I love the holiday shopping season and seeing piles of food bargains at the grocery store. It seems they pop up earlier every year. Here in Texas at my favorite Kroger’s, I noticed holiday foods on sale before Halloween!
This is the time of year when grocery stores begin prominently displaying all types of food typically used in holiday cooking and baking. I’m sure these displays have caught your attention, but have you ever looked at them through the eyes of emergency preparedness?
For Survival Moms who want to stock up their food pantry, this is an ideal time to take advantage of the coupons and sales that also come at this time of year. Today I took a look at this week’s grocery ads, and here’s a master list of items you may want to grab before the holiday season ends. Be sure to print out the Master Shopping List at the bottom of this post, and take it with you when you shop.
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- Ham and Turkey
- Both of these can be frozen and/or canned to provide meals well into the New Year. A frozen turkey can remain frozen and still be safe to eat for up to a year.
- Stuck with a lot of leftover ham or turkey? Here’s a list of great recipes for turkey and more for ham that will give you something fresh and delicious to make with those leftovers.
- Fresh oranges
- Once the orange has been eaten, dry the peels and create your own orange zest for recipes throughout the year. If you end up with more zest than you think you’ll use within 6 months or so, use a Food Saver to vacuum seal the remaining zest in a pouch for longer term storage.
- Speaking of a vacuum sealer, I highly recommend that you use it for vacuum sealing canning jars filled with foods of all kinds. It really is a must-have for a prepper’s kitchen.
- Grocery stores know that coffee is part of holiday entertaining, so you’re going to find lots of coffee brands on sale. Coffee beans, and especially green, unroasted coffee beans, will have the longest shelf life, but you can still repackage both beans and ground coffee in canning jars using the Food Saver jar attachment to suck out all the air/oxygen or seal the coffee in plastic pouches using your vacuum sealer.
- Coffee is definitely worth stocking up on, but be sure to keep it stored in a cool, dark, and dry location. Even so, it will have its freshest flavor if used within just a couple of months.
- Again, this is the season for baking all types of treats and many of my favorite recipes include nuts. You’ll find nuts on sale but keep an eye on prices because they are still generally a higher priced grocery item.
- If you do find a bargain, store those nuts in a cool, dry, dark location, and, if possible, vacuum pack them using a Food Saver. This will help the nuts stay fresh and stave off their tendency to go rancid.
- Fresh fruit
- Depending on where you live, you may find low prices on blueberries, blackberries, pomegranates, pineapple, oranges, and a lot more.
- Dehydrating fruit is very simple and food dehydrators don’t have to cost a lot of money. I found mine on Craigslist several years ago for $30 and it still works fine. The Excalibur dehydrator is considered top of the line, and maybe if you have Christmas gift money, this might be a good time to buy!
- You can also freeze fruit and even can it, so stocking up now on fruits that are in season is a very smart thing to do. Just make sure you budget your time so all that yummy stuff won’t rot during an especially busy time of year.
- Right now my favorite grocery store has a pound of butter for $2.50. That’s the lowest price I’ve seen in a while. Butter can easily be frozen, at one time I had 40 pounds of it in our big freezer!
- I’ve heard of canning butter but am not convinced it’s the safest thing to do.
- Call me crazy, but it never hurts to have a few bottles of whisky or vodka around. Even if you’re not much of a drinker, vodka can be useful in making tinctures and from what I’ve heard, whiskey has medicinal uses as well. This article explains why preppers should stock up on alcohol.
- If you’re thinking of stocking up on bottles of alcohol as a product for barter, stick with hard liquor: vodka, gin, tequila, rum, whiskey and brandy, as they can all have indefinite shelf lives.
- Learn how to make your own wine with instructions from a book like this one.
- Potatoes, both fresh and instant
- Potatoes can be peeled, sliced, and dehydrated by following these steps.
- When stored in a very cool location, around 45 to 50 degrees, they can stay fresh for up to 3 months.
- Instant mashed potatoes come in handy for quick meals. However, they will need to be repackaged for a longer shelf life. Read these instructions. Once repackaged, I highly recommend placing them in the freezer for at least a week in order to kill any microscopic insect eggs that might be present.
- Here’s a terrific collection of awesome potato recipes.
- Canned vegetables
- Store these in a cool location and they can last for more than a year. Do circle the “Best By” date and then open a can every so often to check for color and flavor.
- You can always drain the veggies and dry them on your dehydrator trays for even longer shelf life.
- Over-the-Counter meds for coughs and cold symptoms
- These generally have a shelf life of more than a year.
- During the winter months, you’ll also find coupons for these for added savings.
- Retailers aren’t stupid. They know that for every battery-operated gift purchased, someone is going to need batteries! Keep an eye out for coupons and combine them with store sales.
- Batteries are among the most useful items you can stock up on, so go crazy when you find a really good deal!
- Not-just-for-Christmas wrapping paper
- Who said that white wrapping paper with red polka dots is just for Christmas? When you find wrapping paper that will be perfectly fine throughout the year, buy it!
- Gravy and gravy mixes
- There’s nothing like homemade gravy, but there’s also nothing handier than opening a jar of gravy and pouring it over mashed potatoes! A few jars of gravy in the pantry just might save dinner one day soon!
- Gravy packets are great as a stock-up item. They have very long shelf lives, can be prepared quickly, and can make items as plain as white rice pretty tasty. I recommend a stash of these for a bare-bones food storage plan like this one.
- Frozen pies
- Now, you wouldn’t ordinarily think of a pie when it comes to stocking up, but one or two in the freezer can come in handy.
- Think about any special occasions coming up, potlucks, parties — any even where you might have to make dessert. Now think about how busy you’re going to be this year. A frozen pie looks like a better and better idea, doesn’t it?
- Baking staples
- Snack foods
- Grocery stores know that serving appetizers and snacks are a part of the holidays. You’ll find things like Triscuits and other crackers on sale, along with pretzels and chips. If you find these at a great price, stock up and plan on portioning them into snack bags for your kids’ lunches.
- Chex cereals
- Everybody and their dog is going to be making one variation of Chex mix or another, so why not stock up on several boxes for breakfasts or other recipes?
- If you want to store Chex or any other cereal for long term, follow the instructions in the video I mentioned above or package the cereal in mylar bags with an oxygen absorber. This package includes both the bags and the absorbers.
- Canned soups
- Like most other canned foods, soups can have a long shelf life if stored in a cool location.
- Buy soup flavors that your family members enjoy and soups that you normally use in recipes.
What other foods that are on sale during the holidays do you stock up on?
Use this Master Shopping List when you are shopping during the holiday season, from October through early January, to help you remember to snap up those bargains and get your food storage pantry filled, as well as food and goods you’ll use during the year.
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