“Food in the basement is better than money in the bank.”
There are many reasons for stockpiling a one-year supply of food. The value of food commodities generally increases at the same rate as inflation. Money in the bank doesn’t do that. Investing in 500 cans of tuna fish in your basement or dehydrated food that will last five to 10 years is a better bet than putting $350 in the bank.
The most important reason to store food is that it comes in very handy in a crisis of any kind. Whether it be a large emergency such as an earthquake, flood, volcano eruption, war, strike or economic crash, or something as personal as being laid off work, moving or helping other family members that are down and out or when cash is short, it is comforting to know that you can use your home grocery store to help buffer lean money times. If you had to live on what you had in your basement for an extended period of time, you would wish you had a well-rounded supply of food.
In general, most households do not have more than a one-week supply of food. Let’s face it, as a nation, we rely almost totally on the supermarket and fast food restaurants. An average family of four spends $750 or more per month on food. As the children grow up, the price increases. That is double the amount spent 10 years ago. In the past five years inflation on food has risen more than anything else has. Your best investment right now is FOOD!
If you ask any supermarket chain manager to tell you how long it would take to empty the shelves in any store in the event of a crises, the answer would be approximately three days. They just don’t keep that much in their warehouses. And if there were a trucking problem it would be less. People would storm the grocery stores and buy anything they could get. The water is the first thing that goes.
I strongly suggest that you find a place in your home, either in a basement, spare bedroom, closet, junk room, under the stairway or heated garage, and go to work turning it into your own home grocery store and pharmacy. Somehow get shelves in there, build them, have them built or buy them pre-built. Whatever works best for you. Just do it, now.
This “home grocery store” will be to you and your family as the ark was to Noah and his family. It will contain all the necessary food, water, bedding and medical supplies to sustain life for a minimum of three months to one year.
So what are the best kinds of food to stock pile? It is recommended that you “store what you eat and eat what you store” otherwise you might get sick. A crisis is not the time to change your family’s diet.
Appetite fatigue is a very serious condition. Food storage experiments have been conducted where people had mock disasters and lived on their basic food storage for extended periods of time.
If you are suddenly thrown into a diet that you are not used to, especially one with a lot of wheat, beans, corn, honey, powdered milk and dehydrated food, you will have a double crisis. One thing we do not need in an emergency is a sickness caused by a drastic change in our diet.
It is best to incorporate these foods into your diet gradually. These are the foods that store well for long term and, to rehydrate them, you just need to add water, so they are good to have in your storage along with any canned goods that you like. The shelf life on canned goods is approximately two years and dehydrated food up to 10 years.
There is nothing wrong with storing wheat, beans, rice, powdered milk and honey, if that is what you are used to and prefer. Some people have allergies to wheat and they learn this when they change their diet. Store a variety of wheat and other grains, along with flour, oatmeal, rice, noodles, evaporated milk, beans, peas, lentils, legumes, canned meats, tuna fish, canned salmon, soup of all kinds, tomatoes, sauces of all kinds, all baking items, shortening, oils, peanut butter, jams, syrups, salad dressings, mayonnaise, Jell-O, cocoa, bottled fruits and vegetables and many other dehydrated products.
Nothing should be kept for more than two years without rotating except the following: wheat, grains, beans, sugar, salt and any product that is nitrogen packed for long term storage and has a low oxygen content.
If people store what they eat and eat what they store, the rotation will automatically take care of itself. Rotating your food so your family gets accustomed to eating the grains, beans, honey and dehydrated products is very important.
Shelves built to accommodate buckets of bulk food.
Always replace each item as it is used up so you can maintain your stockpile. Purchase cases of items when they come on sale. Our hometown grocery store has case lot sales about four times a year. The best prices are when items are in season. I buy wet pack corn and beans in the fall when they are two cans for $1. When tuna fish comes on sale I buy three or four cases. It’s an excellent source of protein and I save a lot of money by purchasing in bulk.
A sample formula for knowing how much food to store is to keep track of what you eat for a two-week period of time. Surprisingly most families repeat meals every few days. Multiply the basic ingredients by six to calculate a three-month supply, 13 for a six-month supply and 26 to calculate a year’s supply. Separate menus can be calculated for summer and winter taking into consideration gardening and seasonal foods available. Build your own stockpile slowly, over a six-month period of time.
A hint that has helped me to obtain extra food items: Every time I go to the grocery store I get two of each item that I normally buy, such as ketchup, barbecue sauce, pickles, olives, cream soups, mayonnaise, salad dressing, spaghetti sauces, mixes, etc. I put one away and use the other. It’s a good idea to keep adding more and more of a variety of items to your home grocery store, so your diet won’t be so bland.
Planned menus can eliminate the panic feeling you get when you know you should store food and you don’t know where to begin. I have included a chart in my book, Food Storage 101. Where do I begin?, to plan menus for two weeks. It asks you to list every ingredient to make sure you have each item on hand.
If you plan your food storage program out carefully you can avoid impulse or panic buying which will save you a lot of money and grief. Anticipate your needs for a three-month period of time. Buy bulk food in larger quantities and store them in plastic food grade buckets that have airtight lids. Do not use paint buckets or any other container that has been used for chemicals. Do not use garbage bags, as they are treated with pesticides. A food grade Mylar liner inside a plastic bucket works very well with an oxygen absorber vacuum packed and sealed.
A No. 10 (1 gallon) can is the best way to store smaller quantities. (We will be discussing the different methods of storing bulk food in an upcoming article.)
Store your food in a cool, dry place away from sunlight and in a place that stays a constant temperature of around 40-60 degrees Fahrenheit. Hot or cold fluctuations in temperatures can destroy the nutritive value of the food and shorten its shelf life. A basement or cold storage area is ideal. I realize that some people don’t have a basement, that’s why it is so important to plan a space that can stay cooler than the rest of the house.
Always label every can, bottle or bucket with what is in each container, the date of purchase, shelf life, and the date to be used by.
A Three Month Well Rounded Food Storage Plan
A three-month well-rounded supply of food storage is much better than a year’s supply of wheat, beans, honey and powdered milk. The basics are important, but it is just the beginning.
I have created a plan of action and divided it into six steps. Each month you can work on one step and after six months you will have a three month or more supply of food storage, vitamins, minerals, clothing, bedding, fuel, medical supplies and non-food items to sustain your family in a crisis.
I will be writing two articles per month. In these articles I will cover all six steps, and if you are serious about getting prepared, you can make it a goal to follow this plan. Then you will quickly have your own three-month supply of the essentials and receive the peace of mind of knowing that you are not dependant on the government or anyone else.
Next time we will begin with step one of my six-step plan for storing food. I will be discussing one or two steps per month and breaking it down into bite sized steps so it isn’t overwhelming and can be done in a timely manner.
The goal is to acquire a three-month, well rounded stock of food so you will be prepared for any situation where you may need to use it.
This information came from my books Food Storage 101. Where do I begin? and Emergency Food Storage and Survival Guide. For more about the books I have written go to my website and click on Peggy’s books.