Emergency Storage 101: Food Storage

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Less is more! I have got  to work on my filtering system. When I start talking about it peoples eyes get huge, jaws drop, and I wind up leaving them more dazed and confused than when they first approached me.

About five years ago my Mom and I started doing something called Once A Month Cooking (OAMC). Instead of making one meatloaf we’d make two. We’d chop up six bell peppers and freeze them, make up enough meatballs for multiple meals instead of just one. Buy whole chickens and boil them up to make our own chicken stock and chop up the chicken for future meals and freeze. It was in 2009 after the economy collapsed that our family decided to get serious about food storage and becoming preppers. That choice proved to be a life saver for us after the 2011 tornadoes struck Alabama. It wasn’t just food that we were fully stocked up with, but batteries, water storage, and first aid.

BUT….

Where to begin? To keep it simple you don’t have to buy a truckload of canned food or supplies, especially if you can’t afford it. Don’t hyperventilate thinking you have to keep up with the Joneses, however you can buy an extra can of soup or canned vegetables the next time you’re at the store.  Those in the know say that regular cans will keep for 3 years. The key is to start putting away the foods that you know your family will eat and rotate through it regularly. If your family cannot stand Spam, baked beans, or Grapenuts cereal then don’t purchase them. If you are blessed to have a picky eater in the family, as we do, it can seem like the choices for nutritional foods are even more limited. My son is a cracker, cookie, chip, fish stick, french fry, chicken finger, pb&j kind of picky eater. He’s not a pasta fan but will eat it without sauce/butter/or cheese, hates macaroni and cheese(blue box version and homemade), and despises anything that has bits or chunks of vegetables in it. It can be challenging to put up food for storage with such a picky eater around but it’s not impossible.

We try to keep things we know he will eat, Spam and Chef Boyardee are couple of those things, along with plenty of natural peanut butter.

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We also keep things such as plastic wear, cleaning supplies and medicines in bulk. Shopping at Sam’s Club has helped us build up our stock.

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Mom and I are big into dehydrating. Anything and everything from veggies and fruits to herbs and peppers. Here’s a sampling of what we have put up thus far.

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A colorful variety!

And because we love to bake it’s imperative to keep the items in our pantry organized and easy to find. We only keep the basics up in the kitchen, the excess is kept in either storage tubs or downstairs on a shelf designated for baking items…and this isn’t even full. Just wait till the holidays arrive!

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Keeping your pantry well stocked is equally important, remember keep only what you know your family will eat and enjoy. I like to keep things that go great in soups and quick breads.

May 2013 026    Many folks say they don’t have room for food storage. If you live in a middle class home trust me you have the room! An old college buddy of mine made room in an apartment he was sharing with a friend. He would use milk crates to store canned and boxed goods. He had the old refrigerator with a top freezer and would freeze leftover “lunch packets,” lay them flat in his freezer and this helped lower his eating out expenses. Crock pot meals became a way of life for him as well! You can store canned foods anywhere in your house. An ottoman with a lid is perfect not just for extra throw blankets but for some cans of peas and corn. If you have room in the bottom of your closet store away some heavy duty boxes with your family’s favorite boxed meals and cereal. Under the bed works great, too! Cardboard boxes are ok but plastic tubs are preferred. Be sure to label the front of the tubs with the names of the contents that are inside.

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Remember…

*Start small

*Find a good place to start storing

*Only buy what your family will eat

*Use heavy duty storage tubs/boxes

Have a blessed day!

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