This is a basic tool that people tend to over look. You can use it in conjunction with your gardening journal, but it goes further than just the “canned 8 quarts of green beans, ran out on Sept. 6th.”
I hear and read people telling others to keep 3-6 months worth of food on hand, but they can’t tell you how much food that actually is. This is something you need to be finding out on your own. I am asked over and over about how much food a family of 4 or however many will go through in a harvest to harvest situation. I now how much my family goes through, but not everyone likes green beans that much. And yes, I am one of those that thinks you should have enough food to last a full year, harvest to harvest.
I write our food journal on a clip board that hangs in a cabinet. It is there so I can remember to write down the food I removed from the pantry or freezer or refrigerator. Because I grow most of my own food, I know how many pounds or ounces are in my jars, and tend to write food down by weights. However if it makes it easier for you, use weights or jar sizes. But be consistent with your measurements. You don’t want to confuse the two on paper, it may mess up your food count.
You will want to write down everything, solids and liquids, as in milk. It is important to know how much milk you are drinking as it can make you feel fuller. If you will not have access to milk (as in a cow or goat on property) you will need to make up for that lack of diet staples in another form, if something should ever happen.
Things get tricky when you have children. One month you will use twice as much food as normal, then another month half of what you would normally use. Fortunately for us, your rapidly growing children will balance the food content out by the end of the year, and you will have a good grasp on the average food consumption. Just remember that your food average will go up every year when you have growing kids, so make sure that your food supply reflects this.
If your children go to a public school and eat their lunch there, Average out what their intake is when they are home for lunch, into a full week to get a more accurate count. Make sure you count all those snickers bars, or chips they consume as well, as this too, like the milk, will factor in to how much you will need to keep on hand.
It’s not a bad thing to have too much food. But without an accurate count, you might end up with too little in storage.