Kelsey is prepared for any event (Picture: Kelsey Shaw/SWNS)
An organised mum has shared how she has 426 meals prepped to feed her family for the next eight months.
Kelsey Shaw, 30, keeps her pantry stocked full of home-grown vegetables, which she cans, as well as pre-made meals, herbs, rice and pasta.
The mum-of-three started storing food from her five-acre farm when the family moved to Crown Point, Indiana, US, in September 2017.
Kelsey 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 she now has enough stored to feed her family for a considerable time.
The family eat fresh food from their farm during the summer months and use their prepped meals during the winter.
Kelsey 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.
The stay-at-home mum 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.
Kelsey and her husband (Picture: Kelsey Shaw/SWNS)
‘I taught myself how to preserve food and learnt 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.
Kelsey with one of her goats (Picture: Kelsey Shaw/SWNS)
‘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.
The stocked pantry (Picture: Kelsey Shaw/SWNS)
Now this is meal-prepping (Picture: Kelsey Shaw / SWNS)
‘It helped during the pandemic because we didn’t have to panic about running out of food while we were locked down.’
Kelsey fell in love with the art of canning her food after she moved to a farm in Crown Point, Indiana, US, from Highland, Indiana, with her husband, Nathanial Shaw, 30 and their three children.
Growing her own veg saves Kelsey money on her prepping routine (Picture: Kelsey Shaw/SWNS)
Some of the preserved food (Picture: Kelsey Shaw/SWNS)
She learned everything from books and watching videos online.
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,’ Kelsey explains.
‘It means I never have to worry about making dinner if it’s been a busy day.’
Tomatoes are one of the family’s staples (Picture: Kelsey Shaw/SWNS)
‘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.’
The goats and chickens (Picture: Kelsey Shaw / SWNS)
Kelsey has to track everything in her pantry and tackles a food at a time when she is preserving it.
‘It does take a long time, so I’ll often focus on one thing at a time,’ she adds.
‘So, one day I’ll pick all the peppers and preserve them, the next I’ll do the tomatoes.’
The mum makes her own tomato sauce that’s ready to be used in a quick weeknight dinner (Picture: Kelsey Shaw/SWNS)
Kelsey 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 noted.
‘We eat as fresh as we can 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 compose.
‘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.’
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