Wednesday, 12 August 2020

Talking About Shops, Supplies and Preparedness

It was chance that meant I didn't panic when the shops ran out of loo roll in March. Luckily I'd just had my first delivery of 48 from the "Who Gives a Crap" company.

I'd also bought flour during February and can remember the checkout lady say "goodness you're going to do a lot of baking" and I said I was just restocking after Christmas and New Year. There actually wasn't a shortage of flour at the beginning of lock-down - only a lack of mills packing in small 1.5kg bags. The majority of flour sold in this country is either packed in 20kg sacks for bakeries or carried in bulk tankers for food manufacturing companies.

During the first week that the shelves emptied I opened a new pack of 6 yeast sachets and straight away wrote them on my shopping list - because that's what I do............ the supermarket yeast shelf was empty for weeks but luckily I found yeast before getting to the end of the pack.
So lack of stock on the shelves wasn't a cause for panic - and anyway there's always well stocked cupboards and freezer up the end of the lane..............miles from a shop.........you never know when it might be needed............... snow/car problems/dodgy knees or back.

In the fresh fruit gap after rhubarb and before the strawberries and raspberries  got going  I had a sort out of the tinned fruit on the top shelf and found I had one can of fruit cocktail dating back to BBE 5/2018 and 3 various others were BBE 2019. I remember buying extra cans of fruit when we were supposed to leave the EU first time round, as I imagined imports of fruit getting held up, but obviously didn't rotate my stock properly!
I ate my way through them - all were OK of course.
Now we've almost left the EU with discussions going on about trade tariffs and deal/no deal and once again it all happens at the time when there is a lack of English fruit available. So I'm going to re-stock with a few cans again.

The book I wrote about a while back talks about how the country prepared for rationing during wartime. People were urged not to hoard and of course many could not afford to buy anything extra to put away.


The Religious Community of Mormons are required to keep a supply of food stored away for themselves so they have enough to help other people where needed and that must have been useful for food shortages recently.

If you've ever watched any of the "Inside the Factory" programmes, (and there were also some made to show how food factories were affected during the early Covid problems) you will have seen how factories operate a 'Just in Time' ordering system, no storage at all.......straight from the truck into the production line.  Supermarkets only have small stockrooms now because with computerization they always know whats left on the shelves and items are ordered automatically. When shelves are empty it's rarely any good asking if there's some of what's missing 'out the back' anymore.

But going back to what I'd like  to store for any future lock-down or Brexit shortages and it would be the types of food that are my  favourite things to eat..........so not tins of baked beans, chick peas or lentils for sure!
I reckon flour is one of the best basic store-cupboard necessities for versatility . It stores well as long as it's dry and double wrapped. The local flour from Essex I bought a couple of weeks ago is dated March 2021 and that's only a Best Before date so in theory it would be possible to keep a years supply tucked away.Yeast can be kept in the freezer and once you have those you have bread - and I'd never get tired of toast.
 I've read that Ghee is a way of preserving butter and I know it's widely used in Indian cooking and keeps for a long time but I've never used it, so have no idea what it tastes like, is it only used in cooking? Can I spread it on my toast? 
Most dried and canned products will  keep for ages. I have a lot of space at the back corner of a corner cupboard that I could fill with all sorts but how much does one person need to store?
and what about if all over 50's are told to shield through the winter, which was one rumour mentioned - don't like that idea at all!

So many questions - such a rambling blog post!

If you've read this far you are probably as confused as I am.

Not a lot to blog about in this heat so I'll take a few days off.
Back Saturday

Sue


58 comments:

  1. Because we went down with covid19 so early on, and had to self-isolate before lockdown etc I was incredibly grateful for my Brexit Box. I think "Best Before" dates are a guideline... Many foodstuffs last way beyond the BBE although their quality my deteriorate a little. Teabags would definitely be on my list, and dried milk powder. I can manage without most things, but I need my cuppa!

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  2. I usually have some butter in the freezer for buttery emergencies. But the local dairy sells their cream in both the usual sized bottles and in 2 litre bottles. Increasingly I buy their 2 litre bottles and make my own butter (plus use some of the cream, of course). It is very, very lovely butter - and my food processor does all the hard work!

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    1. I keep butter and baking fats in the freezer too.

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  3. I couldn't get bread flour from Tesco for ages. I think it was the packaging that was the problem. When I eventually got some, it was in a plain white plastic bag with 'Tesco bread flour' stamped on it. It would certainly have lacked shelf appeal!

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    1. There's still a lack of own brand bread flour in Asda and Morrisons although I can get the local produced Marriages in Co-op

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  4. Agree with everything Sue, a ‘girl’ after my own heart except we can’t grow as much! Well wrapped flour freezes as well. I have got food in, an inventory which I shall keep up to date with, and will continue to get what I think I need, just in case of any scenario.

