Friday, September 30, 2011

Better Living Through Home Food Storage Supplies

I've spent a lot of time thinking about long term food storage, and the advice to store what we eat. It's easy enough to store a 3-month rotating food supply and have it be what I eat. Easy except for the money required, so here's a tip I got from a friend some time ago. (There will be more tips as time goes on!) Tithe your food budget for food storage. In other words, spend 10% of your food budget for extras to store. I have no idea what your budget is, or how large your family is, but 10% of whatever is required each week or month or however you shop.

It might be that some weeks, you spend that on sales at the store, for the 3-month rotating supply. I would suggest that until you have the three months to feed your family. Afterward, it's easy enough to take something from the front of the shelf and replace it at the back. (I'll do a post soon on exactly what a rotating supply is, for those who aren't quite sure how it works.)

After that, I'd suggest taking that money and spending it on either #10 cans from the Home Food Storage Center at the Bishop's Storehouse, or spending it with a company like Thrive/Shelf Reliance. You don't have to do a lot of money each time. When I started working at the Storehouse once a week, I took home a case of mixed cans each week. Mostly, I bought whatever was available on the shelf, but sometimes I stayed and helped can specific things I wanted. The whole system runs on volunteer labor, and those buying are usually the labor for the day. The cases mounted pretty fast.

Eventually, I realized I was limited in what I was storing. It was basics, but there would be other things I wanted. That's when I started looking around for other companies, knowing it would cost more. There are several companies which manufacture foods for survival. I decided to go with Shelf Reliance/Thrive because of the variety, the quality, the size of the cans and cases. The first thing I bought was a case of cornmeal. Their service was fast, and it was costlier than the storehouse, but I'm slowly diversifying with foods I can store for 10 or more years.

Then I realized that not only should I store what I eat, but I should be eating the things that I store. Otherwise, in an emergency, when I'm already stressed to the max, I'll be trying to figure out how to cook my stored foods, and my body will be trying to adjust to a new diet. Probably not the best plan.

Now, when I buy a #10 can from Thrive, I also buy the pantry-sized can for the eat-it-now grocery shelf. I love their freeze dried meats and TVP. The taco TVP is actually tastier than the bland stuff I had at the Mexican restaurant last week! Thrive has parties, and when you host one, you choose whether it's a mix-and-mingle kind of thing where people can taste the foods, while socializing, or a cooking class, or perhaps a class on food storage. You get a percentage off your purchases, and friends have the opportunity to try the foods. I'm having one at the end of October, as a cooking class, and I look forward to acquiring more recipes!

My hope is never to have to depend on my food storage. If I ever do have to, I want it to be tasty and delicious!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

East Tennessee Emergency Preparedness Fair

I went to the Emergency Preparedness Fair today. Even without considering classes which were offered, it was a good experience. There were "booths" there - everything from Child Find to home food storage, water purification, emergency kits, disaster planning - you name it, and it was there if it had to do with being prepared. Of course, everyone knows you can't be completely prepared, but there is an amazing amount of preparation you can do.

Outside, there were fire department, ambulances, police bomb squad, the command center purchased for the 16 surrounding counties (by Homeland Security - one thing I can applaud that they've done), a Sheriff's Dept. helicopter, and any number of Disaster Relief vehicles from the Baptist Church.

There was also an area set aside for an emergency shelter display. They had brought a 10-person shelter on a trailer and it had a cutaway so I could see inside it. Now, we aren't talking about a place to stay for months after a nuclear bomb. It's a temporary shelter from things like tornadoes and other kinds of disasters that might involve a few hours' stay. This particular one is fiberglass and was quite impressive.

I don't know that I'd want to spend more than a few hours, and I'd definitely want to toss down some pillows for comfort, and have a stash of books on my kindle, and maybe a porta potty and some snacks. However, the price is much less than any other kind of shelter, it meets and exceeds all FEMA standards, and it's very sturdy.

My son pointed out that buying the 20-person one would enable one to be a bit more comfortable, and he is right about that. More expensive, of course. The 4-man version is $3900. So it's down the list a way, but I remember typhoons (a hurricane, only in a different part of the world) in Okinawa and having to spend 2-3 days locked inside our house with wooden shutters over the windows, and hoping that the winds didn't cause too much destruction. Not a hope always fulfilled.

One good thing about attending the fair, other than all the information available in one spot, was the table with recipes on using wheat. Not flour, not cracked wheat, but the actual wheat that I buy in cans for storage. I don't have a flour mill, though it's on the list. (You'll see that a lot on here!) This gentleman, Dennis Taylor, had all kinds of recipes for using the wheat just as it is, right from the can. He's given me permission to share the recipes, so there's going to be a new tab shortly with some of them. He had samples of each one, and were they ever good! So, a new option opens up!

Until next time,


Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Purpose

Greetings! If you've found your way here, you are probably interested in home food storage for the long haul, or in using your home food storage in actual meals, so you can rotate your stock and keep it fresh. For a can of rice from the Bishop's Storehouse, Home Storage Center. with a shelf life of 30 years, if kept at 75 F or less, this might not be a huge issue. But who wants to live only on rice?

Right up front, you need to know I'm LDS, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Mormon, in the vernacular, and no we don't worship the golden statues on top of some of our temples, and we don't worship seagulls, either, in spite of their being most helpful birds. (Did you see my smile there?) This isn't a religious or conversion site, but a lot of my information comes from church sources, so just be aware of that.

In this time of natural disasters and economic calamities, it is more important than ever to keep a supply of food stored. I know quite a few families living off their food storage while one or both parents tries to find a job. I know a few more who wish they had that storage, but they didn't listen to a prophet's voice.

For as long as I've been a member of the LDS church, we've been advised to have a supply of food stored. In the 1960s, it was two years, now it's one, but have some, even if it's a week or a month or three months. In fact, start small. Start with food for a 72-hour emergency. In the first three days of calamity, not having to worry about food for you and your family could mean the difference between coping and not. Then build a week, then a month, then three months, and keep building.

We are told it is not only for ourselves, but for our neighbors. I've heard friends say, "Yeah, and someone finds out you have it and comes after it with a gun." It's always possible. And I have a gun, too. Nevertheless, the prophet has said the Lord advises us to store for ourselves and our neighbors, and I believe that if I do what the Lord advises, I will be alright.

In the coming days, I'm going to share the things I've learned the hard way, and some easy ways that have been shared with me. There's no need to think, "Oh, my gosh, a whole year's supply???" We will start small and build. There's time to do that still.

On the sidebar, there are links, in alphabetical order, to some of my favorite sites - coupon hints and links, recipes, and other food storage information. I hope you'll bookmark this site, become a follower, and begin to store food against emergency times. It can never hurt to have it, but if you need it and don't have it, it could spell disaster.