Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >
Jan 5, 2013 07:27 PM

Overstocked freezer and pantry - how many weeks of meals in your's?

Living in MN there have been a few days each winter when we'd not be able to get to a store. But there's really no need for my freezer (meat, shrimp, veg, cheeses, nuts, sauces) and pantry (commercially canned beans, tomatoes, fruit, diced chilis, artichokes, beets, tuna, rice, pasta, popcorn, cake mixes, baking ingredients, spices) to have the quantity of food I've tucked away, stacked 3 deep. If we ever decide to move, I'm pretty sure I'd need 4 months lead time to use up what's on-hand.

I've set myself a goal to cook from ingredients on-hand until everything's in a single-layer again.

The grocery list should be pretty short for the next few weeks -- milk, OJ, eggs, eventually bread (after I've used up the yeast that's on-hand).

How much is "enough" in the pantry and freezer at your home?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. i have tried to moderate and buy less - but we often have impromptu gatherings and we live out in the country - so i buy way too much. I thought having a smaller freezer would work. No. I have labelled everything religiously. No. Old 1960's habits die hard, for sure. (ps my food collection extends beyond the freezer - to the pantry - crackers and snacks and jars of pepper jelly etc etc. You get the picture. Oh, and several of every cake mix that Trader Joe's makes (which is a seasonal offering, which allows me to justify buying MORE stuff! agh. At least i know what the expiry dates are ; )

    1. Possibly two weeks if I got creative and stretched it out. The freezer is not big enough to hold more than that and I hate food waste so I'm conscious of what's in there, how long its been in there and rotating. As for the pantry, there aren't too many packaged foods we eat so it's mostly just spices, coconut milk, tea, things like that.

      I've had to make a point of buying cans of soup and things of that nature recently as "emergency food." That stuff isn't in the pantry, though since it's not part of our normal eating. We do live in earthquake country.....

      1 Reply
      1. re: weezieduzzit

        I have little in the freezer but a full frig/pantry. Maybe two weeks but that would be tough because I don't keep frozen meat/fish.

      2. I always have convenient access to a supermarket and, given that prices are rarely discounted for volume, I don't find that there's any real incentive to buy more than I need at the time.

        I buy perishable foods that I'll eat while they're still at their best, and of other things I buy only so much that I have some reasonable use for in the near-term. I rarely buy things simply because they're staples e.g. I won't buy rice unless I actually intend to use it.

        There would be perhaps 3-4 days' food in my fridge/cupboards. Beyond that, I would still have supplies of things like grains and spices, but it would be hard to make much of a meal from them.

        1. We're serious preparedness nerds at my house. We keep a 3 to 6 month supply of staples on hand. This sounds crazy, but it came in really handy when my SO was out of work for over a year. The kids didn't even know he wasn't working for several months! It's not expensive to do if you plan and take advantage of sales.

          And we do cook out of our pantry. I just make a habit of restocking what we use up and rotating old and new stuff.

          Don't feel guilty about keep staples on hand, especially knowing you'll use them. Plus, no last minute trips to the store when the weather turns bad.

          1. My freezer and pantry sound pretty much like the OP's. Our sailor son was just home on leave for 10 days, and he helped us put a big dent in the stockpile. I wanted to make a real attempt at clearing out the freezer, so I've stayed away from the meat bin at the grocery store. There's still about two dozen pita breads in there, about 10 pounds of shrimp, lots of frozen vegetables and some assorted meat and bread items.
            The pantry has dried and canned beans, 10 kinds of pasta and at least 4 kinds of rice, amongst other baking and cooking needs.
            I guess we could get another good couple weeks out of it. Plus we have all the jars of jams, pickled things and tomatoes that we put up this summer from our garden.