What will you do in case of an emergency or if your source of income is lost? How will you feed your family? Have you ever thought about food storage? Do you already have food storage? In the church I belong to, they teach us to have a year supply of food storage in case of some sort of disaster in your life. I personally know people who have fed their family using their food storage when they lost their income or their income was reduced. Today, I’m going to give you 11 Tips to Build Your Food Storage, so that if you ever experience a disaster of any type, you won’t have to worry about feeding your family. I know this isn’t the usual Fearlessly Creative Mammas post, but it is one I’ve been asked to write by a few people, so here it is. I hope you will find something here to help you build your food storage.
As a disclaimer here, I will tell you that I don’t currently have a year’s supply of food storage. I probably have about 3 to 4 month’s worth of food in case of an emergency. We moved back into our house the very end of April and I have been working on rebuilding it. I went from nothing to this much since about July, without it hurting our food budget. You can do it too.
1. I am not a gardner, although I may try my hand at it again next summer. When my friends offer me food from their garden, I don’t turn it down. Sometimes it doesn’t come at the most convenient times, but you just have to make the time. Also, having supplies on hand, like freezer bags or canning jars is super helpful.
This summer I had loads of apples, onions and huge zucchini given to me and I was so, so happy to have them. I canned the apples, shredded and froze the zucchini and hung the onions.
2. Learn to can. It isn’t hard to do, so don’t let it overwhelm you. I remember my Grammy and mom canning together when I was growing up. It was so wonderful to see and the food they prepared was always so good. I also remember my mom growing a garden and then canning a lot of what she grew. Those were always my favorite things to eat.
If you don’t know how to can, there are some great websites, but my favorites are Fresh Preserving, which is the official Ball site and the National Center for Home Food Preservation. However, the very best way to learn to can is to find someone who knows how to can, usually an older lady, and ask her to teach you. She will love to pass along her knowledge to you. If you know me, I’d be more than happy to teach you to can.
3. Be careful how you store things. Try to have your ‘food room’ be a dark room in a cooler area of your home. My husband’s grandma had a cellar where she had rows and rows of things she had canned. Be sure to label anything that doesn’t have an expiration date with the date you either canned or bought it. With fresh produce, like the onions above, find the best way to store them. I’ve read that hanging onions in panty hose is a great way to save them for a period of time. I’m trying that out for the first time. So far so good. We go through onions pretty quickly, so I don’t see it being a problem for us.
4. Only store food your family will actually eat. There is no reason to take up valuable space and waste your money and effort on food your family won’t eat or that you don’t know how to cook. For example, I don’t store wheat. First of all, I have no idea how to make it into something I could cook and second all, I couldn’t make a loaf of bread to save my life. Seriously.
5. Grow your own food. As I said earlier, I am not a gardner. However, this year we grew tomatoes and they were amazing. I have made and canned pasta sauce with the tomatoes, onions and zucchini I was given, plus some pepper and spices. I know every ingredient in the sauce and it is amazing. If you have limited space to grow, Google container gardening or apartment gardening or square foot gardening. All will give you great instructions for gardening in a small space. Don’t forget about fruit trees. They take minimal work and can give you a lot of fruit. We have a couple of plum trees, one who produced well this summer. I made jam and fruit leather from that tree and then shared the rest of the plums with friends.
6. When you see something your family likes on a screaming sale, buy a lot of it. For example, I just found named brand corn and green beans on sale for 50 cents a can. I bought a case of each because I knew we would eat them. I wish I would have bought more, but I will next time. The thing to do when you find a deal on something your family regularly eats is to follow the first in first out rule. Always fill from the back and eat from the front. That way you are rotating your stock.
7. Be sure to not only store food, but also spices your family likes so the food isn’t bland. We like to cook with pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and Italian seasoning a lot, so I store extras of each of those. Also, be sure to have lots of salt on hand. It’s not only a seasoning, but it will help you in preserving meat if you get in a pinch and need to hunt or fish for your own meat.
8. Comfort foods are a must. You don’t want your family to be miserable in an emergency situation or when they are already stressed out about if the bread winner will get a new job. We have chocolate in our food storage, because we all like it and I’m pretty sure I can’t survive with it, but I also keep several bags of popcorn on hand. Also in our food storage is freeze dried cookie mix that we can make if we need.
9. There are companies who sell food storage in kits, like Our Daily Bread and Thrive. There are many others, but these are the two that I’ve tried and actually liked the food. These places sell freeze dried and dehydrated foods in cans that store for up to 25 years. They take less room to store and there is not rotation, so they are an easier and quicker option, if you have money laying around.
10. When you’re thinking of food storage, don’t forget water. Water takes a lot of room to store, so you might consider filters or water cleaning tablets. I have a few bottles of store bought water that will last us about a week. I also keep some empty containers in my food storage room so if a bad storm is coming, I can fill the bottles ahead of time in case we lose our power. (Our water is pumped from a well with electricity.)
11. Store some fuel. You might be wondering why I say fuel in a food storage post. We have a generator in case we lose power, so we can keep our pellet stove on in the winter or our freezers on in the summer running. We have loads of Zaycon meat and game in our freezer and we don’t want it to go bad. We will need fuel to run the generator. PS if you don’t know what Zaycon meat is, it’s a great place to order high quality fresh meat, in bulk, for a lot less money than the grocery store. You also get a referral code to give out so you can get credit for anyone who uses your link to order meat. If you click on that link, and you should, that is my referral link.
There you have it. My eleven tips. What are some of your tips to build your food storage? Leave me a comment and help us all get prepared.