Mom prepares 426 meals to feed the family for eight months

A mother has been dubbed the best meal prepper after sharing how she has 426 preserved meals to feed her family for the next eight months.

Kelsey Shaw, 30, keeps her pantry stocked with fresh homegrown canned vegetables, ready meals, herbs, rice and pasta.

The mother of three began preserving food from her five-acre farm when the family moved to Crown Point, Indiana, USA, in September 2017.

Kelsey taught herself how to preserve everything from pickles to beef stew, and uses methods like dehydration and water canning to keep her cupboards stocked.

It takes him three months to keep all the food and he has enough to feed his family for eight months.

“When we moved to the farm, we wanted to live a slower lifestyle and we wanted to know what we were eating and where it was coming from,” Kelsey said.

“I taught myself how to preserve food and learned many tricks like making jelly from corn on the cob, which tastes like honey.

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“Takes a lot of time. I spend at least two hours a day in the garden and then the conservation process can take days as I go back to things in stages.

“It’s a skill to be able to do all the conservation. I am so proud every time I walk into the pantry.

“I have it stocked to feed us about two meals a day from October through May.

“It helped during the pandemic because we didn’t have to panic about running out of food while we were in lockdown.”

The family eats fresh food from their farm during the summer months and uses their pre-preserved meals during the winter.

Kelsey started preserving food so the family could eat home-grown food year-round, but that also means she’s prepared for any natural disaster or pandemic that might cause a supply chain problem.

The mother fell in love with the art of preserving her food after moving to a farm in Crown Point from Highland, Indiana, with her husband, Nathanial Shaw, 30, and their three children.

He started out learning from books and watching videos online to can pickles, but now he keeps as much as he can.

The family grows fresh fruit and vegetables and has chickens and dairy goats, which they then eat, on their farm.

“I preserve whole meals, so I make jars of beef stew and then put them in a pressure canner, so they’re ready to store and use when I need them,” Kelsey explained.

“It means I never have to worry about making dinner if it’s been a busy day.

“I have canned tomatoes in many different ways and try to use every part of the food that we can.

“I use tomato skins and dehydrate them to make a powder that can be added to meals. I also have tomato sauce made and canned diced tomatoes in my pantry.”

Kelsey uses an inventory to keep track of what she has in her pantry and tackles a food at the time she is keeping it.

“It takes a lot of time, so I often focus on one thing at a time,” he said.

“Then one day I will collect all the peppers and keep them. Next time I’ll do the tomatoes.”

Kelsey also keeps her pantry fully stocked with items she can’t grow, like flour, rice, and pasta.

“We’re 40 minutes from a supermarket, so I often go every other week just to keep us stocked up on that kind of stuff,” he said.

“We eat as fresh as we can get eggs from our chickens for breakfast.

“We try to be zero waste, so the food scraps are given to the chickens or used in my composition.

“Preserving food is time consuming but I have found a real love for it and it makes mealtimes easier for us as a family.

“We are prepared for anything.”

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