Have a plan
Believe it or not, you can start a decent food storage. But the main trick is to start with a plan. Sit down, pen and paper in hand, and ask yourself the following questions:
- What am I storing food for?
- Will there be a need for this food storage?
- Will there be a chance in the future when I can't afford to buy food?
- What food do I want to store?
There is no need to worry if your bank account will be depleted. Start small. Think of the foods that your family eats the most of and start there. Buy a few extra cans of it every time you go shopping.
*One simple piece of advice I can give you : Do NOT use credit cards when starting a food storage. This could run you into debt. And could get you further into a problem, rather than get you out of it.*
Now, starting a reasonable food storage, to some, may sound "apocalyptical". But don't worry about what others may think. Starting your food storage is a great way to be ready for whatever life has to throw at you. Be it a sickness, job loss, economic issues etc... It's always nice to have that "little extra" set aside. You can even think of it as a "gas/time saver". Not having to spend that extra time out of your day running to the store, when all you have to do is run to the pantry. More time at home means more time with the family, or more time for that "to do" list.
How to start when purchasing for your food storage.
For whatever reasons you have for starting your food storage; take into account you and your family's personal tastes. Because, it is important to only purchase those foods in which you will eat, or will be willing to eat in the future. And if you are willing to purchase and try new foods, it should be done when you purchase it. Don't let it sit on the shelves.
If you can, put aside as little as $10 a week. Because, like any good throughout long term plan or project, there are going to be learning curves along the way. And when you are building a good food storage you will be doing a lot of learning. And hopefully, lots of research as well.
Items to kick start your food stoarge and why
Rice- Filling and nutritious. Find ways to make it tasty and fit into your meal plans. White rice has a longer shelf life than brown rice.
Beans- Pintos are the least expensive and, in my opinion, the best tasting. Plus there are plenty of ways to cook them. Just do the research.
Veggies- Stockpiling your veggies is a must. But don't start storing veggies you know your family will never eat. Instead, pay close attention to what they like the most and start your stockpile there. For example: Green beans, peas, corn etc...
Fruit- "A way to indulge your sweet tooth" As my grandma would say. Canned fruit of course. Again, like I stated with the veggies, only things you know your family will eat.
Canned Meat- I'm definitely NOT a fan of the canned meat variety. But, when times are tough it might end up being a great investment. I know most people, when thinking of "canned meat" think of the famous SPAM or Potted Meat. But, there are other varieties to choose from. For example: Chicken, tuna, shrimp, salmon, sausages, roast beef and even beef stew.
These are just a few items to take into consideration when jump starting your food storage plan. Of course there are many others.
Gardening & Canning
There are many other ways and methods when considering food storage. I've only touched on the items to purchase. But there are other ways to add to your food storage that don't exactly entail shopping for anything. Do you happen to have a garden? If so, what type of garden do you have? Fruits and veggies? Herbs? Surely you want to put some of that extra food away in your food storage right? Well you can. .
Although true long term food storage is typically your "shelf stable" foods. As I've been discussing thus far. Canning is also another way to provide you with food for the long haul. Having fruits and veggies from a garden is a great nutritional boost and you can avoid unsightly flavor fatigue as well.
There are many different methods of canning. And many things you shouldn't can. But that's all for another hub entirely. Right now I'm just going to touch on the benefits of canning for your food storage.
- It's a great way to preserve your harvest, if you have a garden. (If you don't have a garden you can always get your garden fresh foods to can from your local farmers markets)
- You don't have to worry about artificial preservatives, because you control what ingredients are going in.
- You get the benefits of added nutrition
- Home canned foods taste much better than the store bought goods.
- Like most of your store bought goods, you have an extended shelf life.
- It's portable-meaning you can pretty much store your canned foods anywhere. (As long as they are not stored in direct sunlight or high temperature areas)
- No refrigeration is needed.
- It's always available.
Freezing those herbs
So do you have a cute little herb garden? All that cilantro, oregano, thyme and so forth? What do you do with it all? Surely you have so much that you don't use it all do you? Well I know most of you have probably heard of drying your herbs for later uses. And that's great. But have you ever considered freezing your herbs? There is a unique method to it. Very easy and quick to do. I'll set you up step by step on how to get this started.
What you will need
Empty ice cube trays (You don't have to have ice cube trays. You can use egg cups or small freezer molds. They work just as well)
And of course you will need those herbs.
Once you've washed, dried and picked the leaves away from your herbs, think about how you use them.
- Do you fry or roast with them?
- Do you use them in soups?
- Do you use oil, water, broth or bouillon?
Well start by bundling or separating your herbs according to usage. (the choice is yours) Dice them up into small pieces.
Lay out your containers and load them up depending on your herbs.
Next you are going to fill your containers with your water, oil, bouillon or broth
Pop them into the freezer over night. *Be sure to take note of which trays are which. Because once the herbs are frozen they are hard to identify*
The next day, pop them into your freezer/storage bags *Make sure you label your bags via: Name(s) of herbs, fluid measurement and date*
Now all you have to do is lay them flat in your freezer and you are ready for fresh herbs quickly and have added a staple to your food storage. Plus this method is very cost effective and simple to do.
There are so many different ways and methods to adding to your food storage. I've only highlighted on a few of the more popular approaches. I could go on forever, but for fear of boring you already, I won't. But hopefully I've peeked your interest on starting a food storage for you and your family. And if you are interested in learning other methods to adding to your food storage I've compiled a short list of things you can research:
- Cool storage
- Freezing (I've only touched on this particular topic when it comes to herbs. But there are tons of other foods out there that you can freeze and add to your food storage)
- Lacto Fermentation
- Salt and sugar preserving
- Alcohol Immersion
- Vinegar Pickling
- Immersion in olive oil
- Meat curing
- Cheese waxing