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    1. Thought my post was too rambling to get any replies but I was wrong!

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  5. Hi Sue. We luckily got to Bookers wholesalers just before lockdown so stocked up on flour, rice, oats, coffee, large cheese block, tinned toms and beans and other staples. We then made a monthly trip for the next two months. I do not enjoy going to the shops but have never been able to get a supermarket delivery so made other plans to go as early as possible and this generally worked. Take care.

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    1. Wearing a mask in shops in hot weather is the worst bit of supermarkets at the moment

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  6. I'm a great believer in keeping a stock of things 'on the shelf' (or freezer or whatever). It does take a bit of organising but worth doing - especially cans.
    xx

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    1. I forget whats on the top shelf because it needs climbing up on the kick stool to see it!

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  7. DC said it - you can freeze the flour to keep it fresh. Ghee is made by melting butter and skimming the surface. What is left sets, but is sort of 'clear' - yellow of course but looks oily. The flavour is of heated up butter and you could put it on your toast but it won't taste like fresh churn.

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    1. Flour would take up too much room in my freezer. I'll stick to keeping butter etc in the freezer rather than trying ghee I think

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    2. Ghee is wonderful for sautรฉing. It doesn't burn as quickly as butter.

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    3. If you freeze your flour for 48 hours and then take it out, you will have killed any bugs in it. Believe me it is worth doing it :-)

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  8. With the winter coming, Covid19 still about and Brexit looming, we are keeping our store cupboard stocks high, we have a good rota system going, if anything hits the fan, we should be able to hunker down and stay out of the madness.

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    1. I hope there isn't another lock down but wouldn't be surprised so will keep a good store in case

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  9. It is good sense to keep a reasonably well stocked food cupboard and I've been much more careful about this since the start of lockdown. Each time I visit the supermarket I put a few extra items in my trolley. X

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    1. I don't like to see empty shelves so usually have plenty in store

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  10. We have a very well stocked weird pantry , this weeks groceries consist of a 4kg bag of instant mash and 10kg of cat biscuits. I have sarcastic son doing my online shopping list for bulk stuff i need to top up for winter , but this is the usual stuff i buy with no shop access , dried potato is for once the garden potatoes are finished usually around January , dried onions are quite scarce and expensive this year they are useful once the onions start to sprout in the spring . My next big purchase is going to be mushrooms dried and tinned

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    1. I don't think I've ever used dried onions. My home grown are small with lack of rain but should last me several months

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  11. My husband and I are at polar ends of everything and it is a battle to convince him of certain things. I have always believed in a well stocked pantry and managed to have a small surplus of tinned stuff and my husband asks "Why?" However when Brexit came I managed to convince him that a stock cupboard was a necessity as we live out in the sticks miles from a supermarket and we are both in our 70s, so anything can happen to him health-wise, (he does the shopping now). He put some shelves up in a small room at the back of the garage and I made up a small inventory book. I label the packets and tins with the BBE date and rotate them, which has worked well. We had got a good supply of basic things before Covid-19 and just carried on getting a few things that were available every week. Because of this we have never been desperate if there are shortages in the shops.

    It does indeed pay to be prepared.

    Enjoy your break.

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    1. I like to see plenty of things on my shelves too

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  12. I always have a well stocked pantry of tinned food just the same as mum did. I was fine when I was snowed in for a week during Beast from the East and could have easily lasted longer. I don't have a freezer so my food is normally tinned and the rest is fresh and just kept in the fridge. I pay no attention whatsoever to scaremongering on news and media, they just want to sell newspapers/get viewing figures up and they talk nonsense 50% of the time. What they say has no bearing on what I keep in my pantry, I base that on common sense.

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    1. I've always had a freezer because of growing so much , but like to have tins too

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  13. Back tomorrow or back Saturday. I just picked up on Joan saying enjoy your break and wondered what that was about so had to re-read!

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    1. Thats what happens when i update a post thats sat in drafts for a while without reading it. Definitely Saturday

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  14. You could put Ghee on your toast but it does have a slightly oily texture.

    I think most of us, especially those of us used to living a good drive away from the shops have a pretty well stocked larder at all times, funnily enough the necessities for my larder are the things that you avoid. I NEED to have chickpeas, lentils and baked beans, but I do keep a stock of the dried versions as well now as they last longer and take up less space. I also like to have lots of tinned tomatoes, which can be the base for most sauces, soups or curries and are also good for a quick, healthy breakfast on toast.

    I have a well stocked little larder here at the Van with the spare bedroom little wardrobe shelf doubling as a back-up larder. I have just opened my last carton of almond milk though so I do need to replenish that next time I go to Aldi.

