Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Sugar ~ Foods with No Expiration Date ~ Pantry Builder #1


"I knew there was sugar in the tin, but had no idea of there being enough to last..."
~ Jane Austen, In a Letter

Ample food storage was the normal way of life of our pioneering ancestors and is a large portion of preparedness (and prudence, in general!). The problem is that a surplus of many foods is not wise if the shelf life is short. We will be sharing a list of useful foods that you have "permission" to purchase in bulk due to the fact that they have no expiration date! For many of us housewives that lack the latest gear to store long-term foods, this is great news! These provisions also have many uses (remember our concept of versatility?) and will benefit the household during the good and not-so-good times!



Today we will focus on the merits of storing sugar. I thought it would make a nice and "sweet" start to our "Pantry Builder #1" post. Though we try and use more natural sweeteners in our daily life, I can not say that our household is completely sugar-free (nor am I being an advocate for sugar, however, I am an advocate for common sense!). For one, sugar is very inexpensive (aka cheap) and therefore quite convenient to buy in bulk. Secondly, it is very versatile and even necessary for a healthy lifestyle as you soon shall see. Third, it is quite essential for food preservation which is the sister to self-sufficiency which is a sister to preparedness. And finally and most obvious, you can economically make basic muffins and other from-scratch foods with just "a spoonful of sugar..."


"And let them gather all the food of those good years that come..."
~ Genesis 41:35

Before we begin, I wanted to mention that there are many reasons that people prepare and not all of them are doomsday scenarios. Our main reason is for "lean times". We are full-time farmers which means our income is very sporadic. In the winter, it is almost stagnant. Having a supply of food which has been gathered in the good times creates a sense of proverbial peace. Like the biblical ants who collect in the summer, so must we! Because of this, I am also going to include projects we can make and do with our pantry building supplies that can be used for everyday household use and gift giving -- it may help us to be creative in the lean times when we are working with limited resources. Plus, by seeing how versatile these pantry items are, perhaps it will encourage you to store more abundantly when you have the opportunity. This information will also be shared in a printable for each item to include in your Proverbs 31 Preparedness binders.


SUGAR

Brown, Powdered and White

When properly stored, the shelf life of sugar is indefinite. For best results, store sugar in a cool, dry area and make sure it is tightly sealed after opening (we keep ours in a large canister in the kitchen and the remaining in a large pantry container). If storing your sugar in the original bag, place an additional thick plastic bag over the bag and seal (with a twist or tie). White sugar loves a dry environment while brown sugar thrives in humid climates.

How to soften white sugar:

"White sugar will become hard if it absorbs moisture, so to soften it again you can place it in a 150°F oven for 15 minutes then break it up with a spoon. Turn the oven off and leave it in the oven for another hour or two." ~ Eatbydate.com

How to soften brown sugar:

"Brown sugar will become hard when it dries out and looses its moisture, so to soften it you can add a slice of fresh bread to the bag for a day or two or a damp paper towel separated from the sugar by plastic wrap. You can also use an organic (or washed well & dried) orange peel to place in the container, the natural oils from the orange will soften the sugar. The paper towel or orange peel method will soften brown sugar within several hours while the bread will soften brown sugar in a few days (1-2), but is the preferred method. If you are in a big hurry, you can cover a bowl of brown sugar with a damp paper towel and microwave for about 20 seconds - but be careful as a few too many seconds can produce a bowl of goo!" ~ Eatbydate.com


Though sugar is something many of us try to avoid, let's face it, a chocolate cake is a necessity once in a while! But with all joking aside, a stock pile of sugar will allow you to:

  • bake simple cakes and muffins (with just a few frugal ingredients to keep hungry bellies full)
  • to maintain kombucha (this is my other attempt at sharing its purpose for the healthy lifestyle)
  • sprinkle powdered sugar on desserts as a quick, frugal, no-fuss "frosting"
  • make simple syrups, fruit syrups, herbal syrups and medicinal syrups
  • to prepare simple fruit shrubs and so forth... 
  • sweeten homemade drinks. Also, if your stored emergency water that has been pre-treated with bleach, sugar will make it more palatable during a state of emergency. Many "preppers" keep kool-aid on hand for this very purpose. You can make your own by mixing up a box of jello powder and (you guessed it) white sugar (3 parts jello powder to 1 part white sugar). To make the 'kool-aid", mix 2 cups of water with 2 1/2 tbsp. of your homemade mixture (recipe found here). 
  • heal wounds (According to sugar.org and many other web sources, "when sugar is applied to an open wound, it absorbs the wound’s moisture which prevents the growth of infectious bacteria. Physicians also believe sugar supplies the very nourishment damaged tissues require to heal." You will find a printable PDF here with this information.)

Do you have any more useful ideas for sugar to add to this list?

You will find our printable "Proverbs 31 Preparedness" sheet for ways to use sugar HERE!

Your homework for the week:
  • Assess the amount of sugar you store in your pantry. Could you add more to your food storage knowing it has no expiration date and is so versatile? 
Extra Credit:
All the fine print. This post may be shared with some or all of the following link-ups: The Art of Home-Making MondaysModest Mom Monday'sMonday's MusingsGood Morning Mondays,  The Scoop, Tuesdays with a TwistRaising HomemakersWise Woman Link UpHomestead Blog Hop Wow Us Wednesdays,  Coffee and ConversationHomemaking ThursdaysHome Sweet HomeOur Simple HomesteadAwesome Life Friday Link Up and Create, Bake, Grow & Gather. Thank you lovely ladies for hosting these. This post may contain affiliate links (which are merchant links that help to support this site at no additional cost to you if you purchase an item through them).

