Lacey Smith

Prepare: 3 Months Food Storage

In Uncategorized on June 14, 2011 at 2:55 pm

My second suggestion last Thursday was to build three months of food storage.

I think food storage can be daunting for most people. It’s tough to figure out what to include, where to get it, how to afford it, and how to use what you’ve stored.

Ideally, we would all have at least a year, but three months is a great start that should see you through any short-term food shortage, job loss or inability to get to the store.

A three-month supply is also easier to build than long-term storage because you’re primarily storing what you use in day to day life. This means that if you just pick up a few extra cans and boxes of food when you’re grocery shopping, you can fairly quickly, easily and affordably get your food storage.

The first step is to figure out what dried and canned staples you regularly use. In my house we eat a lot of rice and pasta, chili and refried beans, so that’s what we need to store.

Step two is to figure out what goes with those things. If I were to just store cans of refried beans, I will be rather unhappy, since I don’t like straight refried beans. So I also need to store taco shells, non-perishable (freeze-dried) cheese and taco sauce.

The third step is to get and use your storage. If you really are storing what you use, most of the using part should be easy. It’s the rotating part that can get tricky.

Here’s what we used in our house growing up. I use it now with a fair amount of success:

When I bring home groceries, I mark the month and the year on all my cans, boxes and other packages. We try to put the oldest stuff at the back and bring the newer food to the front. Even if things get mixed up, though, the date lets me always know what’s oldest.

I use the oldest stuff first and if I’m using something marked from April in June, I know I’m using that item faster than I thought and need to buy a larger volume.

I’m not very good at remembering how much I bought at a time. To fix that, I’m going to start writing that information down on a notecard and store them in an envelope:

This way, if I’m over- or under using an item, I can find out how much I bought three months ago and adjust accordingly.

Also, to help me rotate, and improve organization, I recently picked a “can tracker.”

It was $20 at Winco, my husband said it was fairly simple to put together and is going to make my pantry so much neater. It also makes rotating easier, since you put the newest cans at the top and the take from the bottom where the oldest cans are.

If you currently have no storage, see if you can find an extra $10 in your budget. You’ll be amazed at how quickly you can build up a store of food, even with the increased cost of groceries.

If I’ve missed anything or you have another great way to track your food storage, please share your suggestions in the comments!

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