Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Introduction to Food Storage

Last week I discussed making 72 hour kits for disasters or other emergencies. This week we are going to begin a series on food storage, and what better way to start than an introduction to what food storage is all about.

What is food storage?
Food storage is a supply of food for a given length of time, ultimately one year.

What is the purpose of food storage?
The purpose of food storage is for it to be a safety net for hard times and major long-term disasters. One example might be if you become unemployed. With a supply of food, you'll still be able to eat, and can use the money you would of used for food toward other expenses, such as the mortgage/rent. It is also good for long-term disasters in an area, examples would be after an earthquake strikes an area. Some times when a natural disaster strikes, your house may receive little to no damage, however forms of aid for the area may be cut off due to problems with roads and airports. You may need food storage for a variety of reasons, such as serious illness or loss of a loved one(especially if they were the breadwinner). It will be a source of comfort to know that even if something unexpected happens, you still will have food for your family.

How much  food is one year's worth of food?
Well it depends on the size and needs of your family. 2 adults and a toddler is much less than 2 adults and a teenager. But have no fear, I found a handy online calculator for you to use to get at least an idea of how much you need. Head on over there and check out the numbers.

Wow that is a lot! How on earth will I ever acquire that much food?
A little at a time. It would completely defeat the purpose of food storage if you go into debt to obtain it. The easiest solution is to set shorter goals and work up to the ultimate goal of a year. Probably the best way to do it is to work toward a 3 months supply with foods you eat normally and can rotate through. At the same time you can work toward your year supply by buying an item here or there that lasts longer (like flour or sugar).

300 lbs of wheat? What would I ever do with that?
This is where some fine tuning will come in. If you have no idea how to use wheat or what to make with wheat, don't store it for now. It will do you no good to do so. For now substitute or for things you do no how to work with such as more flour, whole grain flour, wheat flour, etc. A good tip with the calculator is to look at the overall category, and try to meat that goal. So instead of 300 lbs of wheat, try to meet the goal of 600 lbs of grains. In future editions we'll look at how to work with some of the lesser used foods on the list, as well as some recipes for food storage items.

So there is a difference between the short term and long term food storage?
Yes. The short term storage (about 3 months worth) is generally food you eat normally day in and day out. You would rotate through it, and restock it from the grocery store as needed. Short term food storage is things like canned soups, mac and cheese, and other convenience foods. Longer term storage is made of things that will last for longer periods of time when stored in ideal conditions (more on that in future posts in this segment), and is made up of things such as flour, sugar, oats, dry beans, etc.

Where will I store all of it?
You'll have to be creative. I'll do a whole post on ideas in the future. We'll focus on getting the food first.

That's it for now. Please feel free to ask if you have any burning questions. Next week we will look at some easy ways to get started on the first 3 months of food storage.
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