Thursday, May 22, 2014

Getting Prepared for Beginners #6 Food Storage

I have a confession to make. I have already written this post completely. When I reread it, I hated it so here goes another try.

It does not matter if you a hard core homesteader or a true blue apartment city dweller. The basics and first goals of food storage are the same. Let me explain. Homesteaders traditionally stored food to be able to make it from one harvest to the next and even a little beyond (you never knew if you would have a good growing year next year). For the city dweller, your first goal should be to have enough food stored that if something happened and you were not able to get to the store for a week and it was the day before you normally go grocery shopping you would be fine. So food storage at its most basic is to get you through the lean times. You do not have to be storing for for the end of the world. Oh I so wish I could put in sound effects and be screaming that like a madman.

My Wife's Reaction When I Said We Needed to Start Storing Food

I hope the TV show Doomsday Preppers has done someone some good, besides the producers and advertisers. It sure didn't help me at all. When Doomsday Preppers first came on I tried to watch an episode or two. I never made it through any of them. I hope the people who they had on that show are good, well meaning, levelheaded people. If they are that show made them look like fruitcakes.

When I told my wife I wanted to start storing some food she thought I was turning into one of those crazy people on TV. She only agreed if I was buying stuff that we eat anyway and I didn't go overboard buying stuff. I agreed of course.

When we would go to the grocery I would throw a can of beef stew or an extra box of macaroni and cheese in the buggy. She would ask when I was going to eat it and I would just tell her I didn't know, but it would not go bad in our house. Slowly, ever so slowly we built up a fair backup food supply. If I got sick and missed a day of work or if the children wanted something quick to eat, we would go to the pantry. (Buying multiple items when they are on sale is a great way to save money).

My Birthday Gift This Year

When my wife asked me what I wanted for my birthday I told her I wanted a camp stove. She looked at me funny. I told her I was serious. She said are you doing this for that prepping stuff. I said partially, but I would really like to camp more this year. My birthday is in February. A week later a snow storm hit. We had about 6 inches of snow. I know for many of you who live up north six inches of snow is no big deal, but here in Alabama it is a HUGE deal.

The snow started about 2 am. Big nice fluffy flakes. I loved it. Checked the roads, yup they were closed. No work this day. The power went off about 6:30 am. My wife woke because the fan had stopped running. I get up and start a fire in the fireplace. About 8:30 still no power. I get the camp stove that I was just given and fire it up to make breakfast. We fixed breakfast and lunch on the camp stove and lunch came out of stored food. My wife looked at me and actually ask, "How did you know?"

No more questions about storing food.

How to Start Storing Food.

I have already mentioned the best method for most people to build up the food storage. It is loosely called copy canning. When you are buying something at the grocery buy one extra of something you are buying any way. I suggest either heat and serve items like soup, canned veggies, canned meats, and things like that or things you only have to add water to. I do suggest having powdered milk and powdered eggs as being part of you long term storage. Sometimes you just want to cook something.

Do not rely of frozen or refrigerated foods for storage. You are only one extended power outage away from being hungry.

Your first goal for food storage should be 7 days. This is a minimum. Just think. If everyone had just 7 days of food stored in their home they could make it through the majority of crises that they would face and be no worse for wear.

Next Step

After you have achieved 7 days of food storage I greatly encourage you to consider having a months worth of food stored. I do not want you to even think about a months worth of food till you have seven days covered.

I can hear some of you now thinking, Okay he is getting crazy. But I want you to think about it. First, you already have 7 days. You will only be adding 21 days more of food. Second, if you were to get ill and miss a full week of work wouldn't it be nice to not have to worry about going to the grocery or even having to worry about spending money that is needed somewhere else for something to eat. You already have it taken care of.

Long Term Food Storage

After you have achieved the 7 day minimum food storage you can start sprinkling in long term store-ables. Things like freeze dried meats or just add water deserts make things a lot easier. I know for me if things are stressful anyway a brownie makes things a lot better.You can buy individual items or some places have packages for a certain length of food storage. As an example at The Ready Store you can buy a big can of brownie mix or a years supply of food. My caution here is do not buy things you will not eat. Plain and Simple.

I hope you are enjoying these posts on Getting Prepared for Beginners and I hope they will help someone become more self reliant.

Rural Dreams and Homestead Wishes to you.

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More Posts in this series:
#17 A Case for Long-Term Preparedness

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