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By November 2, 2012 Read More →

Fall Food Deals for Preppers

Written and lived by Stephanie Dayle
Top 20 foods to stock up on this season!

I love this time of year and not for the weather, mostly for the baking sales!

This is a GREAT time of year for stocking up on food staples oddly specific to preppers.  While a majority of the population bakes and cooks kinda from scratch once or twice a year preppers who embrace the true spirit of self-reliance cook from scratch and bake ALL THE TIME!

Not only that but we prep the things we need in order to do all that cooking – which is what makes this time of year marvelous with baking sales, and coupons!  This is the best time of year to stock up on all of your necessities and get the best deals while you are at it.

Now just because you are shopping at a baking sale does not mean everything is a great deal.  Keep track of regular and sale prices all year around. I have “purchase price thresholds” set in my mind – for an example:  I know the regular price of butter here is around $2.79 a pound, when they put it on sale during their regular sale cycles they will drop it to around $2.00 a brick.  So anything lower than that will usually trigger me to buy.  I keep track of prices like this for all my staples, as it prevents me from getting caught up in the moment and over spending.  So before you hit the sales, make sure you have an idea of what the regular prices are and what the “regular sale prices” are.

Be on the lookout for the following items (Got another one to add to the list?  Add it to the comments below so everyone else benefits from your finds!)  you can usually pick these items up cheaper this season than almost any other time during the year.  Maximize your savings by getting enough to last you all year, until it’s on sale again next year.  This insures that you don’t have to pay top dollar for it, ever.  Or buy extra to prep for emergencies or both!

  • Butter:  I rarely see butter as cheap as it is during these baking sales, Costco can’t even beat those prices.  You can freeze it for later use, or you can clarify it and store it on the shelf for at least a year (for this you would need unsalted butter).
    sdfs
  • Flour:  All-purpose flour can usually be found fairly cheap during these sales.  Make sure the sale price is better than the  bulk price, then go ahead and stock up on it – store it in large mylar bags with oxygen absorbers then throw it in a 5 gallon bucket.
    sdfs
  • Unsweetened (baking) Chocolate: The darker it is, the longer it will store.
    sdfs
  • Oats: Oats of all different kinds usually make an appearance at these baking and holiday sales.  You can’t go wrong with their 30 year storage life (click here read more about oats).
    sdfs
  • Brown Sugar and Powdered Sugar: Brown sugar and powdered sugar, like all sugar will out last you – feel free to buy as much as you’d like, just make sure that the sale is giving you a better price than buying it in bulk at Costco or Cash and Carry.  Sometimes it may sound like a good deal but it’s for a small amount and if you compare the price to purchasing it in bulk, you might be paying about the same.  It PAYS to keep track of prices.
    sdfd
  • Cake and Cookie Mixes: While cake and cookie mixes are not ideal for long-term storage (because like any processed food/grain it contains oil that will go rancid with time and baking powder that will cease to be effective – even if stored correctly) if you dry can them they should store for 5 years, but if you don’t want to worry about rotating through 5 years worth of repackaged cake mix, then you can do what I do, and store one year worth right in your pantry no special treatment needed.  Any cake I make at my house is at least a year old.  They taste and bake up just fine.  If the stores close someday, after the mixes are gone I will make my own cake from scratch.  And don’t fall for that “Mold in Baking Mixes” email, it’s is an urban myth that has been busted many times over.  It was probably started as some guerilla marketing effort from a manufacturer that would love it if you all threw all your old cake and baking mixes out and bought new ones.
    sdfd
  • Evaporated Milk: Perfect for your food storage.  Take advantage of the sales but make sure the sale price is better than the store brand! Evaporated milk is reduced by 40% so to rehydrate it the ratio is slightly less than 1:1.
    sdfd
  • Marshmallow Cream: This stores amazingly well since it’s basically sugar and has many uses.
    asdf
  • Cooking oils and shortening: Whatever your preference, it’s likely to be on sale.  If rendering your own tallow and lard is not your thing? Store bought shortening has a fairly decent storage life before it goes rancid and is usually featured at these baking sales.  If it does go rancid (or you don’t want to eat it) you can still turn it into a candle or soap.
    asdd
  • Vanilla: If you keep a close eye on prices sometimes one of these baking sales will highlight a price on Vanilla that will beat Costco and since vanilla extract never goes bad, you can stock up.
    asd
  • Spices: Sometimes baking spices can be found at these sales, however I have found them less and less.  If you do find a deal on them let us know in the comments below!
    asd
  • Pumpkins: You can ‘can’ your own pumpkin if you cut it into chunks and use a pressure canner so when those pumpkins go sale after Halloween jump on them.  Canned pumpkin has many uses and don’t forget to roast and eat the seeds!
    asdd
  • Cranberries and Canned Cranberries: Deals on canned cranberries can be found at sales prior to Thanksgiving and Christmas this is a good time to add them to your storage, they are packed with vitamin C and can be used in making many desserts and comfort foods.  You can also split, blanch, and dehydrate the fresh cranberries you get in the bag and put them in long-term storage too if you can find them cheap enough to make it worth your effort.
    asd
  • Squash: If you don’t grow your own this is a good time to load up on winter squash inexpensively.  When you get them home, you can also cut them up into chunks and can them OR you can take a one to ten bleach to water dilute and wipe them down once with it.  Let them dry, then stick them in a cool, dark, dry area in your house, and eat them all winter long.  You can make many dishes with squash, it’s filling and frugal to keep on hand.
    asd
  • Canned Sweet Potatoes: They are good, easy to prepare, and good for you too. High in carbohydrates and beta-carotene, these are a no-brainer addition to your food stocks.
    asd
  • Canned Pumpkin: This is simply the best time of year to purchase it if you don’t can your own. It’s really great for adding extra nutrients like ‪beta-Carotene‬ into other foods like breads, and it’s a natural anti-diarrheal for dogs.
    aasd
  • Instant Mashed Potatoes and regular potatoes: Keep an eye on prices, you can pick up instant potatoes at great prices this time of year.  You can also find fresh potatoes in 10lb or 20lb bags super cheap this time of year.  You can take those potatoes and make your own instant hash browns out of them with your dehydrator or you can just slice them up, blanch them, and dehydrate them to add to soups and stews or for storage.
    asdd
  • Stuffing: Like other mixes it doesn’t store long-term very well but you can easily keep a one year supply in your pantry – just get it all on sale.  Or you can make your own, but that is another article….
    asdd
  • Turkey: If you are observant and patient, turkey can be purchased for dirt cheap this time of year and it is a nice and easy meat to can, or make jerky with. Then you can make soup stock with the carcass, and soup with the trimmings and left overs. At many stores they will run deals where if you buy $100 worth of food you pick up a Turkey for 10¢ a pound or less – even if you already have a turkey, pick and extra one up and pressure can it!
    adsd
  • Cream Cheese: Again, watch the baking sales this is the absolute best time of year to pick up cream cheese – and while it’s not a long term storage item, it does freeze well. So you can purchase a year’s supply all at once, stick it in the freezer and use it year around so you never have to pay full price for it.

