This summer I tackled the first aid kit situation at our house. And wow, what a relief to have just about all my first aid bases covered. Feeling prepared is so nice.
Well, that nice feeling kind of went out the window when my sister and I started talking about food storage…ugh. Our garden is certainly not producing enough to feed us, much less enough to preserve anything for winter or the proverbial rainy day. If I’m honest, we are no where near where we should be food storage wise…like, seriously not even close. Our long term pantry is pretty pitiful.
So, rather then feel sorry for myself that the garden didn’t perform amazingly this spring, or whine that it’s expensive to purchase food storage items, I put together a plan. Will we have 6 months of food storage next week? No. But I’ve worked out a plan to get a few basics in bulk and fit it into our monthly budget over the next 6 months. And hopefully that will get us to a point that we’re feeling a little more secure in our food situation.
If you’re new to the concept of food storage, there’s basically two big reasons to store food long term.
- To have food over the winter months when the gardens aren’t producing. Back when the family kitchen garden was the grocery store, canning and preserving were a way of life. You grow more then you need, preserve the extra to store for winter so you won’t starve before your next garden starts producing. Ultimately this is the type of self-reliance we’re aiming for here.
- Another popular reason to store food is to be prepared for an emergency of some kind. Some of those emergencies may include job loss, unable to work because of illness or injury, or any type of emergency that would prevent food from getting into the grocery store (natural disasters, drought, loss of crops, … zombies…you know, the usual.)
Whatever your main reason, having a little something stored up for later is a good idea.
While we work toward building up our homestead’s food production capabilities, I’m going to be working on purchasing some staples to give us a bit of a safety net. I want to share our plan with you in case maybe you’re not super on top of food storage either. I mean, I’m not alone here, right?? Or maybe this task seems too big to tackle. Trust me, I feel ya, but it doesn’t have to be. Here’s what we’re doing,
Each month I’m dedicating about $60 of our budget to one bulk food purchase,
August: Asian Pears. There is an organic orchard near us and in August they’re open for Asian Pear picking. My plan is to pick as much as we can fit into the budget and preserve it. Mainly via canning (pear sauce, anyone?), and possibly a little fruit leather, and freezing.
September: 25lbs Dry Black Beans. Beans are a great source of protein and fiber, and they store well too. Way out here in on the East Coast, we aren’t privy to the oh so glorious Azure Standard. If you can use them, by all means do. If you can’t, this is what I’ll be purchasing, they’re organic and have free shipping, pretty much winning right there.
October: Persimmons. The same orchard that offers pears, is open for persimmon picking in October. I’m thinking I’ll probably turn this into persimmon butter…we’ll see!
November: 25lbs Rice. Because, you know, we’ve gotta have something to go with those beans! And when prepared properly for ideal digestion, rice has a fair amount of vitamins and minerals to bring to the dinner table.
December: 25lbs Split Peas. Pretty much the cheapest and most easily long-term storage friendly vegetable I could find. Bonus, my kids love peas, so there’s that.
January: 10lbs each Garbanzo Beans & Lentils. Because, variety is good for your mental health!
We already have 25lbs of organic steel cuts oats, I purchase 25lbs of this flour about every 4 months already, and we’ve got a decent amount of water too. I’m crossing my fingers and toes that our Fall garden will produce enough staples to store up some extra. And I’m really hoping the Husband-Man will have a successful deer season this fall as well. That would really bolster our food storage situation.
Even without a successful garden or deer harvest, come January, this little exercise in food storage accumulation will have built us about a 4-6 month supply of food for our family of four. Pretty cool, right? Now, this wouldn’t be a very culinarily exciting way to eat, but we’d get the nutrition our bodies would need should we have nothing else available. Plus all of these are staples that I’ll be able to used in our regular day-to-day meals. Thus saving me money by avoiding purchasing them in smaller and more expensive quantities at the grocery store, and facilitating food storage rotation – because it all has expiration dates, don’t ya know. I plan on continuing to make bulk purchases each month beyond January to help make our food storage more complete. Including items such as wheat berries, raw sugar, coconut oil, and more fruit from local U-Pick farms when it’s in season.
Time will tell, but I feel like for now at least, this is the best game plan for us to work toward being more prepared and self-reliant.
Because, you know, when zombies are after ya, you’ll be glad you have 100’s of pounds of dried food…
This post shared at…