Save money by storing food where the critters can’t get to it. For food you keep in your cupboards or pantry, this means keeping food in glass jars, canisters with tight seals, or study original packaging. Pantry moths and other invaders can come into your home with flour, grains, spices, and more.
Unfortunately, I tossed a bag of nooch into the cupboard after I bought too much to fit into the jar. I thought the plastic-lined bulk bag would keep it safe.
Nope. A mouse chewed right through the bag. When I picked up the bag, two golden trails of tasty, high-protein flakes streamed through the kitchen. Fortunately, Miss Mouse also liked peanut butter, so she sashayed into a Havahart trap. She’s now telling tales in the woods. “Nooch is so good, almost like Parmesan cheese! And my Vitamin B12 levels rock!”
Project: Organize Your Cupboards
Cool off during one of the last hot days of summer by organizing your cupboards. Get your shelves ready for the fall onslaught of mice and bugs who want a winter home. Even the cleanest household can have a mouse sneak in through a crack or open door. I’ve had pantry moths come in with gluten-free flour and tough little bugs hatch in chili powder.
Putting food in jars and other sturdy containers can save you money by reducing food waste. It may also encourage you to cook more and eat out less. Even if you don’t notice the savings, you might notice the pleasure of seeing your ingredients at a glance. When I worry about the zombie apocalypse, I find it comforting to gaze at my beans lined up in a row.
The FDA wisely advises us to store food away from poisons and cleaning products. Don’t mix up the baking soda and the borax.
Protecting Your Food on a Budget
- Clean and reuse glass or metal food containers as canisters. I’ve got flour in big cans that used to hold nuts and nutritional yeast in an instant-tea jar from my disco years. Just give them a good sniff first. You don’t want your sugar to smell like pickles.
- Use canning jars, which you can often get for free through Craig’s List, FreeCycle, or just by asking around. You can replace the lids (but not the screw-on rings) to get rid of any odors.
- Check yard sales and thrift stores. I scored my vintage brushed aluminum canisters at a thrift store in West Virginia years ago.
- If you have room in your freezer, freeze any new bags of flours, spices, or grains for 48 hours before opening to kill off any interlopers. The longer you plan to keep a product, the more important it is to freeze it because hatching takes time. That means that if you don’t have room in your freezer, buy smaller quantities so you use up food before trouble strikes.
On any Budget
- Think twice about storing your food in plastic. Chemicals can leach into your food that disrupt hormones and more. Read about storing food in plastic, with useful links to relatively safe and downright dangerous options at Bad Plastics.
- A fairly traumatizing look around the internet revealed that critters will chew through cardboard boxes and lighter-weight plastic containers.
How Do You Store Food?
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