In November I love to stock up on baking supplies because they go on sale for Thanksgiving. This will continue throughout December so watch the grocery stores for great deals on all of the baking ingredients and spices that you use. Once you have your food storage basics of wheat, water, beans and rice, there is not much you can do with those items without adding spices and leavening ingredients. Spices tend to sell for a great price point this time of year. Now is a perfect time to take stock of the spices you have in your cupboard and shop for the ones you are running low on.
As you purchase your baking items you'll need to rotate them into your pantry at home. Keep a sharpie close by and when you bring your groceries in your house mark the date and place them behind the older item in your cupboard. (remember FIFO- first in first out) That way when you do need to see the expiration date, it will be easy to see and you won't have to search for the teeny, tiny date printed on the food.
Another way to save money on baking supplies is to be able to tell when their life span has expired. There are several ways to test leavening agents to see if they still work.
Yeast: Add a spoonful in warm water along with a pinch of sugar. It should bubble in 10 minutes. Store yeast in the freezer for indefinite storage. I haven't had yeast go bad since doing this. I use instant yeast and I just add it straight from the freezer to my recipes and it works great.
Baking Powder: Add a pinch in warm water and stir. It should bubble immediately.
Baking Soda: Add a pinch to vinegar or lemon juice and it should bubble immediately. Store baking soda for cooking as well as cleaning.
Other items to store:
- Another baking item that I keep on hand is Cocoa powder. It has an indefinite shelf life!!
- During the week I want you to pay attention to the Spices that you use for cooking. Maybe even jot them down. Could you go a whole year without purchasing more? As bigger sales come upon us in the next couple of weeks look for the spices that you use and buy at least one extra. I know a lot of basic items seem palatable when sprinkled with the right spice.
- Did you know that you can substitute Unflavored Gelatin (Knox brand) for eggs when you are baking? (1 oz of unflavored gelatin=12 t of gelatin=12 "eggs") To use it in baking use 1t of gelatin + 3 T cold water+2 T hot water=1 "egg". I store powdered eggs in #10 cans. I love them because they are pasteurized and you can lick the batter without risking salmonella poisoning. You just add the powder egg to your dry ingredients and then the water to your liquids. I save my real eggs for boiled and scrambled dishes.
Along with colder weather and the holidays, my children LOVE hot chocolate. This is our favorite hot chocolate recipe. I whip up a big batch and store it in an airtight container. The kids know how to make it by themselves and it save a lot of money on the pre-packaged hot chocolate mixes. Plus it uses all food storage pantry items.
Hot or Cold Chocolate Mix
(from Cookin' With Food Storage by Peggy Layton)
3 1/4 C. powdered milk
1 1/2 C sugar
1 C cocoa powder
1 1/2 t salt
Mix all in a big bowl and store in an airtight container. To use stir 1/2 C mix with 1 C. boiling water. Stir to dissolve and chill if you want cold milk.