Food storage preparation and disaster food storage is extremely important.
Having an emergency food supply ready in the case of natural or man-made disasters doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. Here are some tips on emergency food preparedness for all stay at home moms.
Why have an emergency food supply and food storage preparation?
We in the 21st century have gotten too used to having a grocery store at our beck and call.
Most of us make 2-3 trips per week to a grocery, mass merchandise, or convenience store for basic food supplies.
But what happens if a situation occurs where it is difficult, expensive, or impossible to get groceries so easily?
Natural disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes, or earthquakes
Man-made disasters such as acts of terror
Economic disasters such as loss of income or heavy inflation
It just makes sense to implement a food storage preparation plan and have emergency food preparedness!
How Much Disaster Food Storage Preparation Do You Need?
Experts say, publicly, that you should have at least three days supply of food, water, medications and household goods for every person and pet in your home. Privately, however, they recommend more, much more.
The Latter-Day Saints (aka Mormon) Church teaches food storage preparation to all members, and recommends between a three month and one year supply, at a minimum, of disaster food storage per person. Though I am personally not of the Latter-Day Saints religion, I find their teachings on emergency food preparedness very helpful.
Start your emergency food preparedness with a goal of acquiring three months worth of foods for your family. Once that goal has been reached, you can choose to extend that to six months, or a year, or you can stop, knowing you are ahead of most of the country with your disaster food storage.
To make things easier for food storage preparation, I use the following excel document, that I have altered to suit my family’s needs. I record my purchases on this document before putting them into storage so that I know what it is that I need and what I have.
Simply click on the link below, and then on the page that opens, you want to click the US MEASURES link in red to download the file.
This is a great site, so be sure and examine it fully.
Deyo Food Storage Planner
Another excellent resource is Food Storage Made Easy.
They have a wonderful feature called “Baby Steps” where they break the process of acquiring supplies down into easy steps, and will even email them to you (for free) at intervals designed to give you enough time to implement them one reasonable step at a time.
A must for food storage preparation.
How to Get Emergency Food Storage Preparation…Cheap
When most people think of food storage preparation, they envision buying 500-lb bags of sugar, or giant cans of dehydrated eggs or dried peas. Though this type of emergency food preparedness is helpful to a family with money to spare (a year’s supply of these types of packaged, bulk foods could run you thousands per person) they are not practical for the frugal stay at home mom.
No, we need to do things a little differently.
And I can say from experience, it is possible to stockpile disaster food storage supplies on a dime!
Strategy #1: Coupons
The method I utilize most for stockpiling disaster food storage is using coupons.
When I find a good deal on an item that I need for my emergency food preparedness list, I will buy as many as I possibly can.
For example, last week I was able to obtain (24) 20-oz packages of Peanut Butter for a grand total of $2. (That’s $2 for all 24, not $2 each).
Using this strategy, I have obtained hundreds of dollars worth of totally free or heavily discounted food storage preparation items. For more information on how to use coupons to save significant money, check out the Stay a Stay at Home Mom Deals and Steals section: Learn Couponing
Strategy #2: Warehouse Stores
You local Sam’s Club or Costco offers great savings on bulk food purchases. The next time you go in, look at it from a food storage preparedness viewpoint. Huge bags of flour, rice, beans and sugar are very economical, and it’s usually difficult to find coupons for these types of items. Keep your eyes peeled. We once found 12-can cases of Campbell’s Tomato Soup for $1.18 each at Sam’s Club. We went a little overboard and bought 143 cases.
Strategy #3: Slow and Steady
The best way to stockpile items for food storage preparation is to simply do a little each time you shop. Add an extra carton of salt to your shopping cart or buy a couple extra cans of soup.
I find it helpful to divide large packages in half once I get home. Meaning, if I buy a package of 4 cans of tuna, two will go into my emergency food supply, and the other two I’ll use for my family that week. My son loves Ramen Noodles, so I will typically buy a big 24-count case for him for around $3.50, and add half of the case to the food storage stockpile.
Just budgeting in $5-10 a week can really start you down the path to an emergency food supply quickly!
Strategy #4: Can Your Own
Our grandmothers and great-grandmothers new a thing or two about food storage preparation. One of the things they used to do was to can the summer’s harvest for use during the winter. For those of us who know how to can our own foods, we can do this as well.
In addition to canning fresh fruits and vegetables, consider canning meats, stews and soups. Get in the habit of making a triple -or quadruple- batch of stew and canning the excess. This is a great way to have convenient, high quality food on hand.
Strategy #5: Look in Unlikely Places
I’m an avid Craigslist.org aficionado. And I’ve got to tell you, I have found the oddest bargains on Craigslist, and even eBay. I’ve found people selling unopened 5-gallon buckets of wheat berries, people selling cases of propane canisters, and even people selling (or giving away) miscellaneous food items they don’t want from their pantry (things like jello, canned goods, frozen items, meat, etc).
I have a neighbor who answered a Craigslist ad about a hand flour mill. When he got to the location, an old church that had closed down, he came across 20 5-gallon buckets full of grains and rice. He was told he could have it if he could take it with him.
Keep your eyes peeled. You will find tons of useful emergency food preparedness resources once you start looking.
Important Food Storage Preparation Tips
The following tips are important to remember as you start to stockpile for your disaster food storage:
Variety is Important
Don’t buy 2,000 lbs of wheat berries and expect that you’ll be fine in the event of an emergency.
Variety in our food is extremely important. History has shown us examples of whole groups of people starving to death despite the fact that they had one type of food available to them.
The human mind has difficulty accepting the monotony of just one food source. Make sure you have a variety of foods not just for nutritional value, but also for boredom.
I have hard candy, gum, pudding mixes, Kool-Aid, and canned fruits as part of my disaster food storage stockpile. A little sweet goes a long way.
Buy What You Will Eat
Do not waste your money on foods you don’t like to eat. For example, SPAM is listed on the above food storage worksheet as an item to stockpile for meats. No one in my family can stand SPAM, so we replaced it with more tuna, something everyone in the family enjoys.
Now, I’m sure some of you are saying that if I was hungry enough, I’d eat the SPAM, and I guarantee you are right. But what will happen is that our family would eat every single other item first, leaving us with a whole lot of SPAM and a whole lot of disgusted boredom.
Don’t think of your emergency food storage as something you break into when times get tough. You need to consume it regularly, and rotate your stock. For example, when you go to the store and buy 2 cans of creamed corn for a recipe this week, take those two cans to your stockpile and replace them with two cans that have been stored a while. That way the items in your stockpile will not expire.
There are many ways to use the FIFO system (First In, First Out). You can set up a fancy can rotators, or simply write the expiration date on the top of the product in bold permanent marker for easy viewing. Whatever works best for you.
This again goes back to the principal of only storing foods that you plan to consume.
Learn to Cook from Food Storage
Finally, you may have items in your emergency food storage that you aren’t quite familiar with. Eventually you will want to store some wheat, if your family eats bread, and it will be a good idea to find recipes and learn to use these ingredients. Most of us see flour in its flour form; its quite another situation altogether to make flour out of wheat berries.