Are you interested in starting a home food storage system, but feel overwhelmed with the process? Are you clueless about what kind of foods to store and where to put them? Food storage doesn't have to be a daunting task
and you don't have to accomplish the job in a day or even a week or a month. Take it step by step, and before you know it, you will have your own home food storage system.
Decide where in your home you will keep your food storage. The best place is one that does not reach extreme temperatures and is dry. A basement is a good place to keep food storage and a garage might be a good choice too, depending on where you live. If you have extra storage space in your kitchen pantry, food will store perfectly well there too.
You may need to purchase or build some shelving to store your food. For those just starting a food storage system, a simple shelf will be fine and more can be added as your food storage grows. Small can organizers that allow cans to be stacked on top of each other and roll forward when one is moved, can be purchased to maximize space and efficiency.
Next, you need to choose what you will store. Many food storage experts recommend certain foods for your food storage. They have research and reason behind their suggestions, but those foods will do you no good if you don't eat them. The most important thing in choosing foods to store is choosing foods you actually eat.
One of the best ways to find out what you eat is to make a list of ten to twelve of the recipes you prepare the most. Don't worry about what you'd like to eat, just focus on what you have eaten multiple times in the last six months. These will be dishes like spaghetti, meatloaf, tacos, and lasagna.
Once you have your list of recipes, list out the ingredients for each recipe. Some of the ingredients will be non-perishable, or shelf-stable items. These are the first things you want to add to your food storage. They will be canned goods and dry goods.
How to Store Food for Emergencies
Are you prepared for hurricanes, tornadoes or other disasters? In a fight for survival, quick access to emergency food and water supplies provides meals, maintains health, and gives peace-of-mind.
Preparing and maintaining a stock of emergency food supplies is easy and inexpensive. Here are some steps to
Recommended Emergency Supply Levels
The Canned Food Alliance says "the minimum amount is two cans of food per person, per day, and one gallon of water per person, per day". Most people think in terms of 72 hours preparation, but FEMA, the Red Cross, and other emergency preparedness experts recommend planning food stock levels for one to two weeks.
Expect the Unexpected
You can plan better when you are not in the midst of an emergency. Make a list of items you need in addition to food and water, like a manual can opener, and a source of heat for cooking.
Does your family have special needs - infants, nursing mothers, or toddlers? Their nutritional needs differ from the elderly, sick, and disabled. Food allergies will dictate special foods.
Include multi-vitamins and Vitamin C supplements in your plan. Dehydrated or freeze-dried foods require water to prepare.
How will you transport food supplies if necessary? Canned goods have a long shelf life and are inexpensive, but are heavy and awkward to move. Foods stored in glass will be heavy and fragile.
Dehydrated and freeze-dried foods are easy-to-store and transport, but may not be as tasty as other foods. survivalacres.com/
Meals-ready-to-eat, or MREs, and other types of prepared meals can be purchased with a self-heater. The boxes or pouches are a convenient storage size, and lightweight. The bulk of your food storage inventory should be foods requiring no refrigeration, water, extensive preparation, or cooking. store.colemans.com/cart/mres-mealsreadytoeat-p-1344.html
What Should You Buy
Most emergency preparedness experts agree that food storage items should be planned around the following:
How to Store Food for Emergencies
* Familiar foods provide security and comfort in uncertain circumstances.
* A variety of foods provides better nutrition.
* Include seasonings and condiments to enhance taste.
* Plan to include treats: candy or desserts to keep morale high.
* Focus on foods that are high in calories and nutrient dense.
* Avoid salty foods that will increase thirst.
Best Nutrient Dense Foods
* Legumes: beans, peas, lentils, soybeans
* Vegetables: spinach, carrots, asparagus, corn, potatoes, tomatoes
* Grains: wheat, brown rice, oatmeal
* Fish and meats: salmon, shrimp, chicken, turkey
* Nuts and seeds: walnuts, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, peanuts, nut butters
* Fruits (dried and dehydrated): strawberries, blueberries, bananas, apples, peaches, pineapple
* Miscellaneous: canned or powdered milk, powdered eggs, soups, stews, potted meats
Nutrient Dense Foods
Building an Emergency Food Inventory
Dig the well before you are thirsty - Chinese proverb. This applies to building an emergency food supply. Families feel the economic pinch of less income but still find ways to prepare for emergencies. Choose a dollar amount like $5 or $10 weekly and use it to buy extra food. Extra cans of soup and some beans this week, and dried fruits, grains, and vegetables next week will soon add up. Add to your emergency food storage pantry each week. Use a permanent marker to date food and circle expiration dates. Rotate stock regularly using the first in, first out (FIFO) system. www.fcs.uga.edu/pubs/current/FDNS-E-34-CS.html
1. Determine your family's emergency food supplies need.
2. Plan how to transport food and water.
3. Develop a food storage wish list and buy items weekly.
4. Use a small, consistent amount to fund your inventory every week.
5. Start stocking food today.
How to Hoard Food for Survival
Some people call it hoarding. I like to call it being smart. People who aren't prepared in an emergency are hungry people. I like to eat. I like my kids to eat. Therefore I choose to be prepared.