This time of year you will be able to get really great deals on anything related to Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner (like carrots, onions, celery, etc…), but instead of getting only what you think your family could eat before it goes bad, get more and bring it home, dehydrated it, can it, put it in storage and pocket the savings! Or put it up for an emergency food supply. Don’t forget to check your local Sunday papers for coupons and try to the coupon with a sale item, this will maximize your savings.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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 d



About the Author:

Stephanie is a writer for the American Preppers Network, a small local paper and for her blog, The Home Front. She is also the credited writer of "Emergency Bag Essentials (Swatchbook): Everything You Need to Bug Out" to be released in August 2014. "I write articles based on my own experience about emergency preparedness, self-sufficiency, homesteading, food preservation and life around the farmstead. I grew up in a very rural area where I learned to garden, the art of canning, to hunt and fish, and to raise my own animals for food. Yes, families such as mine still do exist! I also spent 6 years volunteering for the local county Search and Rescue group where I learned a variety of survival skills and a little bit about law enforcement protocol. " "As a general rule of principle do not write articles about information that I have only read - if I am writing about something it's because of I have done it myself and gone to great lengths to provide you with the facts. I also have a full time job with an hour commute - my alter egos are as a Marketing Director, and an amateur photographer. " To connect with me --> click on one of the many little square social media buttons below!

29 Comments on "Fall Food Deals for Preppers"

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  1. OH – I forgot Cream Cheese!! For those of use who don’t have time to make it ourselves. This is also the BEST TIME of year to pick up Cream Creese! Get it cheap and stick it in your freezer and use it ALL YEAR LONG! You can easily pick up a year’s supply of cream cheese for under $20 with sales or coupons or both. 

