Back to Scratch – Pantry Assesment

Hello everyone!  So, last week we discussed going back to scratch.  Changing what we are used to eating with pre-processed food.  However, before you go all out, let’s break it down a bit further.  This way you know what you can handle in your diet and what you cannot.

In Intro to Back to Scratch we discussed a few points in “Determine What You Want” section.  the first point was:

Figure out what you want to change in your pantry.  Start by taking a look at what you have.  With your inventory lists, you may not even have to open your cupboards.  Look at what is on your ingredient labels, and if you don’t know what it is, you may want to think that through.  Find out what you’re willing to live with, and what you want to change

The point to this is to actually look at the ingredients.  To clarify, I’m not saying count your calories and all that.  Frankly, I don’t feel this works well for us generally.  Yes, it works for some, but it isn’t going to work for all.  And the point of back to scratch is to eliminate as much of the pre-processed chemicals they put in our food to preserve it, which actually can make us sick.

Something I’ve heard often is that it is too hard to do.  Some of the things you may be doing through this series do seem difficult.  However, the largest problem we end up having is where to start and how to do it.  Or, even if you want to do it or not.  You may wonder how much money it will cost, and why it is different from what you buy at the store.

Where To Startcabinet-334128_1920

Pick a place in your kitchen pantry.  Pick up a package and look at the ingredients.  If you look at the bag of all-purpose flour you bought the other day, you will see it is bleached.  If you take a close look at the ingredients in something as simple as paprika or garlic powder, you’ll see the anti-caking agents as well as preservatives.  Or, have you ever really looked what is in your canning salt?

These are all things you would use in cooking from scratch.  Here, I feel is the least overwhelming part to look at.  These are your basics.  It is where you reach first when you are cooking, unless you just cook straight from a box, and even then, you may add some garlic powder and chopped onions to your burger for your hamburger helper.

What Are Spices?

Spices are fruits and vegetables that are dehydrated or freeze-dried, then mixed to flavor and packaged to sell.  However, there is a little more to it.  You don’t want your powders to cake up and get stuck in the bottle.  Also, vendors want their products to last from making, to shipping, to the shelf and then to your home.  So, preservatives are necessary.

If you were making your own, or purchasing from a farmers market, you would notice they do expire earlier than a store-bought spice.  However, you are not flooded with everything else that is put in to preserve from the store.  Sometimes even those organic or all natural brands do hide ingredients that they use to preserve it.  So, you really need to check all your products out when you are looking.

It may seem like a lot, however, checking out what you’re putting into your bodies, is important.  Especially when you are finding that you or your family is having bad reactions to foods, some skin reactions are from foods as well.  Or even food allergies.  Back in the days of the bible, you didn’t hear about all these allergies, however, back then, they made these things by hand.  You used them up, or you lost them.  They didn’t over stock their cupboards so they had plenty if they wanted a midnight snack.

How Much Is Too Much?

After you’ve looked at what you have in your spices or flour, or whatever you are using to cook, you need to make a decision from here.  Probably the easiest way to look at this is to look at flour.  It says right on the front of the package if it is bleached or unbleached.  Okay, if you pick up a bottle of bleach, you aren’t going to add it into your meat to make it look cleaner, so why would you do it with flour?

Then we look at the prices.  At Meijer, you can look at the all-purpose flour.  They have bleached and unbleached, and they have it in the store brand.  They happen to be the same price and size.  So, really, there is no need to worry about the price in this circumstance.  That isn’t always the case, unfortunately.

If you look at spices, some of the things you will need are fresh fruits and vegetables, salt of preference, and arrow-root powder, or something like it to help with caking.  Or you can decide to go with just the fruits and vegetables.  This will be more expensive than going out and just buying the paprika on the shelf already made.  Then when you add in the time it takes, to dry everything out, grind it down, and mix it up…well, some people don’t want to wait that long.

The bonus end to doing this yourself is that you know what is in it, and it makes that secret ingredient all the better.  You can mix it to your own taste, and it will be a bit different from what you get off the shelf.  You will most likely LOVE your own blend much better.  Also, when you do this, you’re often buying these in bulk.  You will end up with a larger supply to work with, as well as fresh fruits and vegetables to cook with while you’re making these.

What About the Cost of Tools?

Contrary to popular belief, you do not have to go out and buy a bunch of things to start making your own spices.  Most people have an oven and a blender now a days.  However, next week I’ll go over what I have learned from different options, and you may find yourself loving what you’re making.

Homework

Take a look in your cupboards.  Look at the ingredients of what you are currently eating.  Make a decision of if you want to start this path, and if so, where you want to start.  Start small, don’t bite off more than you can chew, or you won’t follow through with it.  Remind yourself not to get over whelmed, and that right now, you’re just looking and making a decision.  You aren’t jumping in head first.  Leave me some comments below, if you’ve tried homemade spices or some of the things you notice on the ingredient label.

Take a

 

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