I have spent a lot of time in Hawaii where living with insects is more like having an unwanted roommate that doesn’t respect your stuff. I honestly never realized that there was a potential for similar unwanted pests in my kitchen in Canada.
I realized we had been invaded this past Autumn. I went to pull out the flour and there was a few little bugs in it. It seems these creatures were utterly apposed to the Atkins diet and were devouring anything grain based in my cupboards. I quickly and sadly disposed of the affected products into the compost and began the labourious task of transferring all of our dry goods to permanent storage containers.
I try to clean out the larder at least once a year. This involves organizing the items into stacked rows of like items which allows me to rotate the stock. There is nothing worse that finding a can waaaaay in the back that could have been in that house seemingly longer than you. Where did that odd little can of Vienna Wieners come from anyways? Seriously! By going through the cupboards you can get rid of any items of a questionable age or condition, while taking stock of what you have and noting what items you may not use as much or what items you should consider buying in bulk.
We have been in the process of transitioning out processed foods. I am particularly interested in phasing out manufactured canned goods and replacing them with home canned foods in glass jars. (This will eliminate wondering what is in my food or the packaging it came in, AND it will eliminate the amount of garbage needing to be thrown out or recycled.) Canned fish, canned beans, canned tomatoes, canned coconut milk, canned cheese soup and canned mushroom soup are the hardest for me to let go. I have stopped buying canned fruits or veggies (other then the aforementioned tomatoes) and I have stopped buying canned beans except for vegetarian refried beans. There is only one recipe I still buy canned cheese soup for and other then that I make cheese sauce from scratch. We have begun to can and freeze our own tomatoes but unfortunately we did not grow enough to last us until the next harvest. Canning mushroom soup is next on my to do list and I figure if I can secure a large amount of grocery store seconds (the less pretty mushrooms) I can make up and can enough mushroom soup to last me a year.
I have been experimenting with making my own noodles, gnocchi and spaetzle but we are not quite ready to give up on the store bought dry variety completely yet.
Rice and quinoa are already basic staples and just needed to be put in containers that will keep them dry and bug free. (For the rice I bought a food grade five gallon pail with lid from Home Depot that works brilliantly.)
There are days when our entire dinner is locally grown or sourced and completely made from scratch but to expect this from myself every night is just not feasible at this time. Every year we are growing more of our own food and securing other locally grown food sources to complete our personal dietary requirements.
I am not in a rush. I find that the process of cooking from scratch is an evolution and self sufficiency is a journey. I will get there in time and for now I will diligently keep honing my skills until they become an accepted part of my routine.