Rainy Day Food Insurance

In my last blog, In Case of Emergency, I covered items to consider for emergency preparedness. Included, was a recommendation of a minimum of 3 days (preferably 3 months to a year) of food provisions.

Food storage is right up my ally. I love having a well-stocked pantry. If I’m in a pinch for dinner, I can always find something to throw together. I keep tins of tuna, chicken, salmon and tomatoes, broth, olive oil, artichoke hearts, olives, honey, rice and pasta. Even if I haven’t planned ahead in a few minutes, I can make pretty much anything: pancakes, casseroles, and spaghetti.

Think of food storage as insurance. Food insurance (a well-stocked pantry) can keep you alive or take you through a crisis. If no crisis comes, you’ll still have peace of mind. It is also a hedge against inflation. If you store smart, you’ll purchase when things are on sale and rotate through them. You’ll save money and trips to the grocers.

Zach is well prepared for a rainy day, are you?

Having three days supply of food is really a no-brainer. Most have that much food after a trip to the grocers. (Three days of water for your family’s needs might take some forethought.) Some make one weekly grocery stop. That takes a little more planning. Three weeks supply of food get s a little trickier.

When purchasing food for more than a week, it’s important to rotate stored items. Place newly purchased items at the back, rotating food to the front of your cupboard. Most can find room for a one-month supply of food, especially if you are NOT storing packaged junk foods, which take up a lot of room.

Even in small quarters, a little imagination will enable you to find places to store food. Every kitchen has cupboards and most a pantry. First, organize the cupboard space you presently have. If space is tight, move paper products to another location. Think through the items that you must store in the kitchen. Perhaps some of it can be placed elsewhere.

I normally recommend fresh fruit and vegetables, as the vitamin content is the highest. When thinking storage, of course, fresh food has the shortest shelf-life. The trick is to store food you normally eat. That way there will be no waste. A freezer is a must for me.

Although I don’t usually eat canned vegetables, in a pinch canned are better than nothing. Toss drained canned green beans, black and wax beans with red wine vinegar and olive oil; add a little chopped onion and you have a yummy instant salad. I hang garlic cloves in the basement. They keep for months. Onions and apples will keep for a time as well. Just don’t store them together as they will spoil more quickly.

Those who store food for months or even a year don’t store much processed food. Beans, rice, and grains keep for long periods of time. You’ll want to store them in bug-proof containers. Cooking from stored grains and beans takes a bit longer. Beans need to soak before cooking. Wheat needs to be ground. But the flavor and vitamin content is at it’s highest when cooking with whole grains and beans, versus canned food and ready-to-use flour.

Challenge yourself to think beyond your normal week’s grocery shopping.
The next rainy day, you’ll be glad you did!

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