One of the best ways to save money on your grocery bill is to stock up when things are on sale. However, if you buy things that you do not use or let things go bad, you are losing money. Here are some suggestions for successful food storage.
-First, decide how long of a time you want your food storage to last. Our family is shooting for a 1 year supply, but others may choose shorter or longer time periods. Then, make a list of several meals including breakfast, lunch, dinner, desserts, and snacks, that your family enjoys and have ingredients that would be easy to store. Some ideas are: pasta and sauce, soups, scrambled eggs (from powdered eggs or stored eggs), pudding, gelatin, cereal and milk (powdered or evaporated that you can reconstitute), tuna casserole, etc.
- Invest in some quality storage containers. I have had my share of food packages "infiltrated" by mice, ants, and grain moths. My personal preference is Modular Mates containers by Tupperware. I used to think Rubbermaid was just as good, but when we had an infestatin of grain moths, only the Tupperware successfully kept the grain moths out. Emergency Essentials also has a good selection of food grade buckets and water barrels.
- Keep the food off the ground to decrease the chance of attracting pests. Storage shelves or metal cabinets are great for keeping stored food out of the way.
- As you purchase food items, freeze grain products for 24-48 hours to kill any bugs or eggs that may be in them. Yes, they often come from the store with these critters in them. My grain moth infestation started when I brought them home from the store in a bag of unshelled peanuts. Then, put the food into appropriate storage containers and date the containers or cans (no need to repackage canned goods) with the date of purchase.
- Use the food you buy for storage and replace it on a regular basis. This is why it is important to store foods your family will eat. You would not want to store things that you will never use or if you HAD to rely on your food storage have a bunch of food that no one likes. Of course, you will eat it if you are really hungry, but if times are that bad you will feel better if you can at least eat something you enjoy.
- You do not need to be a home canner to store fruits and vegetables, but they taste better and are better for you. Canning is fairly easy, though time consuming. You can learn how to do it here. It is also possible to can meat. Here are instructions for that.
-Do not forget to include alternative cooking sources (fuel for a grill, sterno cans, etc) and non-food items such as cleaning products and medications.
Hopefully, none of us will ever need to rely on food storage long-term, but in case you do. This should help ensure that your family eats well and that you have food that is edible and enjoyable. We can not assume that others, including government programs and churches, will be able to provide for us in a time of need. It may be that our time of need comes as a national disaster and that there just won't be enough for everyone.