It doesn’t matter how fast you are able to store items, just begin today! You can begin with one weeks food supply and gradually build it to a month and then to three months. Begin in a small way, and gradually build toward a reasonable objective.
“Build up a 3 month supply that is part of your normal daily diet. Three month supply items are non-perishable food that you normally eat, such as canned and commercially packaged foods that have a stable shelf life. Over time establish a supply of basic foods such as wheat, white rice, and beans for long-term needs.
The three-month plan offers hope by showing that it is possible for most people to prepare for adversity starting modestly by storing a few items of food.” (Gordan B. Hinkley, 15th President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints).
Three Month Supply
A 3-month well-rounded supply of food storage is much better than a year’s supply of wheat, beans, honey and powdered milk.
One good way to obtain a 3 month’s supply would be to create 1 month’s worth of recipes and then multiply everything you will need for the month by three. My challenge to you is to go home and see how many meals you can come up with (that your family enjoys) using only shelf stable items. That means nothing fresh or frozen or that is initially refrigerated. Obtain a good food storage cookbook to help you in this endeavor. This will help in over buying and throwing away old stuff. When there are sales we may have a tendency to buy cases of products when with wise planning you may only need a few of certain items. Planned menus can eliminate the panic feeling you get when you know you should store food and you don’t know where to begin.
Remember: Use what you store and store what you eat. If you do this rotation will take care of itself.
Don’t spend money on food and supplies that you will not use.
Food in the basement is better that money in the bank
Where do I put my food storage?
The closer you locate your grocery store to your kitchen the more likely you will be to use it.
Food is best if stored in a place that is 40 to 60 ° F.
Keep your food away from the furnace room or any other heat source. Freezers, refrigerators, water heaters, furnaces, all give off heat.
No matter how small your home or apartment is, or whether you own or rent your home, having a pantry or in store grocery store is not impossible.
How to Avoid Spoilage
The factors that cause deterioration are oxygen, temperature, vermin, bacteria, light, enzymes, humidity, and moisture. This list may make you feel like there are a lot of things against you. There is hope, if you follow the proper storage techniques and rotate, rotate, rotate. You cannot put food away hoping you will never have to use it. You must use what you store and store what you eat.
Storage Containers – Start with food storage container that will keep out oxygen, light, and moisture. These containers will also protect your food from bugs.
Plastic Buckets – All buckets should have a tight-fitting lid with a rubber gasket. They come in a variety of sizes, 3 ½, 5, or 6 gallon buckets.
#10 can holds approximately 5 lbs. of wheat. All dry food can be canned except salt. Salt will rust the can.
Methods of Packing – You can take additional steps to avoid deterioration.
Oxygen Absorbers – These packets absorb the oxygen and trap it in the iron powder and salt mixture. This is the safest way to remove oxygen. Oxygen packets must be used up within 15 minutes of being opened and exposed to the air. One packet is used for every #10 can or 5 packets for every 6 gallon bucket.
Dry Ice Method – Place your grain in your bucket and place a piece of cardboard on top of the grain. Place a piece of dry ice about 3 inch square on top. Wait for about 30 minutes until the dry ice dissipates. Snap on the lid. If you put the lid on too soon you might have the buckets explode.
Problems you may encounter with your storage
Natural Causes – Food is susceptible to deterioration and spoilage from some natural causes.
Oxygen – will rob food of its nutritive value. That is why it is important to get as much air out as possible before sealing the container.
Temperature – The ideal temperature for storing food is from 40-60°F. If you store your food in a garage, shed, or attic where the temperature fluctuates from hot to cold you will be cutting your shelf life in half from what is listed.
Humidity – Be sure to keep food off of the floor and away from anything that might raise the humidity, like dryers, or water heaters.
Grains 400 lbs/Person
Do not put all your eggs in one basket. If wheat was the only grain stored and we had to eat it day in and day out we would be very susceptible to “appetite fatigue.” Children and older adults are more prone to this than healthy adults. They would rather not eat anything than have to eat the same food time and time again. Have a variety of grains in your storage. Purchasing an electric or hand grain mill is strongly advised if you want to use your grains to their full potential.
Legumes 60 lbs/person
Unless a person is willing to spend a great deal of money on preserved meats a food storage program not including a quantity of legumes is simply incomplete. Beans are so inexpensive that you can afford to buy and store many varieties. Use beans in your diet on a regular basis. You should accustom your body to eating and digesting them now. Mix them into your diet slowly to avoid some interest side effect on your digestive system. Beans are interchangeable in most recipes.
Powdered Milk and Milk products 16 lbs/person
Tips for using powdered milk:
Mix up your milk the day before so it can get nice and cold.
Use the non instant kind. It has a better flavor and it stores longer.
To reconstitute powdered milk mix 3 cups of milk to a little less than 4 quarts of water.
sweeteners 60 lbs/person
Having a variety of sweeteners is good. Variety is the spice of life.
Sugar – Stores indefinitely if it is kept away from moisture. You do not need to put oxygen absorber in the cans or buckets when packaging.
Honey – stores indefinitely but good honey will crystallize. Use ¾ cup honey for every cup of sugar.
Fat and Oils 10 quarts/person
There is no getting around the fact that we need fat in our diet. Fats need to be rotated frequently. Oils should be rotated every year. You may consider storing some shortening it will last 5 years or more. There are fats in the dry form also which will last 10 years. Shortening powder, butter powder, peanut butter powder etc.
In the miscellaneous category I would add a few more things.
Seeds so you could grow a garden.
Seasonings Pepper, cinnamon
Sprouts – If you store sprouts or sprout your wheat you will be able to have something fresh. They will last approximately 3 to 4 years. To rotate use them in the winter when produce is high.
Most crises you will know in this lifetime will be personal. It will be comforting to know you can use your -in home grocery store- to help buffer lean times.
The closer you can locate your food storage area to your kitchen the easier you will find it to rotate food.
Use what you store and store what you eat. If you do this rotation will take care of itself.
Food in the basement is better than money in the bank.
Buy in bulk when you can, plant a garden and preserve what you grow.
Label everything, rotate, rotate, and rotate.
Begin learning how to cook from scratch.
Don’t forget the non-food essentials.