Practical Prepping–Dry Storage


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I’m getting low on sugar and corn meal in my pantry so I’m preparing some for storage.  I learned that when storing ground grain like flour and corn meal, it is a good idea to put the package from the store in the freezer for a couple of days to kill any larvae in the grain.  Sounds creepy I know but it is not unusual to have dormant larvae in grain.  Adding a bay leaf to stored grain also helps kill any little incubating varmints.

After freezing my corn meal I store it in glass canning jars.  Use the same funnel you use to fill canning jars when transferring the grain. I pour it from the package into a flexible container with a pour spout, which also helps avoid spills.  Add a small anti-moisture packet to the top of the jar and label it with the date.  I save the anti-moisture packets from vitamin and supplement jars to use again but they can also be found on-line.

Live and learn–Some of the sugar and salt I recently used from storage was hard. I thought it would work to store it in the original packaging in plastic tubs but the tubs were not enough to keep moisture out and prevent the packages from becoming solid.  From now on I will transfer sugar and salt into glass jars with tight-fitting lids and store as I do ground grains.  A clean, food-safe plastic container with a tight lid also works.  I also use coffee cans with plastic lids but I seal the lids with Duck Tape to make sure moisture does not get in.

The sugar and salt are not damaged if they become hard; break up the chunks and use as you would normally do.  Both sugar and salt have a long shelf life.

If corn meal is something you do not normally cook with, try these delicious ideas.

  • Corn Meal Mush:  Pour corn meal into boiling salted water and cook, stirring, until porridge is thickened and tender.  Consult package directions for proportions and cooking time.  Dot a bowl of thick porridge with butter and serve as a side with spicy pork dishes as polenta or eat hot with cream and sugar for a quick hot breakfast cereal.
  • Refrigerate left-over Corn Meal Mush in a small greased loaf pan.  Cut cold, firm mush in 1/2-inch slices, dredge with flour and fry in hot coconut oil [or vegetable oil].  Serve dusted with powdered sugar, with gravy, or with maple syrup.  I grew up looking forward to Fried Corn Meal Mush for dinner or breakfast.
  • Sweet Corncake:  I am not a fan of dry Southern Corn Bread–at least the recipes I am familiar with.  But when I discovered this keeper from Cheri & Bill Campbell of Bishop Hill Colony Bakery, Sweet Corncake has become a family favorite. Bishop Hill is a restored Swedish Settlement near Galesburg, Illinois.  My husband and I enjoy visiting in the autumn for fall festivals or antique shows–and to sample Bill’s sweet treats and lunches.


  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 2 Tbls. baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil [or coconut oil]
  • 4 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 1/2 cups whole milk


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together all dry ingredients. In another bowl, mix together oil, beaten eggs and milk.
  3. Gently mix dry and wet ingredients together just until moistened.
  4. Pour batter into a 13″x9″ greased pan.
  5. Bake 30 minutes. The bread is done when a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.

This moist corn cake is delicious for breakfast with butter or with soup.  Try it as a side with pot roast or pork.  Delicious!




About Sharon L. Clemens

Sharon and husband Merle and their children owned and operated a specialty shop and restaurant in a restored dairy barn for thirteen years in a village in Illinois. After closing their restaurant, they converted the barn into the family home and moved their shop to the garden level. They operated a collectable shop as a home-based business for another thirteen years before retiring to the country life. Sharon has been a special feature guest on the local NBC telelvision affiliate and has spoken professionally on topics relating to herb gardening and cottage lifestyle. In addition to conducting workshops and programs, Sharon writes a weekly cottage lifestyle e-newsletter called “Cottage Chat” and a Word Press blog: Seasons of Farm Grove. She has written five novels, The Younger Girl, Door County Cottage, Timeless-A Door County Love Story, Door County Cabin and Door County Escape, love stories with traditional values set in Door County, Wisconsin.
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