Saturday, October 3, 2009

Size Really DOES Matter

We've been slowly but surely building up our stockpile of food and necessities for about six months and you would think we would have had it all figured out by now. But I had an epiphany last weekend when I opened a new bottle of ketchup. It was one of those big 64 oz bottles. It had lived on the shelf in the cupboard for several weeks since I bought it. But now that it was opened, it would need to be refrigerated. Then it hit me ...what would we do if we were actually living out of our stores in the worst of scenarios power for weeks or months or even longer? Anything that we opened and didn't consume completely in one sitting would go to waste. What a tragedy that would be.

I had already decided to process food in one-meal quantities (canning quart jars of stews and soups) with the idea that in a real crisis where lack of power might go on for longer than a few days or weeks, we would not have a way to refrigerate and store leftovers. It would also help us ration our stores to be able to look at the shelves and count jars to know how many meals we still had ahead of us. I thought I was being smart to process foods in quantities that we could consume in one meal, and I still thinks it's a good idea. But I had not carried the thought through far enough to consider things like condiments. How many condiments do we all commonly use these days that are shelf worthy only until you open then ...they all say 'refrigerate after opening' right there on the label. Waste is never a good thing, but in a crisis situation, it's downright sinful.

There's nothing I can do about the stores I already have set back. But from this point forward. any condiments like mustard, ketchup, mayonnaise or pickle relish that I want to stockplle, I will buy boxes of them in the little single squeeze packets at Sam's. Any time we go to a burger joint or drive through and they offer such condiments, I will smile and say, "Yes, please" and take as many as they are willing to give me. Chicken places often have little packets of honey and even butter, free for the asking too.

Use the large quantity items you already have stockpiled now that will require refrigeration after you open them. In the meantime, never turn down a free condiment, people. You never know when that might be the best thing you tasted in ages!

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Blogger Felinae said...

Hiya WW

Excellent idea on the condiment packages. :D I never thought about that either, so thanks. :)

I was telling Catman about your post. He said his friend Shadow does this all the time, especially if you're inside the fast food place and they have condiment pkgs. sitting out on a condiment bar, he grabs as much as he can. :D

Catman also said to keep the little wipes that come in the plastic utensil packages at the chicken places.

Great post :D

I hope you and YOF have a great day.


October 3, 2009 at 12:44 PM  
Blogger WomanWhoRunsWithHorses said...

Thanks for stopping by, Fel. I'm glad you enjoyed the post. I agree with Catman about the little wipes. I save the salt & peppers too. It's wasteful to discard anything useful (or edible!) ...getting them free along with another purchase is just an added bonus.

You and Catman enjoy your weekend!

October 3, 2009 at 1:32 PM  
Blogger molly said...

If you utilise zeer pots you wont have to worry about smaller packaging. You can find the link to them on my blog, (under How To lables)I plan on having a few large ones made:)

October 3, 2009 at 2:05 PM  
Blogger WomanWhoRunsWithHorses said...

I'll check it out, Molly. Thanks!

October 3, 2009 at 2:14 PM  
Blogger WomanWhoRunsWithHorses said...

Molly ...I was not able to find it on your blog site, but did a web search and found some information on the technology. It's great for dry climates but does not work well (or at all) in high humidity. Here in central Texas, the humidity is almost always high. It's over 80% today. So I'm not sure it would work as a long term storage here. HOWEVER, it gives me an idea for my garden produce. For things like the Swiss chard that can be plucked and then replenish themselves in a few days ...I can harvest and store the leaves for a week, maybe two until I have enough to process several quarts in the canner. If it works out, it means I can devote less ground to the Swiss chard and plant something else too for more variety. Great idea! Thanks.

October 3, 2009 at 2:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you have large bottles of ketchup, etc., or find a really good deal on large bottles, you can always "re-can" them into 8 or 4 oz jars or whatever size that you will most likely use before it spoils. Yes, the initial investment in jars is expensive but you can reuse them forever if you take care of them.

Just a thought...

Mel in TX

October 4, 2009 at 11:04 AM  
Blogger WomanWhoRunsWithHorses said...

Thanks for stopping by, Mel. It's a good thought, and something I have been considering. Let's face it, ketchup (condiments in general) will hardly be classified as a 'necessity' if things get really rough. But then it might be the little niceties of life that are worth the most as barter goods if things are that rough. I sure don't want the six 64-oz bottles I already have to go to waste so I may just be re-canning ketchup in the next week or two!

October 4, 2009 at 1:27 PM  

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