Monday, July 7, 2014

Back-To-Basics: 3-Month Supply Part 1

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Every memory I have of food storage always included lots and lots of #10 cans of food in my parent's basement.  They were never used and my parents actually moved some of those cans, across the country, four times.  Last year I helped my dad clean out the basement and we threw away many of those cans from the 1960's.  

Thank goodness there is a more efficient and affordable way to plan out and use food storage today! Those of us who are Mormon have been raised with the idea that we need to have our one year supply of food on hand.  It has been that way since I was little (almost 40 years ago) and at one time we were also asked to have a 2 year supply.  In 2007 a new pamphlet came out from the Church that described a new approach to storing food.  We are now asked to have a 3-month supply of everyday, "normal", food.  When that is accomplished we are encouraged to continue and store longer-term items. This is sound advice for everyone, not just Mormons....emergencies, disaters, and job losses don't discriminate.

 Now, take a moment and consider WHY you personally want to have food storage?  

-Do you feel the need to be obedient to the counsel given by our Church leaders to become self-reliant?

-Do you want a feeling of peace that comes from having food and supplies stored away for a rainy day?

-Do you want the feeling of comfort if there is a job loss or sickness in your family, and you can still provide for your family?

-Do you want to be ready for any kind of weather related emergency? Know what weather may threaten your area!

-Do you fear an economic collapse and want the peace of knowing you could thrive in a time of despair for most?

-Or are you a hard core prepper that wants to be ready for the end of the world? 

-My main reason is....I don't want to see my children suffer from anything and if I can store extra food and supplies....I will do it now while I can!

Any one of those reasons is reason enough to store food for your family!  But take this into consideration......No one else is going to be there to rescue you, not the government, not the LDS Church, not even family.  If there is an earthquake in Utah, you may not be able to reach family and use their food storage.  Don't count on anyone but YOU to feed your family!!  Once you have the "WHY I am doing this" should be motivated to do it! I'm not comfortable relying on others to have food for my children.  How will you feel, watching your family go without food, knowing you could have done something to prevent that NOW?!  

The "new" way to do food storage is to store what your family eats on a regular basis.  Foods that are normal for your family and foods that fit within your dietary restrictions.  You get to customize what goes into your food storage!  The foods you use everyday are the foods you'll store and rotate because you're using them regularly.  Think of what is in your fridge and freezer, that is part of your 3-month supply.  

Some people also like to store in a way of "what ifs?" and that is ok too.  That means you don't want to rely on having electricity to use your 3-month supply.  You think in what if  scenarios, what if this or that happens?  How would I use my 3-month supply without electricity to cook and cool it?  What if I had to bug out somewhere besides my home?  I do count my refrigerator as part of my supply, but I also have canned and dehydrated options to fill in for those fresh foods, just in case. 

Three months is an interesting time frame, if you think about it.  If there was a quarantine, and you were forced to be in your home the whole time, it would probably last 8-12 weeks.   If you have 3 months worth of food and supplies you will be ahead of the rest, and it will give you time to figure out what to do after the 3 months is up.  If there was a disaster and there was a long term effect on food supplies, the 3 months would be a kind of buffer between what you know to do and what you will have to figure out to do later.  

 Planning.  That really is the key to a successful storage plan.  You have to know what your family eats and how much to buy.  Otherwise you end up with a room of food you don't use, or no one will eat.  Oh, and you will need to know how to cook, at least a few basic meals.  Sorry, but that is how it goes. Prepackaged food from the grocery store only lasts so long, and is quite expensive to stock up on and count it as your storage.  Learn to make bread, muffins, pizza dough, crackers, granola get it.  Follow the guidelines below and you'll be on your way to food storage success! This is what works for me and it may not work for you.  But try it out and see if works for you! I started with just dinners, but you can make a master list of all the meals, breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and shop for them all the time.  Starting with just one mealtime is a little easier.

It's really all about buying extra whenever you find a good deal at the store.  Sometimes my grocery shopping looks kind of odd.  I'll have 10 packages of butter and 4 packs of toilet paper in my cart, and that's all I'll need that week.  Once I bought 20 bags of chocolate chips and the cashier asked what I was making.  I replied that the price was too good to not stock up for my food storage.  She was surprised and said what a good idea that was.  Don't let strange comments or looks bother you, maybe you'll influence someone to start storing too!

Once you have your dinners complete make a list of recipes and ingredients for breakfast and lunch.  Or, you can only do breakfast and dinner.  If there wasn't electricity, cooking would be done mostly with a sun oven for me.  I would do my baking in the morning and early afternoon.  No sun=no cooking in a sun oven so no dinners started at 5:00 p.m. I am  planning on having a big afternoon meal and then a snack type meal of breads or muffins for dinner.  I have breakfasts and dinners planned for my family but you can plan all three meals.  Not all reasons for having a 3-month supply will mean we don't have electricity.  Having 3 square meals a day planned would be routine and your family would have a sense of normalcy.  Decide what works for YOU, plan it, and commit to do it!! 

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