My name is Emily, but I go by Herbalpagan on most of the forums. I here to help with Food Storage, which I have been doing for 20 years.
I started at a real early age with my father insisting that buying in bulk was cheaper and easier. My grandmother sailed through the depression and WW2 by having food stored. I never ever saw her have less than 50# of sugar! When I was a young mom and so very poor, food storage was doubly important. My husband was laid off each winter, so we needed to be able to feed ourselves through the winter (we didn’t get food stamps).
I listened to people who canned, I read books (always behind the times because they came from used book stores), and I made a friend at the Extension Agency. They had a program called “Eating Right is Basic” and the extension Home Maker would come to your house once a week and show you ways to feed your family healthier and cheaper. She used a lot of government surplus foods, but she also talked about how to store foods. I learned from her that the glue in packaging and bags was attractive to certain bugs and that ideally, you should transfer foods into a different container.
I kept 3 freezers and every available storage space in a 12×70 mobile home full most all the year round, a fact that I am now amazed at considering my husband at the time only made $18,000 a year! Any one can do it if I could. However, in 20 years, I have learned a lot on the best ways to store food and make sure it will be good and healthy in 1,5, and up to 25 years later. I’ll try to share those tips with you as I go along. Always, please feel free to email me with any questions you might have : Herbalpagan@gmail.com
Now, this week, let’s talk about goals for your food storage. Think about how much you want to have and how long you want to store it. One of the most important rules to food storage is (whenever possible) to “Store what you eat and Eat what you store”. In an emergency, comfort foods and familiar foods will be most helpful. A drastic change in diet can cause terrible tummy upsets. It’s great to store wheat, but if your family has never had whole wheat bread, you can’t be sure they won’t rebel! This is a great excuse to get of a lot of prepackaged products and start feeding your family in a healthier way.
To my mind, this is how I look at food storage amounts:
1 week of food : better than nothing, but not really food storage
2 weeks of food: the absolute minimum you should try for! You can pick this up in
one trip to the store! It will help if you get sick and can’t run to the
store and for most short term emergencies, like ice storms and local
1 month: a great start! This will cover illnesses and weather emergencies, short
term power outages and help if there is a job loss. However, remember that
most job losses will last an average of 6 months these days !
3 months: This is a POWER number in food storage! When you reach this number, you
are no longer at the mercy of the grocery stores. When you have 3 months
of food stored, you don’t have to ever buy anything at regular price
again (except for fresh fruit and veg)! You can subscribe to 2 local
papers on Sunday only, and get all the coupons in double amounts. Then
pick out the grocery flyer and start making a list, matching coupons to
sale items. I don’t go regular shopping any more at all, instead, I go
sale shopping. I go every 2-4 weeks and do a large trip with coupons and
sales. My bill is not nessesarily all that much less, but I am
still working on building my stores. My best trip to date saved me $160
over regular prices and I picked up well over 4 weeks worth of food items.
I’m not a coupon queen or anything, but I pay attention and pick up the best sales out there. It takes me about an hour to get my things together, which is not bad for a savings of $160 ! Plan, plan, plan….that is the key.
You can also use online resources to shop. I build up the base products in my food storage this way. I usually but from a company called Honeyville Farms online and though I have found places with cheaper product, their shipping is only $4.95 for the entire order! This makes it worth while to do this. I spend more than that running down to the local grocer. Another resource for you to check out is a wholesale or bulk food store that services the catering industry. We are lucky to have a store like that and I find the prices run slightly less than the big box store and comparable to a great sale at the local store. However, it’s in bigger amounts and they have meat available for good prices too.
So, those are my tips and an intro for this week. Next week I’ll be talking about where to put all that food and how to store it safely. You think about your goals for food storage and let me know how much you want to store. It’s an important step in providing your family with the insurance they need to survive any emergency of any kind!