This is especially important when considering home canned food. I have recently planned my seed order for the coming growing season. I think the list is complete; but doing an inventory of what we have eaten more of; thus far, will help to gauge whether I should order more of one thing over another.
This year I put up 24 quarts of tomato puree. Right now I only have 10 quarts left. Not bad, considering we really didn't break into them until November. Most of those jars were used in soups so they were efficiently used; maximizing their meals per jar. But if the goal is greater self sufficiency, I should strive to increase that number next year. I will have to consider whether I should buy tomato product when I run out or make do without until next growing season. Next growing season, I hope to double the number of tomato plants I grow so that the tomato stuffs last longer. I also plan to dehydrate some plum tomatoes.
However, I find that we still have a lot of dried zuchinni. We have just recently started adding it into soups so I will watch whether I need to put up as much as I did last year.
Keeping an inventory of staples such as sweeteners, oils, grains and beans is good as well. It will help you to decide whether that item that you bought in a small quantity, at the health food store, would get you a better savings if you could buy it in a larger quantity through a buying club or special order. That seems to be the case for us with respect to whole wheat pasta and popcorn. I think we will also start buying blackstrap molasses in larger quantities. We use it enough that the savings of buying it by the gallon is better than the quart that we get it in now.
The next area that I have to concentrate on is the freezer. When we butchered our pig we had to put most of the meat in the small freezer that covered all of the veggies. Now, there is enough room in the freezer to find everything. I should look to see that we aren't hitting the berries too hard as they are one of the fruits that is easy to feed the Wee one and they need to last. I should check to see if the pork is balanced between small cuts for a meat and potato meals and roasts, hams for bigger meals and soup. This will help to improve my menu planning.
I don't necessarily have any great "system" for this job. I keep an initial list of what I canned/froze on the inside door of the pantry and freezer door. I wipe down the shelves and I check that all lids are secure and there is nothing funky growing. This is also a time that I check the potatoes I keep in brown paper bags under the bathroom sink and compost any that have soft spots. This will protect any others from going bad. I also check the winter squash for spots and I will cook any that look they might go bad soon.
Well, back to work...