This week on the Preparedness Challenge I have been working on more food Storage. There are plenty of reasons to worry about the future and they don't necessarily have to be about 'doom and gloom' scenarios. The employment market still isn’t recovering very well and the threat of unemployment & job loss is still very real. I have been unemployed for over a year & I can tell you, it is bleak. One of the best ways to prepare for shaky times is to create a long-term home food storage system.
Why Should You Consider Home Food Storage?
Having non-perishables on hand for use in a variety of situations makes sense. You are providing a safety net for your family in case of circumstances out of your control. Here are three reasons to consider storing food in your home:
· Emergency food supply. It’s conceivable that you might find yourself stranded in your own home, unable to get to the store and buy food. If you have food storage, you can easily feed yourself and your family for a few days in a pinch.
· Financial preparedness. Lose your job, or have your hours cut? Stocking up now will let you to prepare meals for your family without needing to buy as much at the grocery store each week. I try to stock food that is only on sale at the store and then buy what we need for the week. It is really taking forever to get the food storage done to my satisfaction, but slow and steady wins the race, right? Food storage can help you stretch your emergency fund further as you look to replace your income.
· Combat food price inflation. You can reduce your spending to rising food prices by buying food now at lower prices. You can also grow & can your food and save costs there.
Where Should You Store Your Food?
Hopefully you will have decided to start food storage for your household; so now you need to decide where you’re going to put it. If you’re tight for space, you might only have enough room to store two weeks or a month’s worth of extra food, but every little bit helps. This is one of my issues. Non-perishables are easy, but food is another matter.
For best results, you want to store your food in an area that receives limited light and stays between 50 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. This is very hard to do in Florida so there may be some limits depending on the weather in your area. Cupboards or pantries are great or basements work too as long as there isn’t a lot of moisture. I have some non perishables put out of sight in my bedroom.
What Foods Should You Store?
ONLY STORE WHAT YOU WILL EAT. One of the keys to successful food storage is to stock up on foods you will eat, since you will need to rotate your food storage anyway. My food storage includes items to make chili, spaghetti, and canned (and frozen) vegetables & I am still looking for a dehydrator for fruit & veggies. You will also need extra baking supplies (flour and sugar), as well as rice.
Here are some basic food staples you can start with based on your own families needs.
- Canned fruits and vegetables. Be sure and check expiration dates and rotate them out.
- Dehydrated fruits and vegetables. There are lots of foods you can dry. Fruits veggies and you can even make beef jerky.
- Beans/legumes. Lots of beans can have a shelf life of up to 20 years and they’re a great source of protein. You can cook them and eat them plain, or use them in stews & soup.
- Wheat. Properly stored, wheat can last decades. You can make your own flour from wheat. You will also need a grinder, and use it regularly in your cooking so that your body is used to it.
- Baking staples. You should definitely store baking staples, such as all-purpose flour, sugar, brown sugar, baking soda & baking powder. Stored them in airtight containers in a cool, dry location, many baking supplies can last up to five years. Again, check expiration dates & rotate out.
- Rice. Properly stored, rice can have a shelf life of 8 to 10 years. It’s a great staple to have on hand. It’s also reasonable priced and is a great source of energy.
- Powdered milk. Powdered milk will need to be stored in a cool no-moisture area. Some can be stored for up to 18 to 24 months; check dates! J We use ‘shelf-milk’ in our house but I will be adding powdered milk soon.
- Iodized salt. You need the iodine in this salt to survive. Stores well.
- Water. It’s a good idea to have some sort of water storage. You should figure one gallon per person per day at least. Keep it in an unlit place in food grade containers.
Some other foods you might want to add are powdered eggs, canned meat, granola bars, and some chocolate. Meal Ready-To-Eats (MREs) from military surplus and food storage sellers are also popular items to include in home food storage. Although you need to taste test them before you buy (in bulk) so you know you will eat them.
As you build your home food storage, it is important to know that you don’t need to stock up all at once. Start by calculating the amount needed to have on hand for a month; work on storing that amount. Then you can move up to three months and then a year (if you want). Your home food storage can make you feel relief at not having to do any crazy last minute shopping. We see that every time a hurricane is going to hit.
Have you begun building your home food storage? Do you have any additional food storage tips to add?