In March of last year I did a short series on Emergency Preparedness. It was fun. I’ll be revisiting this series over the next couple of months, with some updates on how we’re doing on our own preparedness. First up is food storage. Right now we’re doing great on sheer bulk (oodles of rice, beans, and grains) but we’re not doing well on variety. Note to self: buy varietal food storage items.

Today we’ll tackle food storage.

First, you’ll want to identify your goals for your family with regards to food storage. Would you simply like to have enough food to last for a week without replenishment? One month? Three months? A year? Our general goal is to have three months worth of food storage, with an additional three months of “all-we-have-is-rice-and-beans-but-our-bellies-are-full” kind of storage.  We already have plenty of beans, rice, and wheat, but we’d like to plan out our additional storage a bit better: canned goods, dried food, etc. One of my favorite food storage sites is Safely Gathered In. This site has ongoing Long-term storage ideas (beans, rice, oats, etc.) with recipes, as well as ongoing projects such as an emergency car kit and a mobile 72-hour emergency kit. Right now they’re focusing on gathering beans for the month of March, and putting together car kits (each tuesday you add something new to the kit). I like how this site has broken food storage and emergency preparedness down into specific baby steps.

Secondly, identify what items you’d like to stock up on and purchase them. You can either follow Safely Gathered In’s method, or use your own. Purchase your food all at once, or add to your stash month by month (the most popular choice). Shopping at Costco or Sam’s is a good way to gather large amounts of canned goods, rice, beans, and powdered milk. Another choice is to ask about purchasing in bulk from one of the local grocery stores, or to order from a food coop. If you’re interested in the food coop option (ordering from either Azure or UNFI), check out Wolf Lake WellnessWholy Living, or Organic Alaska.

Thirdly, you’ve got to work your food storage into your meal planning. The easiest way to do this is to learn to cook from scratch. I’m betting most of you reading this already have taken that route 🙂 The fewer items (variety of items, not quantity) you have in your food storage, the easier it is to rotate them in to your meals. Our goal is to primarily stock grains, legumes and canned tomatoes. We also keep a giant box of powdered milk around, but I’m terrible about rotating it in, so we might just end up tossing it and buying a new one occasionally. I’m ok with a small amount of waste, given that we’ll have a box if we ever need one. Rice, beans, wheat, and tomatoes are easy to incorporate into our meals, and we don’t have to worry about any food storage going bad.

Some more helpful links:

  • The Food Storage FAQ – Different popular food storage items, how to store them, and their shelf life
  • Sprout People – Many food storage items can easily be sprouted, and there are some big claims out there as to their healthfulness. In the event living off of your storage becomes necessary for a bit, it’d sure be nice to know how to sprout even if it’s not an every day occurrence.
  • Every Day Food Storage – Another popular food storage blog that walks their readership through the necessary steps to food storage. This blog has a really hip layout, which is why I prefer the simplicity of Safely Gathered In. Kind of like that whole “all the cool kids are wearing flip-flops, so I’m gonna wear boots” kind of thing. I’m wierd.
  • Wholy Living’s Sixth Month Food Storage – It’s a whopping $1480, but you can knock out a whole 6 months of going to the store all at once. Sweet.

*Janeen’s Note: There are a lot of well-meaning folks out there who have let their fervor about storing up food turn into a religion in itself. They feel confident in the future by amassing large quantities of physical sustenance. We are NOT called to this type of confidence. Our confidence is to be in Christ alone, and it’s he whom we trust for the future, not our buckets of beans in the garage. I have to remind myself of this whenever I start getting a little crazy with my food storage planning 🙂