  2. Went to walmart today…Pumpkins were $1!! 

  3. Nathan Brown says:

    this stuff will likely get hard on you after a year…we had this happen to us

    • What stuff – the brown sugar? Sure it will! That’s why you throw a piece a bread or a marshmallow in there. Even when its hard as a rock you can still with patience return it to a softer state. And if you can’t? Beat with a hammer and break it up – it will still be eatable and will still taste like brow sugar. Some sugar is better than no sugar. 

  4. Julie Newman says:

    great for pumpking pies and biscuits and gravy too. Have a Great Day Everyone . Survive !!!!!!!!

  5. I have never had canned milk get hard, sweetened condensed milk has though. I have stored evaporated milk and have found the the whole does better than the low fat or skim. Low fat and skim separate and get gross.

  6. Do you think the sweet potatoes and cranberries will be even cheaper right after Thanksgiving?

    • You know Jeanne – sometimes, but I have been burned waiting for the ‘after Thanksgiving specials’ before. Sometimes they just keep the inventory on hand at regular price because Christmas is next month so there won’t be another sale until a week or two prior to Christmas. Once I see prices drop below my ‘price thresholds’ (see article above) I am pretty confident about purchasing. If another sale comes along and the prices are a little bit lower, I don’t mind. That’s one of the things those price thresholds do for you is take the guess work out of it. You know you are getting a really good deal and saving immensely no matter what.

  7. Just a note about canning pumpkin:
    This is an article from The National Center for Home Food Preservation (http://nchfp.uga.edu/tips/fall/pumpkins.html) “Canning pumpkin butter or mashed or pureed pumpkin is NOT recommended.
    Home canning is not recommended for pumpkin butter or any mashed or pureed pumpkin or winter squash. In 1989, the USDA’s Extension Service first published the Complete Guide to Home Canning that remains the basis of Extension recommendations today, found in the December 2009 revision. The only directions for canning pumpkin and winter squash are for cubed flesh. In fact, the directions for preparing the product include the statement, “Caution: Do not mash or puree.” More information can be found here: http://www.uga.edu/nchfp/publications/uga/pumpkin_butter.html

    • Your absolutely right Roxanne – which is why I specifically stated in the article above to cut your pumpkin and squash into chunks prior to canning WITH your pressure canner which is perfect safe according to……well almost everyone. Unfortunately there was not room in the article to go onto detail about canning pumpkin, but perhaps in a future article I will do that.  But thanks for the reminder! 

  8. just started but, having a rough time

    • I know its hard especially when you don’t have alot of cash, just keep up doing whatever you can do. Over time it will add up and something is better than nothing. Even if you just have a plan in your head you are miles ahead of most everybody else!

    • Debbie says:

      Somewhere on this APN site is an article about what you can buy for just $5.00 a week- and you’d be surprised how quickly that can add up. Two recommendations I remember off the top of my head are Ramen noodles and rice. Another thing I do is pick up a pound of salt (less than .50) everytime I go grocery shopping. Salt will always come in handy and is easy to store. Just keep plugging away and you will soon build up a nice stash.

  9. Gail Daly says:

    takes a long time to accumulate what is needed for even a 3 month event.

  10. AH here is another one I forgot! Chicken and Beef Broth!
    Since we started making our own I hardly buy it anymore so it I missed plugging it into the article but I remember that this time of year is the best for stocking up on it as well. So keep an eye out for that item too if you don’t make your own. Can of liquid beef and chicken stock are so hand in cooking and you can use it to enhance of the flavor of almost anything – even rice. Broth is an emergency preparedness and self reliant MUST.

