How to Build an Old-Fashioned Frugal Pantry

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If there was one thing that the generations that went before us knew, it was how to feed their families on a small budget and fill their pantries with frugal, filling ingredients on a dime. This is a skill that I’m afraid is dying in our culture, but we need to know how to do it just the same. Today I’m going to share with you how to build an old-fashioned frugal pantry so that you too can feed your family frugal, wholesome meals on a small budget.

Stock the Basics

In today’s culture, we are weighed down with choices. We can have literally any food we want at any time of the year. I believe that this is a blessing and a burden at the same time. Sometimes having a few simple choices is healthier and makes life easier. Our ancestors stocked their pantries with frugal staples such as coffee, beans, potatoes, flour, sugar, rice, etc. Keeping these staples on hand in large quantities means that a frugal and filling meal is never more than a few hours away! Check out my list of frugal foods that you should keep in you pantry here.

Cook from Scratch

Our ancestors cooked from scratch at literally every meal because their was no such things as convenience food. Cooking from scratch allows you to stock up on the basics for a small price while feeding your family nutritious homemade meals. Plus, homemade almost always tastes better than store-bought. If you are new to cooking from scratch, check out my list of old-fashioned recipes your grandma knew by heart here.

Grow Your Own Food

In generations past, if people wanted fresh produce then they had to grow it themselves. I believe that anyone can grow at least some food even if it’s just herbs on the windowsill or tomatoes and peppers in pots. Growing your own food allows you to enjoy fresh, organic produce for really cheap. It also allows you to grow things like potatoes, onions, apples and squash that store well and can feed you well into the winter. If you are new to gardening, check out my list of easy to grow vegetables here.

Preserve What’s in Season

If you’re going to grow a lot of food, then you need to know how to preserve it. Canning, freezing and dehydrating are the most common methods. Check out a few books from the library or browse Pinterest and learn how to preserve your own food. You can also check out some of my recipes below to get started.

Strawberry Freezer Jam

Oven-Roasted Cherry Tomato Sauce

Dehydrated Apple Rings

Dehydrated Jalapenos

How to Freeze Peppers

How to Freeze Blueberries

Buy in Bulk

People used to buy food in bulk more because they didn’t go to the grocery store as often and it was also cheaper. Buying in bulk is a great way to stock a pantry and save money. Be sure that when you are buying in bulk you will actually eat what you are buying and also have a way to store it.

Do you do these things? What tips would you add? I’d love to know!

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Missy | Graceful Little Honey Bee
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Join the conversation
  • Norma Norma on Sep 18, 2022

    Having grown up on a farm at a time when you didn't just run and get something. You learned early about stocking the basics.

    I'd add to pantry items these that are a staple in my house. Pasta ie: shells, rigatoni, elbow macaroni & baking powder & beans ie: kidney, great northern,etc & soup stock & canned soup ie,: cream of mushroom or tomato or cream of chicken.

    • Renee' Bruner Carr Renee' Bruner Carr on Sep 21, 2022

      I too was taught very young how to cook and keep all of these type of staples and was taught how to throw together a quick and from scratch dinner.

  • Patricia Patricia on Sep 18, 2022

    One thing I’ve thought of is that while it’s easy enough to stock up on these basics, I don’t really know how to cook dried beans and some other bulk basics. So I have decided that once a week I should prepare a

    food from scratch that I am unfamiliar with starting with bread, then, maybe, split pea soup. This way if a true emergency, like a food shortage or unaffordable prices, should happen I won’t have the additional stress of

    trying to figure out how to prepare nourishing meals.

    • Deb Deb on Sep 24, 2022

      Look up the recipe called Perfect Pot of Beans. Yields beans the can be flavored for a variety of dishes.