Thanks to Don S and Alan B for our first two entries in our Food Storage Article Contest. I’ll likely post all entries each Sunday and Wednesday. Remember, if you’d like to participate, just drop a line to firstname.lastname@example.org. There’s over $500 in prizes up for grabs!
From Don S:
Food storage is part of survival. Our ancestors stored food for times when certain types of food were scarce such as winter when fresh vegetables were not available or in summer when wild game was reproducing. Now we just visit the store and buy what we fancy that day or maybe go to a restaurant. Our storage thoughts go no further than the next trip to the store or what might be on sale this week. We have become a dependent-on-others society rather that the “rugged individualist” we once were as a people.
Lately, catastrophes have been taking their collective tolls on our comfortable ways of life. Some people are waking up to the possibility that Kroger might not have what we need every day. What would we do if technology suddenly failed? No electricity to power our comfortable way of life would cramp most everyone’s style to say the least. What can we do to prepare for such an event? Two things come to my mind. Learn to identify edible wild foods in your local area. Not just the dandelions but the violets, lamb’s quarters, amaranth purslane and whatever else you have been calling weeds in your garden for years. These are foods you do not have to plant. Just locate and identify them and prepare them for the table. This is free food for the picking. The other thing that comes to mind is begin gardening with a vengeance. Not just planting some lettuce and beans but growing heirloom plants and saving the seeds and planting them the next season. These foods can be canned or dried and stored to sustain you when the cans of spam and tuna have long since run out. Get out from in front of the TV or Play station and begin learning what our grandparents always knew, how to find and produce food.
From Alan B:
It is possible my advice could be considered the ‘first rule of prepping’ or food storage. It has been repeated so many times by survivalists, homesteaders, and preppers of every school, mostly because it’s true: “Eat what you store, store what you eat.” It is so simple, but to this day many preppers I know still insist ‘at the end of the world, I’ll eat anything.’ While that may be true of the prepper herself, it might not be so true of her loved ones.
The LDS Preparedness Manual lists ‘variety’ (or lack of) the #1 mistake of food storage (p32) and ‘not using your storage’ as mistake #7 (p33). Having 500 pounds of wheat to turn into bread sounds like a great idea until you realize your cousin Charlie has a gluten allergy. Plus, it also indicates that ‘wheat is too harsh for young children’ as a main staple. If you don’t bake bread or use ground wheat in your daily cooking, why would you store it for an emergency? You won’t know how to cook it, sprout it, or otherwise use it to its maximum potential. You are better off having 50 #10 cans of Spaghettios than 10 buckets of wheat berries. The same with rice and beans. If you hate Chinese and Mexican food, do you think an emergency is going to change that? Store cans of soup and Spam instead if that is closer to your usual fare.
It doesn’t roll off the tongue as easily, but the rule should be changed to: Eat what you and your family store, and store what you and your family eat. Take into account the tastes of your entire family and any others who might stay with you during a crisis. Make sure that if 2 family members have a peanut allergy that peanut butter is not a staple you are counting on to carry them through. Include items in your storage that can be used to flavor food, such as spices (even just plain salt and pepper), bouillon cubes or tomato paste so you can avoid appetite fatigue.
If your family includes pets, make sure to include them in the rule as well. Some dry pet foods don’t store well due to the oils, but make every effort to have as much food on hand for your dog or cat as you do for the rest of your family. In a time of crisis, a happy furry friend will mean a great deal to everyone.
Finally, make sure to store comfort foods; gobstoppers, fireballs, and other hard candies store relatively well. Fruit punch or cocoa store less well, but should be rotated anyway like the rest of your storage.
Make the effort to incorporate your food storage into your daily life. If an emergency hits, at least your belly will hardly notice.