Where do I start? Does that sound familiar? We’ve either all asked that question ourselves or get asked that question by others. With limited income and resources it can seem an overwhelming task. So to answer that overwhelming question of, where to start, I was going to share some of the things that I did.
I focused on the Food #1 because I knew we would use it and my money wouldn’t be wasted. This made sense to me. But then I had to ask myself well, what do I send my money on? The most sound advice that I chose to follow was to store the basics and necessities of life that would keep us alive in a time of need. What were those things: Wheat, pwdrd milk, sugar, salt, oil, oats, pasta, rice, and beans. This was important for me because if these are foods that “sustain life”, shouldn’t we be eating them on a regular basis anyway????? Then came the dilemma of, how much to store. There are many resources out there to help you calculate the types of foods and their amounts you will need to feed the amount of people in your family. Eventually you will start to notice how often your family goes through items and you may need to adjust the totals based on your records. But remember, right now you are incorporating these foods into your daily diet, whereas in an emergency this may be the only food you will be eating which will exponentially add to the amount your family will be consuming. Usually the amounts given in suggestion are considered to be MINIMUM. Don’t worry though, with these foods having a 20-30 yr shelf life you have plenty of time to use them up before you would have to replace them.
The collection of Recipes was #2 because with all this food in the house I had to be sure I knew how to use it in a way that my family wouldn’t want to starve, and I had to be sure I was using and rotating my supply to keep it fresh. My advice would be to try at least 1 new recipe a week to expand the # of meals your family enjoys. This was my minimum; although sometimes I tried 2,3,maybe 4 new meals in a week. Isn’t it more motivating to store the food that you know tastes yummy? I started looking into preparedness/food blogs that were primarily LDS based because they had a tendency to use the ingredients from your food storage supply. Plus they challenged me to try new things that I wouldn’t have thought of. I then compiled my “tried and true” recipes in a binder made notes on how to “tweak them” with my substitutions and separated the recipes we have not tried yet into a separate folder. Now I have a stock of recipes I want to try that I can choose from each week.
Expanding My pantry became #3 I wanted to master cooking with the basics first. (There is a great resource for recipes that use just the basics at Peace of Preparedness under the heading of 1 month kit recipes.)- I think these are the recipes when people see them they freak out though because they are so different from their current diets.( When you are used to eating “Fruit Loops” in the morning, boiled wheat with honey doesn’t seem to too exciting.) So, It seemed as though there wouldn’t be much life or flavor to the basics without turning them into “regular” meals my family would eat. So I turned the basics into meals my family would eat by adding the ingredients I needed for those meals into my “extended pantry”. Leavening agents, spices, bullions, yeast, fruits, vegetables, meats, and eggs in my opinion needed to be added to create an edible meal for my family. So I started looking at my food storage in terms of meals. I simply needed a list of ingredients for the meals my family loves and times these amounts by how often we would want to eat that meal. This becomes your food storage plan. Eating what you store and storing what you eat. No more arbitrary lists of random stuff your family should store. You now know your list by inventorying your recipe cards. It’s that simple!! This makes it possible for me to use our food storage in our everyday cooking.
Make food storage a priority. Commit to using food storage daily. Commit to spending your extra money on acquiring your food storage instead of other things. Commit to trying new things; make a list of those “self reliant” skills you would like to learn: canning, gardening, dehydrating, DIY cooking skills like homemade yogurt or cheese, homemade breads etc. Learn to cook with non electrical appliances (ex. Dutch oven, solar oven, wonder box etc). Do something every day to learn something new and find the time to try those things out so that you are comfortable and proficient.
Practical meals using your food storage “extended pantry”
Practical food storage application:
If you like to eat pre packaged foods for speed and convenience consider making up your own.
Krusteaze pancake mix or waffle mix
Boxed Jiffy corn bread
Boxed Cake and brownie mixes
Spice mixes like for Sloppy Joes, tacos, or onion soup mix
Using food storage does not require new recipes.
- Take an existing recipe you already have and create a food storage recipe by substituting as many of the ingredients that you can to make it from scratch.
Make your own:
Cream of chicken soup
Use dried beans in place of the commercially canned beans
- Take a recipe and exchange some of the fresh ingredients for some that you have in your pantry.
Fresh milk -Powdered milk or canned milk
Eggs-Powdered eggs, flax meal, Chia seed gel, cornstarch, unflavored gelatin, banana
Veggies-Canned, dehydrated, or freeze-dried veggies
Meat-Canned or freeze-dried meats
Cheese-Powdered cheeses like Parmesan or Romano
Butter- any fruit sauce, pureed beans, powdered or canned butter
- Know your food storage substitutions to keep you from going to the store if a recipe calls for something and you discover you are out.
Know how to make your own:
Evaporated, sweetened condensed milk, cream, and half and half all from powdered milk
Self rising flour
Brown sugar or powdered sugar
Just to name a few
Test it out once to see the results so you know how to do it if need arises.
Just because you can, doesn’t mean you always have to. You may think that a recipe is better the original way but having an option is better than not having one. You never know you may even like it better.
Call me crazy or a little weird, but I love it when I cook someone something that they just rave about. I love it even more if I can tell them that I made it from “food storage”. Often times this surprises people. And they usually say something like “wow, I can’t believe that was from food storage and it tasted good!” I want to help people change the way they view food storage and see its yummy possibilities.
In order to use your food storage you do not have to use all shelf stable items in your recipes or completely convert them to using all new food storage items especially when starting out. (You don’t have to exchange all things all the time to every recipe.)
Try 1 new item or idea at a time to see its results and if you and your family like them. Start out small and build from there. Not every converted recipe is going to be liked and that’s ok, but now is the time to try them out, not in an emergency when you don’t have the luxury of preparing something no one wants to eat.