Stocking for the Future
About six years ago – or so – Sal and I began putting a few extra groceries away every month. To be honest we weren’t too confident where our country was headed and the West Coast has an impending earthquake hanging over head – or underfoot!
We just thought we would feel better if we had a food reserve is need be. We began slowly and after about three years of consistently buying a bit extra we had a two-year supply put away.
We are very fortunate that our old 1906 house has a room in the basement which was built as a cold room for food storage – I know not everyone is as fortunate. But please don’t let that delay your beginning to stockpile a food reserve.
Where to begin: – Let’s start by just making a list of the groceries you buy regularly, the dry goods you use weekly and monthly – flour, rice, beans, pasta; mixes you may use for short cuts in cooking like prepackaged cornbread or a spaghetti or gravy mix. Take your time and make as complete a list as you can.
Once you have made your list decide how long you want to plan ahead. Sal and I began with just three months – moved to six and then to two years. You do not have to do this all at once and room for storage is another gauge for you to keep in mind.
If we just look at three months you can figure out how many cans of green beans or corn or beets you need; how many cans of evaporated milk you will use in three months; what about canned soup or pasta or canned fruit. You get the concept and beginning is the best step forward.
One error we made when we began was putting some food up in five gallon cans. This wasn’t very smart – after all there are just two of us. Once you open a five gallon bucket of beans – oh my – that is a lot of beans. Not to mention the darn bucket weighs a ton! We learned quickly that #10 cans are a much better method of long-term storage for may of the basics we need. A #10 tin is the size you see in the commercial or perhaps school section of the grocery store – much easier to consume than a five gallon bucket! More on the #10 tins later.
We’ve all been shopping for a long time but a few hints that helped us. We like locally canned items and found that our local Bi-Mart carries a brand of canned vegetables that we like – Santiam brand. They periodically have the cans on sale so we would buy a case of our favorite vegetables. Twelve cans gives us enough to use two cans a month for six months – see how easy that was – you are already six months stocked! Watch for specials on the items your family enjoys and buy some extra – perhaps more than you usually would purchase.
If you have a large pantry you are blessed and just need to organize a bit to increase your food retention area. If you are short on storage consider a hall closet or perhaps having some cased goods under your bed. You do not want your canned goods to freeze but if your garage is heated or protected you can store items there as well.
One issue which always comes up is “What about the expiration date on the canned goods/” I have it from a very reliable source that the expiration dates do not mean very much. Canned goods may, after a time, lose some of their nutritional value. But is you are stockpiling for six months or a year you do not have to be concerned. Rotating your stock will eliminate most of that issue anyway – and you always want to use the older products first.
I have a list of our items which I will post later – I am having difficulty formatting it to fit in the blog! I have our long-term storage list and then our pantry access list which is where you will want to begin.
Begin today – start making that list of all the items you use in a week – expand it to two. Most of repeat many of our meals on a regular basis so this is an easy step to begin. I will be back with a list and additional info in a few days. I’ll be checking on you to see how your list making is going!
Happy Stocking for the Future – It is a great feeling of security to know you and your family will not go hungry in case of an emergency or an unexpected crisis.