Written and lived by Stephanie Dayle
Top 20 foods to stock up on this season!
I love this time of year and not for the weather, mostly for the baking sales!
This is a GREAT time of year for stocking up on food staples oddly specific to preppers. While a majority of the population bakes and cooks kinda from scratch once or twice a year preppers who embrace the true spirit of self-reliance cook from scratch and bake ALL THE TIME!
Not only that but we prep the things we need in order to do all that cooking – which is what makes this time of year marvelous with baking sales, and coupons! This is the best time of year to stock up on all of your necessities and get the best deals while you are at it.
Now just because you are shopping at a baking sale does not mean everything is a great deal. Keep track of regular and sale prices all year around. I have “purchase price thresholds” set in my mind – for an example: I know the regular price of butter here is around $2.79 a pound, when they put it on sale during their regular sale cycles they will drop it to around $2.00 a brick. So anything lower than that will usually trigger me to buy. I keep track of prices like this for all my staples, as it prevents me from getting caught up in the moment and over spending. So before you hit the sales, make sure you have an idea of what the regular prices are and what the “regular sale prices” are.
Be on the lookout for the following items (Got another one to add to the list? Add it to the comments below so everyone else benefits from your finds!) you can usually pick these items up cheaper this season than almost any other time during the year. Maximize your savings by getting enough to last you all year, until it’s on sale again next year. This insures that you don’t have to pay top dollar for it, ever. Or buy extra to prep for emergencies or both!
- Butter: I rarely see butter as cheap as it is during these baking sales, Costco can’t even beat those prices. You can freeze it for later use, or you can clarify it and store it on the shelf for at least a year (for this you would need unsalted butter).
- Flour: All-purpose flour can usually be found fairly cheap during these sales. Make sure the sale price is better than the bulk price, then go ahead and stock up on it – store it in large mylar bags with oxygen absorbers then throw it in a 5 gallon bucket.
- Unsweetened (baking) Chocolate: The darker it is, the longer it will store.
- Oats: Oats of all different kinds usually make an appearance at these baking and holiday sales. You can’t go wrong with their 30 year storage life (click here read more about oats).
- Brown Sugar and Powdered Sugar: Brown sugar and powdered sugar, like all sugar will out last you – feel free to buy as much as you’d like, just make sure that the sale is giving you a better price than buying it in bulk at Costco or Cash and Carry. Sometimes it may sound like a good deal but it’s for a small amount and if you compare the price to purchasing it in bulk, you might be paying about the same. It PAYS to keep track of prices.
- Cake and Cookie Mixes: While cake and cookie mixes are not ideal for long-term storage (because like any processed food/grain it contains oil that will go rancid with time and baking powder that will cease to be effective – even if stored correctly) if you dry can them they should store for 5 years, but if you don’t want to worry about rotating through 5 years worth of repackaged cake mix, then you can do what I do, and store one year worth right in your pantry no special treatment needed. Any cake I make at my house is at least a year old. They taste and bake up just fine. If the stores close someday, after the mixes are gone I will make my own cake from scratch. And don’t fall for that “Mold in Baking Mixes” email, it’s is an urban myth that has been busted many times over. It was probably started as some guerilla marketing effort from a manufacturer that would love it if you all threw all your old cake and baking mixes out and bought new ones.
- Evaporated Milk: Perfect for your food storage. Take advantage of the sales but make sure the sale price is better than the store brand! Evaporated milk is reduced by 40% so to rehydrate it the ratio is slightly less than 1:1.
- Marshmallow Cream: This stores amazingly well since it’s basically sugar and has many uses.
- Cooking oils and shortening: Whatever your preference, it’s likely to be on sale. If rendering your own tallow and lard is not your thing? Store bought shortening has a fairly decent storage life before it goes rancid and is usually featured at these baking sales. If it does go rancid (or you don’t want to eat it) you can still turn it into a candle or soap.
- Vanilla: If you keep a close eye on prices sometimes one of these baking sales will highlight a price on Vanilla that will beat Costco and since vanilla extract never goes bad, you can stock up.
- Spices: Sometimes baking spices can be found at these sales, however I have found them less and less. If you do find a deal on them let us know in the comments below!
- Pumpkins: You can ‘can’ your own pumpkin if you cut it into chunks and use a pressure canner so when those pumpkins go sale after Halloween jump on them. Canned pumpkin has many uses and don’t forget to roast and eat the seeds!
- Cranberries and Canned Cranberries: Deals on canned cranberries can be found at sales prior to Thanksgiving and Christmas this is a good time to add them to your storage, they are packed with vitamin C and can be used in making many desserts and comfort foods. You can also split, blanch, and dehydrate the fresh cranberries you get in the bag and put them in long-term storage too if you can find them cheap enough to make it worth your effort.
- Squash: If you don’t grow your own this is a good time to load up on winter squash inexpensively. When you get them home, you can also cut them up into chunks and can them OR you can take a one to ten bleach to water dilute and wipe them down once with it. Let them dry, then stick them in a cool, dark, dry area in your house, and eat them all winter long. You can make many dishes with squash, it’s filling and frugal to keep on hand.
- Canned Sweet Potatoes: They are good, easy to prepare, and good for you too. High in carbohydrates and beta-carotene, these are a no-brainer addition to your food stocks.
- Canned Pumpkin: This is simply the best time of year to purchase it if you don’t can your own. It’s really great for adding extra nutrients like beta-Carotene into other foods like breads, and it’s a natural anti-diarrheal for dogs.
- Instant Mashed Potatoes and regular potatoes: Keep an eye on prices, you can pick up instant potatoes at great prices this time of year. You can also find fresh potatoes in 10lb or 20lb bags super cheap this time of year. You can take those potatoes and make your own instant hash browns out of them with your dehydrator or you can just slice them up, blanch them, and dehydrate them to add to soups and stews or for storage.
- Stuffing: Like other mixes it doesn’t store long-term very well but you can easily keep a one year supply in your pantry – just get it all on sale. Or you can make your own, but that is another article….
- Turkey: If you are observant and patient, turkey can be purchased for dirt cheap this time of year and it is a nice and easy meat to can, or make jerky with. Then you can make soup stock with the carcass, and soup with the trimmings and left overs. At many stores they will run deals where if you buy $100 worth of food you pick up a Turkey for 10¢ a pound or less – even if you already have a turkey, pick and extra one up and pressure can it!
- Cream Cheese: Again, watch the baking sales this is the absolute best time of year to pick up cream cheese – and while it’s not a long term storage item, it does freeze well. So you can purchase a year’s supply all at once, stick it in the freezer and use it year around so you never have to pay full price for it.
This time of year you will be able to get really great deals on anything related to Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner (like carrots, onions, celery, etc…), but instead of getting only what you think your family could eat before it goes bad, get more and bring it home, dehydrated it, can it, put it in storage and pocket the savings! Or put it up for an emergency food supply. Don’t forget to check your local Sunday papers for coupons and try to the coupon with a sale item, this will maximize your savings.
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