The joys of a well stocked larder

Taking stock

Looking at our stocks of food, I won’t need to do a shop this week. I always keep basic supplies in so that I can throw a nutritious dinner together, from cans and frozen items if necessary. In addition, I stock up when I see these basics on offer. In fact, I have loads of fresh stuff too. It is almost impossible to run out of food at this time of year. We are still harvesting from the veg patch. We have a lot of courgettes, runner beans, spinach, chard, tomatoes and cucumber, with pumpkins on the way. The soft fruit is finished and has been frozen. The freezer is also packed with home made soup, frozen courgettes and runner beans, some chicken, fish and mince.

Saving money

Amongst the stocks in the cupboards I have tins of tomatoes, tuna, sweet corn, pulses and soup. I also have flour, potatoes, onions, celery, cheese and tons of milk. Lactofree milk was on offer so I stocked up. Every now and again I look on Approved Food to see if there are some good basics to buy. I like to have some casserole and Bolognese sauces in for those lazy nights when I can’t be bothered to cook. If I see those I will buy several jars, which keep us going for ages. I don’t need anything from Approved Food at the moment, although they do seem to have some amazing bargains on there. I am quite tempted to get some of the Christmas stuff and gifts.

Having a well stocked larder is all well and good, but I don’t want my food supplies sitting around for ages,. To avoid this, every now and again I plan meals around what we have and eat from the stores. I top up with items like fresh fruit, milk, bread and cheese if we need them.  This week I barely need to purchase anything at all!

Tonight I will sit down and do a meal plan, using up all of the ingredients with the shortest use by date first. This way I won’t waste anything and can stretch my provisions for as long as possible.

The benefits of the well stocked larder

Buying food on offer or in bulk from the supermarket or places like Approved Food, growing our own, doing a regular stock take and careful meal planning all help to save money. Sometimes I don’t have the time or the inclination to shop, and with a well stocked larder I don’t have to. If I feel tired or unwell I will always be able to rustle up a quick, nutritious meal and won’t be tempted by a takeaway. If you live in a remote area, having a well stocked larder means fewer long trips to the supermarket. Stocking up makes sense for anyone trying to save money, since the less you go the less you are tempted by stuff you really don’t need.

Do you keep a well stocked larder or do you buy food as you need it?


20 thoughts on “The joys of a well stocked larder

  1. Yes, I try to keep a well-stocked larder, plenty of cans of various types of beans – haricot, red kidney, cannelini, butter beans,and so forth, as well as baked beans – and tins of tuna, salmon and even corned beef as corned beef hash is always a tasty, inexpensive meal. Also cans of fruit (the William pears from Lidl are the best canned pears we’ve ever tasted) including lychees, as we love lychees with prunes for breakfast before cereal or porridge. Always there are baking ingredients, self raising and plain flour, various types of sugar for cakes, sultanas, raisins, glace cherries and candied peel as well as nuts (walnuts, hazelnuts, brazils, almonds) and ground almonds. Cereals, jams, honey, bottled cherries for a quick crumble, chutneys, spices, herbs, elderflower cordial, a bottle of cider for a cider and sausage casserole (large Devon Rose sausages in the freezer), fresh basil and parsley on the windowsill, lentils, Paxo (good for topping fish), dumpling mix, and in the fridge, milk, various cheese including Parmesan and Gruyere as well as Cheddar, eggs, margarine (Bertolli), tomato puree, salad cream (as we prefer it to mayo even if it is declasse!) Olives, coleslaw, yoghurt, low-fat thick cream and creme fraiche, Boursin cheese, Philly cheese (and cottage cheese I keep in the freezer for when I make lasagne – it makes a better creamy top than using the more oily Cheddar). Lots of fresh veg, potatoes, leeks, celery, courgettes, carrots, cabbage, red cabbage, aubergine, spring onions, tomatoes, cucumber (but not bags of salad leaves that go manky the moment the bag is opened!) and fruit – whatever is in season, including grapefruit, oranges, apples, baking apples, dates, soft apricots, and figs. This week I bought a handful of cob nuts simply because they were in season, but only a few as they are expensive. And in the cupboard near the kettle, Indian tea, Earl Grey, coffee (Lidl’s Bellarom ground coffee is excellent), Ovaltine, Hot Chocolate (Twinings Swiss Milk Chocolate) and Chai Latte, and near the hob, rape seed oil, balsamic vinegar, white wine vinegar, Maldon sea salt, Black pepper in grinder, runny honey. There are also a few treats, such as a packet of cheese & onion crisps, a bar of dark chocolate with hazelnuts, some biscuits, and also cheese biscuits and cream crackers. Yes, it’s a fairly well-stocked larder, I think.

