Keeping a Store Cupboard

1. Labelling jars, 2. snoozing cat, 3. unusual nature find, 4. native flowers from the garden, 5. Emmy's growing horse collection.

My kitchen and store cupboard have been benefiting from my renewed energy after our holiday. I'd been feeling rather blah about the whole monotony of grocery shopping and cooking and I was turning to take away and prepackaged food more often than I was comfortable with. The country general store in the small town we stayed in inspired and challenged me with it's fewer number of items, and the higher proportion of organic, homemade and fresh produce. 

Once the holiday bags were unpacked I went to the shop with renewed purpose and brought fresh fish and vegetables for dinner. As I unloaded them I decided to completely empty and sort the pantry too. I wiped it clean, checked used by dates, refilled jars and relabelled them. As we don't have a lot of storage space in our kitchen, we also have a store cupboard in the laundry. Here I stockpile everyday items we use regularly, such as canned goods, rice, oil, toiletries, alfoil and sauces, which I buy whenever they are on sale. It's a trick I learnt from Rhonda at Down to Earth blog. It saves a considerable amount of money over time to purchase the things you use before you need them, while they are on sale, and never run out of anything because you always have a spare in your store cupboard.

When I am building up my store cupboard, each time I pop to the shops to pick up one or two things, I will walk up and down each aisle looking for the sale tags. There are always sale tags, usually 10 - 50% off, or two for the price of one. I don't buy anything I wouldn't usually buy. It's not a bargain if it is just going to sit in the cupboard. I also buy in bulk. So when 5kg of rice or 3L of olive oil is half price I am saving money and stocking up. Then I just decant what I need into recycled jars and bottles and store the rest. Buying when things are on sale means I can buy more expensive items than I would usually purchase too - like choosing Australian made, organic, fair trade.

I've read that many chefs don't have much food in their own fridges, as they buy fresh what they need. I really like this idea. I used to try to just go to the shops once a week because I thought it would save money. But I just ended up with wilted veggies. Now I pop to the shops every day or two, though I still keep meat and veg in the freezer so there are always ingredients to cook with if I can't make it to the shop.

Reinvigorating my pantry and topping up my store cupboard inspires me to cook more from scratch, leave the processed items on the shelf, and make the most of the ingredients I am growing in my garden. All of which gives me a sense of satisfaction to be shopping and cooking in a more positive and sustainable way.

Do you keep a store cupboard? 

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