For years my wife and I have been planning to acquire some food storage. We have a 72 hour kit and probably enough food in the house for a week, maybe a little bit longer, but any longer and we would be eating the dandelions in the front yard. And I am not a big fan of dandelion salads.
When we were first married we obtained a list from a friend that was supposed to be a guide map to putting together our food storage. We are shooting for a year’s supply of food and this little plan told us exactly how to do that. The coolest thing to us, being newlyweds and poor, was that it could be done on $5 a week.
After a few weeks we had several pounds of honey, about thirty cans of tomato soup, twenty pounds of sugar, and a bunch of uncooked pasta. There were a few other little things too but this was the bulk of it.
We paused one evening as we surveyed our budding supply of food and I asked Cami, “do you like tomato soup?” “Nope. Do you?” “No, I don’t” I said.
Then we started laughing. Here we had a couple dozen cans of tomato soup and neither of us even liked it. We reviewed the list and saw that in the coming week we were to purchase 50 pounds of wheat. Wheat? What do you do with wheat? Where do you even buy it? We couldn’t recall ever seeing it as Walmart.
It was then that we stopped putting together our food storage. Of all things we were foiled by wheat.
Shortly thereafter I realized that I had three problems with the way everyone else seemed to be telling me how to put together a long term supply of food.
- Money. I don’t want to spend a gazillion dollars on food I may never eat.
- Too complex It shouldn’t be so complicated. I don’t know what kinds of wheat are out there, where to buy good wheat, or what to do with it.
- Can I eat it. Again, what do I do with wheat? Or why buy tomato soup? How do I make food with ingredients I don’t normally use and what do I make?
Putting together a long term supply of food is pretty simple. Just buy a bunch of Twinkies, they last forever. But the problem that I keep running into is what to do with it. The lists that I get from friends and find online are designed for other people and other families, not for mine. And I don’t have the time to spend on figuring out what foods to store and which foods we eat and how to cook things we’ll eat with the food we store. It’s too complicated.
This is why I recommend that you start small. First, prepare to survive today. Put together your 72 hour kit and several additional days of food and water. It can be almost anything really. Any food is better than no food. However, high energy foods are especially good in an emergency because we often are required to burn a lot of energy to stay alive.
After you have your week’s supply put together start working on a month. Look at the menus you have put together for your family for the last few weeks and their accompanying shopping lists. Identify which foods you eat regularly (in the Cooper family it is spaghetti) and buy enough to make that meal six or eight times. You know everyone will eat it and usually those are the simple and cheap meals as well.
With three or four of those meals picked out go to the store and buy what you need to make each meal seven or eight times. Bring that food home then use it when you would have made the meal anyway. When you use something put it on the list to purchase more. This is a natural way to rotate your stored food.
Putting together a short term food supply is literally that easy. For a few dollars and the time it takes to go on one shopping trip you have a month’s supply of food and a built in rotation system. Not too shabby.
Building a longer term supply does get a little bit more complicated but let’s not worry about that until your one month supply is put together.
As always, please ask me your questions by leaving a comment, finding me on Facebook, or sending me a tweet. I want to help.