Now that we are nearly all moved in and things are beginning to settle down, I can turn my attention to our food storage. Rather, the considerable lack thereof. We have no storage left at all. I even ran out of baking soda! (Of course, using it to clean with was not factored in before) So, I am looking at the space we have available, the circumstances that are most likely to make acquiring food difficult and how long they will last. Then, I can start to make a list.
The LDS church recommends a year's worth of food and water per person, per household. However, that may be a daunting thought when you are first getting started. Alan Hagan, a regular contributor to Backwoods Home Magazine and the Homesteading Today forums, has published a great article on getting started for $10 a week. Even with the currently rising prices, his plan has solid points and merits reading. You can find it at http://lds.about.com/gi/dynamic/offsite.htm?site=http://www.backwoodshome.com/articles/hagan59.html Alan has a great website of his own, as well. Many suggestions for food storage and back-to-basics living can be found there. Here's the link" http://athagan.members.atlantic.net/Index.html
The easiest way that I personally have found to get started is to double up on purchases at the supermarket when something is on sale. For instance, if boxed Mac n Cheese is your thing, grab a case at Aldi's or purchase twice as many boxes as usual while it is on sale. If your favorite store has canned goods on sale, grab a case full. They don't all have to be the same when you are getting started. Mix and match till you have a full case EXTRA and put them away. We'll go over organizing food storage at a later date. However, it helps to mark the top of each can with the purchase date so you use them in order of freshness.
If you are lucky enough to have a freezer in addition to your fridge, double up on meats when they are on sale. Our local market has a "5 for $20" program every week. There are family packs of meats and I can usually buy enough for 2 weeks or longer for less than $30. Then just re-package them at home for freezing, remembering to date them all.
The important thing is to buy foods that your family will eat. Don't buy 50 bags of broccoli if you're the only one eating it. Buy what you will reasonably use in a year. Invest in a cookbook that will show new and interesting ways to cook the same old foods. Chicken is fine, but it gets boring after a while. Learn how to use it in other dishes. My family is nuts for my Chicken Curry recipe.
If you have favorite recipes, write them down and keep them. You won't always be the one cooking and you'll want someone else to be able to fend for themselves if they need to. My kids are all asking me for family recipes again lately. So, it's time to start writing them down and passing them along. The best part of this project is that it shows you what you eat the most often. Then you can see where to start doubling your purchases and storing your food.
Don't forget to store water. What will you do if the pipes freeze? If a water main breaks? How will you make coffee or pasta? How will you bathe or wash dishes? How will you flush? These things are important to consider at the very beginning of your food storage planning program. Store water in 2 or 3 liter soda bottles, not milk jugs. The disintegrate over time. Plan to store about 3 bottles per person, per day, for a 5 day period to start. In my house, that's 30 soda bottles of water! (Now, where can I put that so it's out of sight, but doesn't freeze on me?)
There will be more in my next post, but this is enough to get you started. Check out the LDS food storage calculator and other information available at this site: http://lds.about.com/library/bl/faq/blcalculator.htm.