I first published this post a couple of years ago and it proved really popular. The message is the same today. Keeping a well-stocked larder is a good idea at the best of times. However, in the UK, at least with the Brexit crisis rolling interminably on, it is even more sensible to keep plenty of non-perishable food in the house.
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.
If you have a blip in your finances or you have sudden snow or flooding, you will always have food. If there are shortages or sudden price hikes you will have supplies to tide you over. I’m not suggesting panic buying and stockpiling a warehouse full of food, but it makes sense to have some emergency stores.
Taking stock of what you have
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.
I think it is really important to do regular stock takes of all food stuff in your house so that you know what you have and don’t let any go past its use by date – I don’t care about best before dates, as they are just for guidance. It is also helpful to know the contents of your food cupboard, freezer, etc when you are meal planning.
What to keep in your well-stocked larder
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.
Here’s a fuller list of what I keep in my non perishable food stash. I only store what we enjoy usually. No point in stocking up on something you will never eat!
- Tinned tomatoes, whole and chopped
- Canned vegetables: sweetcorn, peas, potatoes, carrots
- Canned pulses – we like chick peas and lentils. I can’t eat beans, but keep a few cans of baked beans in tomato sauce for Mr S.
- Canned fruit – all kinds, preferably in juice rather than syrup
- Canned meat – corned beef and hot dog sausages are favourite for us
- Dried fruit
- Porridge oats
- Long life lactose free milk
- Fruit juice
- Rice and pasta
- Tea and coffee (God forbid we ever run out of these!!)
- Flour and bread flour
- Yeast sachets
- Baking powder
- Peanut butter, jam and honey
- Tinned fish – tuna, sardines, mackeral and salmon are all good
- Casserole mixes and jars
- Curry powder, dried herbs and spices
- Jars of curry paste
- Jars coconut milk (I know! but we use it a lot)
- Vegetable and olive oil
- Painkillers such as paracetamol and ibuprofen
- A complete first aid kit with plasters
- Candles and matches
- Batteries and torches
- Soap and toilet rolls
As well as the above, we always have a well stocked freezer, with produce from our garden as well as shop bought. Iceland is great for stocking up on freezer food and deliver for nothing when you spend over £35.
I generally buy value brands whenever I can. 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.
Approved Food is great for brand name products and treats, although you can get cheaper basics in places like Aldi and Home Bargains.
I don’t need anything from Approved Food at the moment, although they do seem to have some amazing bargains on there. It is quite tempting to get some of the Christmas stuff and gifts. I also like the fact that they are helping prevent food waste.
You don’t have to buy everything at once. If you want to start a bit of a stash, buy a few extra tins each week and it soon adds up.
With Brexit looming I have increased our stocks and now have an emergency stash under the bed in the spare room. If all is well moving forward, it is all food that we will eat and will last for years anyway.
Rotating your food stocks
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 and replace what we have eaten from our stash.
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.
Do you keep a well stocked larder or do you buy food as you need it? What are the essentials for your stash?
This post contains my Approved Food referral code as well as affiliate links. If you sign up and make an order, I will earn a small commission.