five basic needs: 1) FOOD, 2) water, 3) shelter, 4) security, and 5) energy
We know that we’re going to eat, multiple times, everyday. We know that if we go more than three to four weeks without food we’ll die. We know that food costs keep going up. We know that food today is readily available and relatively inexpensive. We know that there are multiple systems involved in getting food to the stores each day, and if one of those systems fail it doesn’t arrive. Those, and more, are the reasons to store food.
Food storage is discussed in two categories: short-term or Store What You Eat (SWYE) and Long Term Storage (LTS).
SWYE is as simple as it sounds: stock up on the non-perishable foods you eat on a regular basis. When you first begin–unless you have the extra money to go buy cases at a time–follow the “copy can” method. Each time you go shopping, if you need one can of say, tuna, buy two (or three or four…) instead. Put one can in your kitchen pantry, take the others and write the date on them and put on your SWYE shelf. Your SWYE food can be stored in any cool, dry area. Racks can be purchased to make food rotation easier. Then, when you need a can of tuna, use the one in your pantry and replace it with the oldest one (you dated them remember?) from your SWYE (add that item to your shopping list!). Rinse & repeat.
In a short period of time you’ll have your initial goal of two weeks food storage complete. From there build your SWYE to 30, 60, then 90 days. Remember, food storage’s biggest enemies are: light, heat, moisture, and air. Most SWYE items are canned or well packaged so light and air aren’t a big concern. But heat and moisture can be, so plan accordingly. I should also mention rodents, of course they won’t get into cans, but that mac ‘n cheese box…
Non-perishables are the easiest to store, but if you have the freezer space (I highly recommend a deep freezer) you can also add meat and other frozen items to more fully round out your food preps. Yes freezers are vulnerable to power outages, so have a plan. Know how long your freezer will stay ‘cold enough’ without running, and prepare to either provide auxiliary power, or to use the items if needed.
I’ve been asked, “what do you store?”. My response is along the lines of store what YOU eat, develop YOUR own plan, blah, blah, blah. But I do understand the usefulness of someone helping you get started. The irony is that I’m also, relatively speaking, getting started myself. That being said, here’s an overview of our family’s SWYE: canned beans, vegetables, fruits, meats, soups; summer sausage, cereals, man ‘n cheese, tortillas, oatmeal, mashed potatoes, condiments, peanut butter, jelly, baking staples, cooking oil, spices, bouillon, coffee, hot chocolate, power and granola bars, and crackers. Again just a list to get you started and thinking about what would be good for you – your plan has to be your own.
(Monday: “Long Term Storage (Food Part 2)”)