Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Food Storage Basics

I have always maintained a rotating food storage system for my family.  I store foods that we eat regularly, staple items, toiletries, paper products, water and even gifts and fabric. NO, I am not a hoarder, I am a careful manager of my resources. My food storage has come in handy on several occasions most notably when Dave was unemployed for 6 months and underemployed for another 13 months.  We survived on our food storage and our little garden patch. 

I don't need reminders of why food storage is important--I lived it--I do occasionally need reminders on proper storage, shelf life and recipes. Last Friday I attended a Food Storage Basics class.  It was a great refresher course outlining your first steps in purchasing, organizing and using your food storage.

Here are a few of the reminders that I needed:
  • Home storage of food should begin with basic items that will sustain life in an emergency, in case there was nothing else available to eat.  The following basic items might be considered with the approximate amount of each needed to sustain an average woman for one year as emergency storage.  More would be needed for a man and less for a child.  Grains such as wheat or rice (300lbs), Powdered milk (100 lbs), sugar or honey (100 lbs), beans or legumes (150 lbs), flour (100 lbs), cooking oil or shortening (2 gallons), salt (5 lbs), baking powder (1 lb).
  • Label, date & rotate.  Label-Keep products in labeled original containers when possible, and keep label tape on hand for other items.  You must know what is in containers for the safety of the family and your machinery. Date-Keep plenty of permanent markers around in the kitchen, storeroom, garage, etc., so you won't be tempted to put the products on the shelves without a date.  Rotate-this will be the most tempting to skip when we are putting our goods away.  We are always in a hurry and it will undoubtedly cost us money to throw new stuff on the front of the shelves.  FIRST IN FIRST OUT! Find ways to use all products that need to be stored for emergencies to keep them fresh and rotated.
  • Plan to eat the bargains you find!!! When something is on a very good sale buy more and put it into your food storage.  Even buying one thing extra per shopping trip will begin to add up.
  • You can last about 2-3 weeks without food but only about 3 days without water! You should have a minimum of 1 2-liter bottle of water per person per day.  This is for consumption.  You will need more for washing and flushing toilets and taking care of other sanitation. Store water in empty 2 liter soda bottles under beds.  Wash out the soda bottle with a little soap and hot water.  Fill the bottle with fresh water.  Add 4 drops of regular, unscented, liquid household bleach to the water in the bottle if your water supply isn't already chlorinated.  Put the lid on tight and store.  You should plan on rotating your water storage one to two times per year.
  • A few helpful food storage websites: www.everydayfoodstorage.net, everythingunderthesunblog.blogspot.com

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