Sunday, October 27, 2013

Food Storage: What & How Much to Store

Once you've figured out the need for food storage and why it's important even if your not a "prepper" now comes the challenging part: what to store. You may gather that a few basics would be important wheat, beans, and rice. Should you stock up at the grocery store the next time Ramen is on sale? What about produce? How will you ensure your family is eating a balanced diet? Below are some quick guidelines for the bare minimum (survival mode not thriving) that I've put together from several resources.

GRAINS: 300 lbs per person for one year. This does not need to be only wheat. Think about the grains you consume now. Rice, Quinoa, Pasta, Flour, Oats. etc. If you plan to store large quantities of wheat be sure to also purchase an electric or hand grain mill.
BEANS: 60 lbs per person for one year. Think variety: pinto, kidney, black, small white, etc.
MILK: 60 lbs per person for one year. Check what you purchase to make sure it's actually dairy milk and not a soy substitute - unless you want that. Also, if you have young children - under age 2 - also look into storing powdered whole milk which can be harder to find.
50 lbs per person for one year. This also includes jams, syrups and honey.
SALT: 5 lbs per person for one year.
PEANUT BUTTER: 4 lbs per person for one year. If you have young children like me you'll need more.
SEASONINGS: You won't be too happy if all of your food storage is bland because you didn't prepare to season your foods with things like garlic powder, pepper, bouillon, cumin or baking favorites like vanilla extract, cinnamon and nutmeg. Evaluate how much you use of your seasonings and try to buy it in a larger container or bottle next time you're at the store.
FRUITS & VEGGIES: This one can be trickier. The daily food recommendations have changed from the Food Pyramid most of us are familiar with to the My Plate campaign. This new way of thinking of a balanced diet calls for half of our plates to be in fruits and veggies - the latter being the more dominant. In food storage you can get these items from grocery store cans (be sure to heavily rotate), home canning (offers a little longer shelf life) and freeze dried fruits and veggies that pack a 25 year unopened shelf life. Variety is important. Think of more than just potatoes, onions and strawberries. Having a personal garden is ideal and can be started before an emergency. Be sure to store up extra seeds and water!

You may also want to check out this Prepping Calculator over on Ready Nutrition. The above guidelines are gathered from the Thrive Calculator, Provident LivingThe Survival Mom by Lisa Bedford and Ready Nutrition's website.

Right now if you are new to preparedness you might be thinking, "Holy cow, that is a lot of food to store away!" And you are right, especially if you have more than just yourself to be prepared for. Start small and work at your food storage goals over time. Take advantage of sales when they come up and add just one or two things each month or pay period. The best advice I can give is to store what you eat and eat what you store. We rotate through our food storage every week - even as we are building to a one year supply for our family of seven. This method helps me to know what my family likes and store what I know we'll eat and not just things that we could survive off of if we had to.

I'd love to hear from you on your preparedness goals! Let me know if you have questions or aren't sure what your next steps are. Helping others become prepared and self-reliant is a passion of mine - put me to use! I hope your fall is well underway and that your family is happy & healthy!

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