic sugar), and wheat grains (for use in my grain mill). I have eight plastic food grade five gallon buckets fitted with gamma lids and they hold the “big stuff”.
I started this challenge to save up for a big bulk purchase. I ended up taking the money I wasn’t spending this month on groceries, and went ahead and already got the stuff I needed (25 lbs organic popcorn, 15 lbs butter, gallon of coconut oil, and a few things I can’t remember). They are included in the totals below, but we would have made it through the month without them. I am not including condiments or spices in the totals.
Here is all the food I have in my house (click the link below to open the Word document):
Here are a few photos of my basement storage
Do you buy the fancy expensive nut butters that don’t require you to stir them? Well, did you know they need a stabilizer to keep the oil from separating from the nut butter? Oh yeah. Many people are grossed out by the peanut or almond butter that you have to stir, but all nut butters have that layer of oil in them…stabilizers just keep them already “mixed”.
Troy came up with a great idea about two years ago after I was crazy annoyed with having to stir a giant tub of peanut butter (only ingredients: peanuts and salt). Now, we store the container upside down so the oil goes to the “top”. So, when you turn it over to use it for the first time, it is easy to stir without the oil slopping all over the sides. The man is a genius, I tell yah.
IKEA has these great cloth boxes that are supposed to be for drawer organization. We had them for Jack’s dresser, but now that homeboy is getting so big, only his socks and underwear are able to fit in the containers, so I repurposed them for the basement to hold fruit leathers, and some bottles of sauce.
Freezer before the challenge
This inventory list has been HUGE for me in planning meals, snacks, etc. And the sheer amount of food that we have is insane. Despite the mix of “oh my gosh, why do I have so much” and “hey, we’ve done well without a ton of money”, the overwhelming sense of feeling I get is gratitude that I have the means to stock up. I recognize that many people in the US don’t have such means, and around the world this would be an unheard of amount of food for billions of people.
How about you? Did you take a food inventory before starting this challenge? Do you think it will help you be creative with your meal planning?