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!

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