      • PS I also always have lean minced steak in the freezer, and we buy a chicken most weeks so that will make several meals for the two of us. Bacon we eat far less of now, but there is some in the freezer, plus ice cream and bread (Co-op Ancient Grains is the best ‘bought’ bread we can find, plus the Cranks wholemeal loaves from Waitrose.) Also, there is usually a fruit loaf and from that I can make a bread and butter pudding, or just have it toasted as a snack with lemon curd on top. And always frozen petits pois in the freezer, and some fruits of the forest for a quick dessert. I never (and I mean never) buy ready-made sauces, you can make a tomato sauce in minutes if you chop and saute an onion and add a can of chopped tomatoes, some Bouillon, tomato puree, dried basil and if you have it, fresh basil, and a pinch of sugar. Job done!
        Margaret P

        • All of this sounds so delicious, I only wish I could understand everything you said. I don’t think we have all of this here in the U.S. A. But I have a well stocked pantry as well, and I never buy pre made sauces. They simply are too easy to make. Thank you. Kathy Thompson Gulf Breeze,Florida

        • Jane, I got quite carried away, as it was about food, ha ha! And I didn’t mention pasta (tagliatelle, spaghetti, macaroni, penne …) nor rice (Tilda wholemeal basmati, round pudding rice) … I’m sure there are other areas of the food store that I didn’t mention but I think you’ve got the gist … I quite like cooking (and I like eating even better still!)
          Margaret P

  2. I do keep a pantry stockpile – even though it’s just me in a small 1 bedroom apt. It means that I almost never pay full price for many items, I don’t have to go out if the weather is bad (and I do live in Canada), and it makes me feel less vulnerable now that I am on a fixed income.
    I just did a freezer stocktake (and it’s only the top of my fridge – 28″ wide and only 5′ high so not quite full-size) and found that I had at least 50 meals worth of proteins. I am currently working on using up some of this in order to make space for things like peppers that I like to freeze while they are cheap, for caramelized onions and for Thanksgiving (Cdn. Thanksgiving is Oct. 9) when things like turkey and ham will go on sale so I need space.
    And really, it’s just the convenience – I hate running out of things – and I include non-food items as part of my pantry – loo paper, paper towels, shampoo, toothpaste – all those sorts of things can be purchased at greatly reduced prices if you pay attention and stock up when it goes on sale – I hate to pay full price for anything like this. I also like to entertain – and having a pantry means that I can do this with very little notice. Just makes sense to me.

    • That makes total sense, especially the weather. We have barely had a scraping of snow for the last few years in the uk, but I totally understand why that is a factor. Proper planning does save money.

    • Our favourite toothpaste was on 1/2 price offer this week so although we didn’t need it, we bought it. Also when our favourite shampoo or conditioner is on offer we buy that regardless of whether we need it at the time. But for the most part we don’t stockipile although from my long list it might sound like we do. But I like having sufficient stores that I can go a week or 10 days without having to buy food with the exception of milk.
      Margaret P

  3. Watching all those hurricanes on the news is a reminder too to always have a stock of some food for sudden emergencies. I always like to make sure I have a few cans of tinned fish and baked beans on hand as well as an extra jar of peanut butter and a loaf of bread in the freezer for easy eating when there is suddenly no power or we have to go up into the hills because of tsunami warning.

  4. I do like to have things I know will come in handy but I don’t normally buy for the freezer of the shelves as I write my shopping list from my menu list and what I actually have in the freezer. I ma more keen at the moment of preserving or making things to keep through the winter and beyond from food we have grown or been gifted. I have been posting about making chutnies and jam and hope to have more beetroot soon along with storing spuds. I’m new to it so don’t have a larder full but I’m getting there. Love the new look blog.

  5. I never kept a well stocked pantry when I was younger, I lived by the just in time method. Which was fine until that petrol blockade in the 90s or early 2000s. We were eating some bloody odd meals by the end of it. So I changed my system so we always had a few months supply.

    Which evolved again later into something more like yours, bulk buying things when they are on offer or a good price as a way of financial efficiency.

  6. I keep a good stock cupboard and freezer though sometimes they are definitely overstocked and then I try to have a week or two of using things up. I like to use fresh chicken but always have a couple of pieces in the freezer. When I have lots of vegetables I make ‘bases’ from any combination of tomato/onion/peppers/cougettes which I flavour with different herbs and spices. These are divided up into two-people potions and frozen. They can then be used in a variety of ways. I’ve always got lots of pulses, both dried and tinned in my cupboard.

  7. When things are half price, i try to buy 2; and i always go to the local co-op on the days when new special offers are brought out, esp if the offers are on storables like coffee, the saving is usually 1/3 or so.

    • I have received tokens for money off various things in our local co-op, sometimes off bread, sometimes off fruit and veg, and once on a certain type of ice cream. The funny part was when I went for the bread (with the offer token) their oven had broken down and there wasn’t any fresh bread; then I asked for the ice cream and it was a range they didn’t stock in that branch, and by the time I remembered the fruit and veg token … it was out of date!
      Margaret P

  8. Yes I like to keep a well stocked larder too. I buy yellow sticker items and freeze them. When I am near the Aldi or Lidl I stock up on certain items and that saves using petrol to make a special journey. I also grow some fruit and veg in my garden, not a lot but some things every day at the moment.

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