Next, you asked and we listened!! Two topics we've had a lot of requests to talk about are "Where to Start" and "How To Organize Your Food Storage". We all suffer from the same Food Storage woes.
I don't have all of the answers, but I'll share a few ideas I've come across that can help you in your Food Storage efforts.
Where Do I Start?The LDS church has advised: “We encourage [you] to prepare for adversity in life by having a basic supply of food and water and some money in savings. " (See All Is Safely Gathered In: Family Home Storage).
Their three main suggested components of food storage are:
- Short term food supply (3 month)
- Long term food supply
- Water Supply
You are storing a 3 month supply of food for a potential loss in employment, a long term power outage, a serious storm or other natural or man-made disaster. These are foods you could comfortably live on for a few months.
Most of these foods should be shelf stable and easy to prepare - even without electricity. They should also be easy to access and easy to use. (remember to store a non-electric can opener!) Examples are peanut butter, cans of chili and tuna, canned veggies and boxed cereal.
There are quite a few resources you can use for planning. The starting place is to pay attention to what you eat now, and slowly build up your supply. When you are at the store and buying a package of pasta, buy two instead. Here are some resources you can use:
A fill-able Excel sheet for planning and purchasing
Link to a Checklist to create a 3 month supply of food
Link to 3 month food storage menu ideas
You are working to create a usable supply you continually use in making meals, and replenish with your regular shopping. To kick start this you may need to budget a certain amount of extra dollars each week or month to get your supply built up. Even $20 a month can make a difference.
Make sure to shop case lot sales - coming soon in Utah!
When you have figured out what you want to buy, make a plan. Are you going to buy one extra thing each time or are you going to stock up with case lots or other sales? Whatever plan you come up with, it will help! There is not one right way to do this!
Here is the MMStake Self Reliance Video about Short Term Food Storage you may want to watch again:
The next step is also challenging - how in the world do you organize the food you are storing?
· 1. You have to rotate! Will you be going front to back or left to right? Put up a note to let everyone know how the system works. If you have a lot of canned food, install some slanted shelves or racks to make this even simpler.
· 2. When you are regularly rotating your food, you are also able to see signs of spoilage or pests. If you see bulging cans, evidence or mice or insects, or home-canned food that is seeping liquid from the seal, you need to throw it away immediately.
3.Regularly use the food from your food storage. Only store what your family eats today! Their taste buds are not going to change overnight.
4. When you add items to your food storage shelf, label it!! I always think I'll remember later and I never do. We store a Sharpie and a roll of masking tape in a kitchen drawer so it's easy to label.
· 5. Store like items together on your shelves. Pretend you are a grocery store! This makes it easier for you to inventory and when you need something, you won’t waste time searching for that can of food you know you put on the shelf a while ago.
· 6. Label your shelves to make adding inventory a breeze. You and family members can always find what you are looking for, or what you need to buy.
· 7. Store the heaviest items on the lower shelves. You don't want something falling from above.
· 8. When you see something has been sitting on the shelf for awhile, pull it forward for quick use or bring it to your main cooking area. Otherwise it's out of sight out of mind and the food will be wasted.
If you don't have room in a storage room or pantry, get creative!! Here are some Great ideas for where to store food storage in your living areas.
Most of all, just DO SOMETHING! It will help you build momentum and excitement to do more!