The Mormon's have the right idea. They encourage their followers to keep a year's supply of food. They even have community canning centers for those who don't have the facilities to do it at home. I'm not quite that
extreme, however, nor do I have the storage space for that amount of food. I'm striving for a good three to six month's supply.
The way to start storing food for emergencies is to clean out all of your cupboards. Throw out that old can of cranberry sauce from two Thanksgivings ago. Clean all the shelves really well. The goal is to try to see how much space you have, so you can decide how much you have room for. You can store your hoard anywhere- hard-core survivalists say to bury it in your backyard-but we won't go that far just yet. Look for extra space in your garage,closets, under your bed. Put more perishable stuff and what you will be using soonest in your kitchen cupboards where it's easy to get at.
Decide what your family likes to eat, and then make your grocery list. You don't want a bunch of MRE's or huge cans of peanut butter that your kids are going to refuse to eat. Store what you already know they like, and you can use it for your daily living, not just for emergencies. Rotate and eat out of your storage supply and less will get wasted. Don't get crazy and buy a few bushels of grain and say your going to grind it and make fresh bread. You're a liar. You'll just have a lot of rotten grain. Then maybe you can make some beer at least. Get some cans of tuna and fruit cocktail from Costco instead.
Keep a written inventory of what you have. That way, you know what you have, less gets wasted because it expired, and you know when you need to go out and get more of something.
Store household goods as well. Toilet paper and shampoo probably have longer shelf lives that food items. Set in supplies of toothbrushes, soap and other personal hygiene items,medical supplies, baby needs.Think of what you wouldn't want to run out of if you were out of a job for a few months.
How to Build Up Your Food Storage, Month-by-Month
When I see people who have huge amounts of food storage, I always wonder how much time and money it took to build that supply up and how in the world they maintain it. While I can appreciate those who are able to do all
of their own canning and store it for years, I began experimenting with a somewhat simpler system that would allow me to have enough on hand of shorter-term storage. Long-term storage is a good idea for things like powdered milk, wheat, beans, and rice. But what about more everyday items? The things that I use to cook with a few times a month? So I began designating each month with a food item that I would stock up on. I have found that this system works the best for me.
Think about what your family eats regularly. Then look in your pantry and freezer. How much do you have of those products? Wouldn't it be nice to have enough ingredients on hand to be able to make those meals at just about anytime? With a little planning before going to the store, you will be able to.
At the beginning of each month, look in your pantry or freezer to see what you are low on. Then look at the grocery store ads online (most stores put their weekly ads online now) and designate an item to buy to add to your food storage. So, for March, let's say that you are low on tomato products or decide that you need to get some if you are just beginning to store food. Start by looking at the sales fliers for a few of the grocery stores near your house to see who has that product on sale (and who has the best price on the product) and try going there to buy them. Or, you can just pick up a few more tomato products on your regular trip to your regular grocery store. The bonus that you get from shopping with the ads is that you can plan your weekly meals around what's on sale that week at that store and save even a little more.
Each time you go to the store during a month, pick up just a couple of your designated monthly item. The upfront cost is much less this way and allows you to find places to store just a few extra cans each time, rather
than having a ton of canned or frozen goods to find places for all at once. Choose a different item for each month. One month could be corn, the next month your closest grocery store could have a sale on ground beef and you freeze it, etc. This system is ongoing and allows you to tailor the foods that you are storing to your family's likes and your budget.
The only other obstacle is upkeep. After storing up your cans or frozen goods, they need to be rotated so that you have enough of the item and a fresh supply. There is no point in storing food if you are just going to let it sit and go bad. Each time you use one of your items that you have stored, add it to your grocery list for the week. So if you used a can of corn as a part of Wednesday's dinner, put "1 can of corn" on your grocery list so that you don't deplete your store of food. When you buy the one can of corn, add it to your supply. Try to first use the items that will be expiring the soonest. That way you will always have the assurance of knowing that you have enough and it is fresh.
There are ways to take this system further. You can have two designated items a month, or if you do your own canning, you can set a goal of how many vegetables you would like to can. You can have a different item each week, depending on what's on sale at the store and what you have coupons for, and stock up. Any amount of food storage that you can have and use is a good thing. It's like having your own little grocery store operating out of your pantry and refrigerator once you have enough items. Not only does it making cooking more convenient, but it helps to weather a financial storm or a literal storm if you can't get to the store for a few days.