    As a few people have said you can put flour in the freezer, you can leave it there if you have the space as well as long as it is double bagged. But if you have somewhere cool and dry to store it that's the best way to store it but it's still a good idea to put it into the freezer for a couple of days to kill off any little weevil eggs that could be in the flour. I've only ever found them once in my flour but that was enough to make me do this with any flours I want to store for any length of time!!

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    1. Ghee sounds like butter that we used to have when it had to be warmed up on the mantlepiece to spread it when I was a child

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  15. It is strange that yeast was the last thing around here to come back on the shelves. I had a supply in the freezer but went over to sourdough starter in early April. Not nearly the faff that I thought it would be. Store it in the fridge and use it, mostly, to make pita bread. The pita dough keeps happily in the fridge for 5 days.

    Freezing flour takes up too much spare for me.

    Butter freezes well, I find.

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    1. Yeast is still missing form most shops but I've managed to find it once or twice in Asda.

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    2. That's so odd - the first yeast I saw back in the shops here was imported from the UK and a brand I'd never seen before!

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    3. I have found farm shops have been quite well stocked. Even found Rye flour to feed the sourdough starter. Since having the starter I have used yeast only a couple of times. For pita bread, I prefer the taste of the sourdough

      A friend made some wonderful sourdough starter Yorkshire puddings.

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  16. I put up a store of tinned and dried goods too, in anticipation of Brexit on March 2019, and had started into them over the winter. it meant I didn't have to panic buy when Covid arrived so I left that to those who felt it necessary to deprive others. Now, I restock from the back in every shop, with a few extra store cupboard cans and packets. I found flour stored in an airtight container perfectly useable 18 months after the BB date. I would not like to go without fresh food, but needs must, and I make sure my stocks do not run down now.

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    1. It's fresh fruit I would miss most if there were shortages

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  17. Friends have always laughed at me for keeping a well stocked pantry since I live in a city of 3m with access to thousands of shops - but - no one is laughing now. One thing I did during lockdown was go through my pantry and rotate everything. I keep canned and dried food and my freezer (above my fridge) is stuffed.
    I am trying to eat down more of the freezer so that I don't lose anything to freezer burn and because I want to change up what I eat and emphasize seafood a bit more than red meat.
    I am older, walk with a cane and use public transit - so - I have always stocked up for over the Winter as I can't use my bundle buggy in the snow.
    I am now picking up a lot more baking items - I have managed to find a few different flours and they are all in the fridge at the moment and this week I've been buying dried fruit and mixed peel with various nuts on the list for next week.
    PS - Have about 4 months worth of Loo Roll!

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    1. It's good to keep a stock when you have the sort of weather you can get over there!

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    2. Margie whereabouts (approx of course) do you live in TO? I lived in Willowdale for many years

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    3. I live on Bloor St. right next to the Humber River Bridge - just across the street from the Old Mill subway stn. I have a friend who lives in Willowdale.

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  18. I bought Polish fluffy cake flour when my usual brand was unavailable. It's been fine but my cakes are definitely not fluffy!

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  19. I order loose leaf tea from Twinings, my box came today. Yeast has arrived at last, and everything seems to be around at the Co-op. Started ordering nuts and dried fruit from Holland and Barrett. But there again small market towns seem to manage their food supplies.

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  20. We are well stocked with enough of everything to last at least six months. Hopefully my veg garden will be producing in the next week or two so I can leave my store cupboard alone until needed. I am currently making jam with hedgerow fruit so if nothing else we can always have jam on toast

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  21. Totally agree Sue always well stocked in Devon especially with basic. We used to freeze eggs when we lived in Libya. We would go months without them and then chicken would disappear. Flour and spices we bought from sacks and it came with added protein in the guise of weevils that I sieved and picked out. Enjoyed weekend with H,J & J๐Ÿ˜Š

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  22. Yes.....I am checking my food cupboard here in Hawaii too to make sure I have a stock of essentials as the Covid 19 virus is causing problems again here and we may end back in lock down. Because of our humid weather I will freeze things like rice and flour for a few days before putting in a container in the cupboard. With the recent shortage of flour I now keep the flour container in the fridge as it can go rancid after a few months otherwise. I know I have seen tinned butter out of New Zealand....not sure if they sell it in the UK. I have two large breadfruit trees in the back yard that are currently loaded with fruit so that is a good reserve. You cook the nearly ripe fruit to eat like potatoes. There is still a bit of a shortage of toilet paper here....it is the first thing everybody stocks up when there is warnings of hurricanes etc....another reason why it is good to have a few weeks worth of food in stock.

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  23. You are wise to always keep a well stocked cupboard and our recent experience with the lockdown serves as a reminder to us all. I have not kept as much as I should due to lack of space but since the lockdown I am now trying to make some space in our basement for additional canned food storage.

