Saturday, April 26, 2008

Building a three month supply of food: stocking your pantry

Check out this article from yahoo finance. An interesting take on this whole food shortage thing. It asserts that stockpiling food is actually a good financial investment, because the prices of food are going up faster than our money market accounts. Which isn't the point, of course. Interesting, though.

While the cannery is closed, we have been encouraged to work on building up our three month supply of food. Food prices are still going up. Get it now and save $$$$!

Where can you start? What can you buy? This is all about you. What I buy, your family might not eat! Make a list of meals you normally eat. Which of them have a basis of frozen or shelf-stable foods? Some ideas: Pastas and sauce or ingredients for sauce, chili (canned or homemade from dried beans) and cornbread (from a mix or grind your own corn), Rice and chicken with frozen veggies. There may be items you can't store for three months. Ask yourself if you could still eat the meal without those items (sour cream, fresh veggies) if  there was an emergency where fresh food wasn't available. If the answer is yes, store it! 

I don't like eating the same thing every week, or even every two weeks. So when I make my plan to store food for 3 months, I plan foods that will last at least a year. I plan 6 each of 14 dinners, but we eat those meals over the course of a year. You might want to plan to eat your meals every night. In this case, your foods need only last 3 months. In my family, we need to go to In-n-Out and order pizza occasionally. Don't judge me. I may be the Food Storage Lady, but I like my burgers with the pink spread.

I also store basic pantry items in three month quantities. I don't store white flour in my long term storage, because it goes bad and smells like metal cans if that's where you stored it. I buy a big bag of flour from Costco and store it in a big food grade bin in my pantry. When it starts to smell not-so-fresh, I dump it and buy another. There's no use using the best sugar cookie recipe in the world if you are using nasty flour. That's what I always say. Okay, not always. But sometimes. Most spices, cereals, canned goods will last three months easily. Usually much longer.

I store oatmeal and pancake mix and syrup, and cold cereals for breakfast. We don't eat this every day, but we could if we needed. The kids like them.

The problem is how to remember to replace what you have used. I determine a number of units, 1 unit higher than I actually need, and replace the unit when 1 is empty. For instance: I store 8 jars of peanut butter, because I need 7. Before I throw out the empty  PB container, I write it on my list for the store. I always have nearly 7 full jars on the shelf.

You can shop grocery sales (there is a link to sister savings over there. She collects grocery ad info every week, and posts the best deals online, free. I did Couponsense (costs about $10 a month plus cost of newspapers) for about a year, and I really stocked up on shelf items. It did take a lot of time. I went to three stores a week, got three newspapers for coupons,  and spent about 10 hours a week on it. There are other programs that are less involved. Now I mostly buy in bulk at Costco. It isn't the cheapest way at all, but I like it. There isn't one right way to do this. There are cheaper and more expensive ways to do it, easier and harder ways to do it, tastier and not-so-tasty ways to do it, but no one right way. 

What it requires (that many people don't want to invest) is time and thought. 

Why not start now? The items you need are only getting more expensive. If you are eating food you purchased 6 months ago, you are saving money! The wheat I put in buckets in 2004 is worth 3 times what I paid for it. Not that it matters. Wheat is still not so expensive most of us can't afford it. Trust me, when you fill your house with food, you will be repayed easily in peace of mind. Not to mention the blessings that come from obedience to this temporal law. 

Did you know that we are supposed to be our own welfare program? In case of catastrophe (personal to worldwide), we should be prepared with food to eat, water to drink, and money in the bank. The greatest strength of the Church welfare program is what we, the members, have stored in our closets.

What sorts of meals do you store in your three months' supply? Leave me your ideas and recipes.


Emily said...

I'm a Stake Canning Specialist in Utah and have enjoyed reading your posts. It would be great to exchange ideas and information. Thanks for putting together this website! Thanks, Emily

My Time to Blossom said...

Great blog! I'm going to pass it on to my brother. He is the food storage guy in Chandler. I live in Mesa. The person in my area has been it for 20 years. If you want on her email list send me a comment or email me.

I have a good life said...

I always love to read about how everyone else is working on their storage. I just posted about an idea that works so well for my family. I thought you might be interested since it might help someone else. :) Keep up the good blogging!

Erin Ann said...

I enjoyed your blog. Would you be interested in guest blogging on the importance of protecting your food storage on another site?

Renae Alexander said...

What a great site! You have great information and resources. I'm passing this on to everybody I know. (all three of them!)

NorthLasVegasmom said...

Wonderful comments ! I love this topic!!!

The Coopers said...

I google'd "three month supply storage" and found your blog...loved it! Thank you so much for sharing this important information, it deffinitely helped a lot.

Becca said...

I am the newly called food storage specialist (ironic because I am VERY much not an expert) and this post, while a year old is very helpful. I got called last week, and we are having a food storage enrichment next week. This post is great, and now I have to read more of your posts. :-)

Alexander said...

Thank you for make this great blog.
I have plan to buy a Portable Storage Building for my car protection.

Ana said...

There should be more initiatives like this one. Nice post... Thanks!

Ana said...

Buy British Food

Stephen Z.Lu said...

Awsome info and straight to the point. I am not sure if this is in fact the best place to ask but do you guys have any ideea where to hire some professional writers? Thanks in advance :)
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Justin P.Bailey said...

You are a very smart person!
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