31 comments:

  1. I know it's not trendy to use sugar, but it's just too useful to rule it out altogether. I had never heard of applying sugar to an open wound. That's just amazing provided it works. Thank you for sharing this fabulous post.

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    1. Exactly! I almost hesitated to post this because it is still very beneficial and with all its uses, I had to be "real" about it (especially with the long shelf life!)...

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  2. Sadly the UK Government has decided that sugar is evil ...ho hum ...not that im taking any notice it just means i can now afford to make jam again , its a third of the price it was 2 years ago. The fact that children are terrified of eating it due to the Health Education programs in schools is a little worrying, it makes you wonder if the sugar industry upset the Government in some way?

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    1. Thanks for sharing Kate! I am actually surprised to hear that children are being that health conscience... I think it a good thing! In our home, we push more honey as a healthy alternative...

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  3. This is great JES! Thank you! I love the preparedness binder you are doing!!! :)

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  4. This is great information! Thank you, for sharing. We buy sugar in 50lb bags, but it lasts for ages. I'd rather have more and store more, than run out or have to pay the higher small packet price. By the way, I am seriously fighting the urge to covet those measuring spoons! ;-)

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    1. I know what you mean -- those spoons have the same effect on me :)

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  5. Dearest JES,
    I thank you wholeheartedly for another so useful and inspiring post of yours, to come and visit you here always put me in such high spirits, my cherished friend !
    With utmost gratitude
    I'm sending blessings of joy on your Easter ahead,

    MUCH LOVE TO YOU

    XOXO Dany

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    1. Thank you Dany! May your Holy Days be blessed too!

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  6. Jes, thank you so much for this information! I printed it and will add it to my prep folder! :) And I learned something new-Kool-Aid made with jello and sugar! Great news!!

    Have a happy, blessed Easter! Teri S

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    1. Thank you Teri! I thought it was a fun little tidbit to add in! May your Holy Days be blessed too!

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  7. Well...a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down! When I was a child, children's aspirin was the only available pain reliever. And apparently we never had chewables. So, my mother would put a tiny dollop of grape jam on the pills to help me swallow them. It worked! My children had the benefit of liquid Motrin so I never tried it on them!

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    1. Very cute story! Thank you for sharing Benita!

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  8. I just finished reading "Ava's Man," a memoir of writer Rick Bragg's grandfather. One of those stories mentioned a man with multiple stab wounds who couldn't afford a doctor -- they smeared each stab with brown sugar, which coagulated the blood.
    The man lay on his neighbor's porch for a few days, paying the kids a nickel each "to keep the flies off." Finally, Charlie (the grandpa) said, "I need my porch back." Then the man got up and went home! (Yes, he lived.)

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    1. Wow -- that is good to know! Thank you for adding that!

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  9. We have been having quite a problem keeping moisture out of our sugar and salt, so I decided to use my "sucky machine" aka Foodsaver, and I have had great success with this. Thank you for all your wisdom!

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    1. Very clever -- thank you for sharing that!

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  10. I was pleasantly surprised to find out how easy it is to make brown sugar with regular white sugar and a small amount of molasses! So now, I don't buy brown sugar any more and just make up a batch for my canister when I am about to run out!!

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  11. Hi JES, very good post about stockpiling sugar! I do. I mostly use it for my ferments like kombucha. But I try to buy organic sugar cause I worry about GMO sugar or what they spray the sugar canes with :/ but buying organic could be pricey :/ What do you or any of your readers think about organic sugar? Love all your posts! ~T

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    1. Hi T., if you could afford the organic sugar, that would be my first choice!

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  12. JES, I don't eat much with sugar in it these days but I do buy it for my water kefir. I hope you and your family have a blessed Easter.

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    1. I didn't realize that water kefir used it too! We go through about 3-cups of week on our kombucha which is worth storing it for alone!

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    2. I love your helpful one-step-at-time pantry building posts, JES. I keep organic sugars such as raw cane sugar, powdered sugar, and brown sugar in my pantry and try to stock up when they're on sale. I try to purchase organic whenever possible. Thank you for all you share! So helpful and inspiring! ~ Lynne

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    3. Hi JES,
      This just came to mind regarding another use for sugar from our pantries. Perhaps you've heard of combining a few simple ingredients, including sugar, which is then used to extend the life of fresh-cut flowers. I have not tried it yet, and there may be many "recipes" available to choose from, but I like the idea of being able to do this quickly and easily at home to be able to enjoy the fresh beauty even longer! :-)
      Have a lovely day! ~ Lynne

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    4. Yes, very true! That is another great use!! Thank you for sharing Lynne! :)

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  13. I'm pleased to see you adding in the wound care with sugar. A much older nurse told me that in the 1960's they often packed confectioners sugar into decubitus (bed sores) because it helped to heal the wound.

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    1. Wow! Thank you for verifying that information! I appreciate you taking the time to comment :)

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  14. Jes, thank you for this post. It is a very common sense approach and well worthwhile to keep on hands!

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