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  24. Keeping a rotation is quite a challenge, isn't it. I find recording what's in the deep freeze (and whereabouts in the depths I'll find it!) is a problem. Either I make a lovely record, and then don't cross things off as I take them out, or I shove them in and then can't find them. Have you a solution?

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  25. I've always kept a good store-cupboard as we're 10 miles from town and 3 from the nearest small shop/PO. I always have a spare of the things I don't use so regularly, herbs and spices for example, and when I start on the spare, a new one goes on the list. Things like tinned goods I keep a good stock of and make my own bread, so have just bought two more cans of yeast which will last a good while. (I had one in use (put in a glass jar) and one spare, now 3). Bread flour comes from the mill in BIG bags, but they get used eventually. Baking flour came from the mill too, and I'm well-stocked. We will soon have more than enough apples to see us through until February . . . Pears for as long as they keep as well.

    Butter, Cheese and Milk can be frozen . . .

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  26. I really appreciate google search and the internet for finding information about emergency food storage. There is plenty of info out there from companies and individuals who have experience with how to rotate foods, dehydrate foods, and keep them from bugs, along with ideas on how to organize, build and keep records of a food storage system.
    P.S. "Religious Community Mormons" i.e., The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, does not 'Require' their members to keep a year's supply of food stored. It is a Suggestion, which members typically find extremely difficult to follow. However, at least each of us has a month or two of food stored, which is better than nothing!
    I really enjoy reading this blog all the way from Maryland, US.

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  27. I have started to stock up a bit more than usual. Both Hubby and I are getting older and I really do not like to drive (or walk) on ice any longer. Considering our winters it just makes sense to stock up as much as is possible. I have discovered though, we do not like thawed frozen milk.

    Since everyone is talking about a second wave of Covid I really want to be prepared this time around.

    God bless.

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  28. I always used to do a quarterly stock-up on toilet paper, paper towels, detergent, etc. so I was in pretty good shape on the household items. Since we don't have children at home, I don't stock much in my pantry, buying more on a just in time basis and more fresher foods. When the lockdown started I restocked the pantry, but it is a different way of cooking, and in my case was not as healthy. Right now I am somewhere in between the two states of preparedness. But we are in a hot spot this month, so I have tucked a few extra things in the cart when shopping. The silliest thing I did was to buy bottled water, even though I wondered why everyone was doing that at the time. This is not a natural disaster where the water supply would be in danger. Panic causes a bit of silliness, I suppose.

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  29. There was a point during LD when I had to tell myself there were only so many tins of beans we would get through! Tinned fruit is a good idea so I'll stock up on some of that. I've struggled with mites in flour sometimes so I'm never keen on keeping it in the cupboard for too long, although I think you can freeze it? The book looks interesting, I'm going to see if I can track one down. xx

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  30. My problem is lack of storage space in our new house. I have a 4 drawer freezer section in the fridge/freezer but no room for a second freezer and no garage for storage either. Hubby cut down an airing cupboard shelving system to fit into the cupboard under the stairs so I can store a few tins and cleaning products but we also have to cram in shoes, vacuum cleaner, ironing board etc as well. I am however trying to rotate stuff and keep it well stocked. I need tins of fruit to keep us going through the winter!

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  31. I’ve always had quite a well stocked larder cupboard, but as my kitchen is tiny, there isn’t any room to store extra stocks. I have commandeered the storage in our old desk in the dining room (we are at some point replacing it with a sideboard) for the time being. I managed to get flour and yeast from the farm shop. They bagged up their own wholesale flour and yeast which was handy.
    I’ve also got a storage crate in the garage for extra tins, beside our chest freezer, so we should be ok should we have a local lockdown.

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  32. When the pandemic hit here in OR there were many things that were hard to find. Flour, sugar, canned items, bread. My daughter called it a scavenger hunt as she'd go somewhere to find something specific while shopping and not find it. I'd find it in a store that I was able to shop in. Vice versa. At some stores there's one sack of flour per family. Same thing for toilet paper. Our county is in phase two and hopefully it will open up soon and no masks eventually! I need to make some cinnamon rolls eventually as I got what I needed but didn't make them! Why? Lazy at times. or too late to make them....Have a blessed weekend!

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  34. Hi All, I'm new here, from a farm in the middle of the United States. I learned early in my marriage (city girl came to the farmlife) from my mother in law to keep a deep pantry. No running to town at the drop of a hat to get something. We currently have 2 freezers, full and some butchered chickens coming in a few weeks. I've been canning tomato products, canned relish earlier in the summer. I have flour and sugar on my list again. I stocked up on yeast earlier then the "panic" waned. It's interesting to read through blogs how many people are preparing and how many don't think it's an issue (other than TP.)

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