Homemaker Preps Hundreds Of Meals That Could Easily Last For Eight Months
Meet the ultimate prepper–a mother who already has 426 meals preserved to feed her family for the next eight months.
Kelsey Shaw, 30, keeps her pantry stocked full of home-grown canned fresh vegetables, pre-made meals, herbs, rice and pasta. The mother-of-three started preserving the food from her five-acre farm when the family moved to Crown Point, Indiana, in September 2017.
Shaw taught herself how to preserve everything–from pickles to a beef stew–and uses methods such as dehydration and water-canning to keep her cupboards stocked up. It takes her three months to preserve all the food and has enough stored to feed her family for eight months.
The family eat fresh food from their farm during the summer months and use their pre-preserved meals during the winter. Shaw started preserving food so the family could eat home-grown food all year round, but it also means she is prepared for any natural disaster or pandemic that could cause an issue in the supply chain.
Shaw, a stay-at-home mom and photographer, said: “When we moved to the farm we wanted to live a slower lifestyle and wanted to know what we were eating and where it was coming from. I taught myself how to preserve food and learned lots of hacks like making corncob jelly which tastes like honey.
“It does take a long time. I spend at least two hours a day in the garden and then the process of preserving things can take days as I go back to things in stages. It is a skill to be able to do all the preserving.
“I’m very proud every time I walk in the pantry. I have it stocked up to feed us about two meals a day from October through to May. It helped during the pandemic because we didn’t have to panic about running out of food while we were locked down.”
Shaw fell in love with the art of preserving her food after she moved from Highland IN to the family farm in Crown Point IN with her husband, Nathanial Shaw, 30–who works in operations and maintenance–and their three children. She started by learning from books and watching videos online to can pickles but now preserves everything she can. The family grow fresh fruit and vegetables and have chickens and dairy goats–which they later eat–on their farm.
“I preserved whole meals, so I’ll make jars of beef stew and then put them in a pressure canner, so they are then ready to keep and use whenever I need them. It means I never have to worry about making dinner if it’s been a busy day.” – Shaw said.
“I have tomatoes preserved in lots of different ways and try to use every part of the food we can. I use tomato skins and dehydrate them to make powder that can be added to meals. I also have ready-made tomato sauce and chopped tomatoes canned in my pantry.”
Shaw uses an inventory to track what she has in her pantry. “It does take a long time, so I’ll often focus on one thing at a time,” she said. “So, one day I’ll pick all the peppers and preserve them. The next I’ll do the tomatoes.”
Shaw also keeps her pantry fully stocked with items she can’t grow–such as flour, rice, and pasta.
“We’re 40 minutes from a supermarket, so I often go every two weeks just to keep us stocked on those kinds of things,” she said. “We eat as fresh as we can and have eggs from our chickens for breakfast.
“We try to be zero waste, so food scraps are given to the chickens or used in my compost. Preserving food is time-consuming but I’ve found a real love for it, and it makes meals easier for us as a family. We’re prepared for anything.”
Produced in association with SWNS.