  11. There is “Better Than Milk Original Vegan Soy Powder Non Dairy Drink Mix” that you can buy through walmart.com  - I have a vegan friend who likes that stuff.  
    AND there is also Augason Farms Morning Moo’s Low Fat Milk Alternative Drink Mix found at http://www.augasonfarms.com/Drinks/Morning-Moos  and Melissa this stuff is really well reviewed, people who like real milk love this stuff, I have a couple of friends that fix it for their kids every morning right now, and its cost effective – they get theirs at their local Walmart (although not all Walmart stores carry it – if yours does it should be in the bulk section). It comes in several different flavors and stores for like 10 years. 
    BUT here is another approach if you buy the little boxes on the store shelf (not the stuff in the refrigerated section) but the ones on the shelf, those are ‘shelf stable’ – most have an expiration date at least a year out. It would be really easy for you to maintain and rotate a year’s supply of Soy Milk or Almond Milk (personally I am not a fan of Soy Milk but prefer the shelf stable Coconut Milk) in this manner.
    Also have you tried goat’s milk?? (since I am not sure of the scope of your allergies, I am gonna throw this in here too just incase). There is canned evaporated goats milk, you should be able to find it in the same section as the canned evaporated cow’s milk. It never goes on sale, but it is there. If it is not at your local grocery store check your local Health Food Store. There is also powdered goats milk. Both store well and goat’s milk can be an acceptable alternative to cow’s milk as it is naturally low in lactose and the protein is slightly different.    

  12. Any ideas about dairy free milks…or how long they’ll store? 2 of my 4 children are allegic to dairy. Anyone know of any place that sells a powdered version of Soy milk (or almond or rice)?

    • There is “Better Than Milk Original Vegan Soy Powder Non Dairy Drink Mix” that you can buy through walmart.com  - I have a vegan friend who likes that stuff.  AND there is also Augason Farms Morning Moo’s Low Fat Milk Alternative Drink Mix found at Walmart also  and Melissa this stuff is really well reviewed, people who like real milk love this stuff, I have a couple of friends that fix it for their kids every morning right now, and its cost effective – they get theirs at their local Walmart (although not all Walmart stores carry it – if yours does it should be in the bulk section). It comes in several different flavors and stores for like 10 years. BUT here is another approach if you buy the little boxes on the store shelf (not the stuff in the refrigerated section) but the ones on the shelf, those are ‘shelf stable’ – most have an expiration date at least a year out. It would be really easy for you to maintain and rotate a year’s supply of Soy Milk or Almond Milk (personally I am not a fan of Soy Milk but prefer the shelf stable Coconut Milk) in this manner.Also have you tried goat’s milk?? (since I am not sure of the scope of your allergies, I am gonna throw this in here too just incase). There is canned evaporated goats milk, you should be able to find it in the same section as the canned evaporated cow’s milk. It never goes on sale, but it is there. If it is not at your local grocery store check your local Health Food Store. There is also powdered goats milk. Both store well and goat’s milk can be an acceptable alternative to cow’s milk as it is naturally low in lactose and the protein is slightly different.   

  13. Dori Estabrook says:

    I know this is not common but I purchase spices in bulk and split them up between family and friends. If you split the cost it is much cheaper than purchasing the spices in the store. Here are some sites for bulk spices.
    http://www.americanspice.com/spices-dry-goods/
    http://www.bulkfoods.com/spices.asp
    http://www.spicesinc.com/
    http://www.atlanticspice.com/

  14. Debbie says:

    Vanilla can be very easily made using a decent quality vodka and just adding vanilla beans and waiting about 2-3 weeks. I have found some very good prices on vanilla beans online. Boullion can often be purchased more cheaply if you look in the Mexican foods section. Also, if you shop Dollar Tree they have some very good supplies for prepping- i.e. generic pedialyte, nasal spray, first aid items, etc. 

  15. Marni87@gmail.com says:

    I’m wondering about canning cake mix. I see that it can be done. This maybe a silly question but there is so much yes you can and no you can’t so I’m gonna ask it. When you dry can it so you take it out of the bag or dry can it in the bag it comes in?

    • Hi Marni - 
      Either way. If you leave it in the bag you will need to make an opening in the top of it so your oxygen absorbers can work.  Do not dry can flours or mixes with your oven.  Also avoid using a FoodSaver to dry can them as you could ruin the vacuum on it, if it sucks up some of the flour into the pump (some people have found a way around this using paper bags, but oxygen absorbers are still the better way to go).  Also keep in mind even when dry canned flours will only last about 5 years, mixes less than that. The flour will go rancid and the leavening agents in mixes will not be effective. 

  16. sharon says:

    Last year we bought and cooked 10 turkeys in 1 week. We bagged them into apx 2 cups per bag and froze. I mean really, what are you going to do with half a dozen whole frozen turkies if the power goes out?? We used the bags of meat during the year for casseroles, and will do the same again this year. Of course the carcasses became broth we saved in 2 cups bags in the freezer also and used for soups during the year also or were ready if needed.



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