Previously I shared with you some resources about drying and dehydrating food. Now, let’s talk about food storage. First, do you have enough food in your home to feed your family for only a couple of days? Then, are you in the habit of running to the store a few times a week to replenish essential items that you have run out of?
When just starting, many preppers are overwhelmed at the thought of storing enough food to eat for weeks or even months in a natural or manufactured disaster or event that disrupts the regular food supply chain. We have all seen news reports of empty supermarket shelves on a weather forecast of an impending blizzard or hurricane — not a loaf of bread to be found anywhere!
Buying and storing the recommended one-year inventory of food and non-food essentials to sustain a family can seem like an impossible task, especially if you are starting. However, creating a home food storage system can be accomplished with a few essential prepping tips that will put you well on your way to a well-organized food supply that is easy to use and maintain:
- Start small — buy what you eat and eat what you buy. Take into account your family’s food preferences and eating habits, and try to estimate what you would you would need for a few days, weeks, or months if you had to rely on your stored food to survive.
- Store regular foods that you normally eat. The first priority in a home food storage program is to build up a supply of “regular” food that is used during normal daily food preparation, and rotate those supplies on a regular basis. Items like MREs (Meals Ready to Eat) or freeze-dried foods have a place in long-term food storage, and can be utilized as a back-up to the regular food supply.
- Buy duplicates of food and other essential items that you already use. If you run out of peanut butter one week, buy two jars and put one jar into your food storage inventory. Adding a few extra packages, cans, or jars of the food you normally buy is a quick and painless way to build up supplies of food, household products, or over-the-counter medications you routinely use.
- Mark the newly purchased items with the date you bought them — a permanent marker such as a Sharpie works well. When you need another jar or can of something, you can refer to the purchase date to use the oldest item up first. Rotation of stored items will ensure that they get used up before their expiration date.
- Buy in bulk whenever possible. Save money and stock up by purchasing larger quantities of anything you use when it is on sale. Buying in bulk is a great way to save money and stock up on your supplies at the same time! Use coupons or shop at wholesalers, or food co-ops to maximize your purchasing power.
A food storage program can seem like a daunting task at first, but with small steps and careful planning, you can reach your goal of being self-sufficient in an emergency or an extended period.
The above tips are what we do regularly. But, not knowing what lies ahead, why not give the above some thought and see what you can get in place so you are better prepared.