Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Tips on Running a Household: Food Storage

Tips on Running a Household: Food Storage
Today's topic is Food Storage. Several years ago, I had the calling {or job} for our ward to be the food storage specialist. Well, I was no expert, but I did learn a lot about the value and importance of having food storage. Food storage is simply having extra food on hand to use in times of emergency - like natural disasters or, more commonly, financial hardships.  To me, although we've never had to live only on our food storage, it gives me great satisfaction and peace to know that I have food stored for times of need.

A few tips I've learned along the way:

1 - Store food that you like and eat. This will help you to rotate through it so that nothing goes bad. This is something I've had to train myself to do. When I first started storing food, I found a great deal on pork and beans. There's nothing wrong with pork and beans - however - I bought too much. We rarely eat them because the kids don't like them. So they sat there and sat there with us rarely eating any of them. On the other hand, my kids love corn. So even though it's not as cheap as the pork and beans were, we actually eat it and nothing goes to waste.

2 - Use your food storage.  I plan my meals around the food I store. And I store food around the meals we eat. For example, in the winter we like to have chili. So when the case-lot sale comes around, I stock up on chili beans and tomato paste when they are at their lowest price. Then throughout the winter when I want to make chili, I just brown up some hamburger and grab a few cans from the basement.  Other favorite food storage meals are taco soup, beef stroganoff, and spaghetti. 

3 -Take advantage of garden produce. I know that I pay for the seeds and water, but it feels like it's free since I don't have to go to the store to buy green beans, or salsa. This time of year is a great time to can or freeze produce. This year I've frozen peas, carrots, strawberries, broccoli and raspberries - all from the garden. I've canned green beans, carrots, picante sauce, spaghetti sauce, strawberry jam, strawberry syrup, apricot jam, raspberry jam, and cherry pie filling.  And I'm not done - soon the peaches, apples and grapes will be ripe. Everything has come either from our garden, or from a neighbor/family member except the cherries and some of the strawberries. Take advantage when neighbor's offer their extra produce. This year I was able to make a batch of apricot jam with apricots my neighbor gave me.

4 -When canning, start small. Don't think you have to start canning everything all at once. I would suggest borrowing a water bath canner and trying just one thing. Peaches are in season Right NOW - and they are fairly simple, so that would be a good place to start. If you decide, canning is not for you, that's ok. If you decide that you like it, then you can invest in your own water bath canner and other supplies. You can read my other canning tips here.

5 - Figure out a plan that will work for you. When we first started storing food we were just starting our family. We didn't have any extra money for food storage. So we started very small. I decided that $10 of our monthly grocery budget would go to food storage. This was not an extra $10 - it was part of the already allocated grocery money. I just had to prioritize a little more to be able to include some food storage items and forgo the chips or cookies. I would buy a few extra cans of tuna, or an extra jar of peanut butter each month. It wasn't a lot, but as we made it a priority, we seemed to be able to get a good start. From there it's blossomed. Each year my husband has a week in July where he's guaranteed a ton of overtime. We use that money for his hunting trips and school clothes, but I always make sure to save some of that money for the case-lot sale, so I can stock up on the food storage items that we're running low on. For those of you in Utah the case-lot sales are going on right NOW if you want to get started.

Do you store  extra food? What tips do you have for acquiring food storage?

Other Tips on Running a Household:
Menu Planning
Well-Stocked Pantry

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