Sunday, January 19, 2014

Food Storage Tips - Guest Post

I love the emails I get from readers, and every now and then someone shares their story.  When I emailed this woman back and asked if I could use it for a blog post, she not only said 'yes', she emailed me a copy of her spreadsheet and a picture! 

"When I started prepping I had more extra money every month than I do now, but even then I had to be careful.  I made a rule: anything on my shopping list that I know I will need or want in hard times, I would buy at least one extra for storage.  I prefer fresh vegetables, so if I were buying fresh corn, then I also bought a can or two of corn, if it was on sale.  I increased my shopping budget for about 6 months, but I have a good pantry full of things I know I will enjoy in an emergency.
I needed storage space for food, so I went on a hard core cleanup, donating or throwing out things that were less important to me than food would be in an emergency.  That was tough at the beginning but is easy now.  I look at old games or books or clothes and throw enough away to make room for one meal, or a week’s worth of meals, or whatever.
Then, because I could not stand the idea of allowing any of this hard-won food go to waste, I organized my food by expiration dates.  So, everything that expires in Jan 2014 is together – milk powder, vegetables, meats, bouillon, etc., and then all the food for Feb 2014, and so forth.   Naturally, everything in storage has its expiration date written on the front with a Sharpie. 

Everything is in the pantry but on the first of each month, I bring next month’s food into my kitchen cabinet and look for recipes to use every scrap before it expires.  I’ve learned to make new dishes and can say proudly that nothing has been thrown out! 
Because I wanted easy access to food I might need, I also made a spread sheet of all my food on the computer and can search for “tomatoes” if I run short.  So, the next rule is: replace anything used from storage.  The system works well for me because I am forced to use food by expiration date rather than running the risk of missing the use of something located in a group of its kind.  The next 2 rules: remove any item from the spreadsheet that is removed from the pantry and add newly-bought items to the spreadsheet before putting into the pantry.

For “treats” I have collected a variety of local honeys, which I absolutely adore.  I have also bought large containers of raw honey for medicinal purposes in a time of great need.  Honey is yummy, has antibacterial properties, and can be stored easily forever.  The perfect food!
Oh, yes, and I used my tax refund for freeze-dried meats, vegetables, and fruits instead of the vacation or clothes-shopping I might have done otherwise.
I am almost 66, live alone (well, with 3 dogs and 2 cats) in the country, keep a pretty ordinary garden, and am more than a little worried about our future.  I’m not anyone’s psychic friend and have no idea how things will play out, but I do know that I am far less worried now that there are rows of food in my pantry.  Prepping has done me a lot of good already!
Thank you, Susan and Dave, for your helpful books (I also have “Life Without Refrigeration” and “Preserving Meat, Dairy, and Eggs”).  I try to save a little money each month for helpful books, too.
Thank you, TuationNC, for letting me share this with others.  I'd welcome more information like this, or stories of how you needed or used your preps/food storage in hard times, or anything else that could help or encourage our readers.
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