Food Storage Dos and Don'ts
By Jodi Moore
When you are thinking about starting a long-term food storage program there are a lot of things to consider. First off, what are your food storage goals? A common guideline is to start with a 3 month supply of foods you normally eat, and then build up a one year supply of longer-term foods.
What IS long term food storage? This concept is basically to have supply of food that can sustain your family for one year in case of a long-lasting emergency situation. These bulk foods tend to have long shelf lives and when combined with a few other ingredients can make a wide variety of meals. Some of the most common foods stored are wheat, oats, rice, legumes, powdered milk, oil, salt, yeast, etc. Basically the staple foods of any diet.
How much should you store? While there are basic food storage calculators out there to help you along the way, they aren't necessarily exactly right for every situation. Here are some do's and don'ts that can help you as you get started with your family's personal plan.
Food Storage Do's
- DO get a partner to work with you, share ideas, and motivate you
- DO learn how to actually USE the foods that you are storing
- DO buy the necessary kitchen appliances to help you use the foods
- DO include the foods you store as part of your everyday cooking
- DO be adventurous and try new recipes
- DO start small and work your way up to a full year supply
- DO make sure to have an emergency plan in place
- DO expand your food storage to include other things once you get the basics down
- DO educate yourself in other aspects of emergency preparedness such as alternative heating/cooking methods
Food Storage Don'ts
- DON'T get overwhelmed and just give up completely
- DON'T store foods that your family hates just because the calculator says to
- DON'T think that cooking with these foods is fattening and unhealthy
- DON'T think that using bulk foods and cooking from scratch is really inconvenient
- DON'T get too crazy about figuring out how to cook without electricity when you are just getting started
- DON'T buy everything all at once and kill your budget
- DON'T try to get your family to change their diet completely over night
- DON'T be too anxious to buy things that you don't wait for good sales
- DON'T focus too much on long term items and neglect to store some basic foods you use on a regular basis
I hope those little tips will help you as you get started on your food storage adventures. I've had a lot of fun learning more about these concepts this past year. Just remember that food storage is a completely PERSONAL endeavor. There is no "right" or "wrong" way to go about doing it. The most important thing is to simply GET STARTED!
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