Monday, September 22, 2008

Countdown: Day 16

Yesterday I stood in front of my congregation and in the context of a sermon suggested that folks cut back on excess expenditures and that they build home food stores. Yes I said it gently and it didn't hammer it, but I said it in an historic register, main street, main line church. In Utah, people tend to define themselves as not LDS (unless of course they are), and so this suggestion is a button pusher as food storage is seen as a Mormon thing (apologies for any offense to my LDS readers). I say this to emphasize that I'm taking a chance, I am risking censure and putting my neck on the line to encourage people to get their stuff together. I am taking a risk in being called a fool if all is OK and well in the world. But if things get really bad, I want to feel as if I have influenced as many people as I can reach to take care of their families. At the end of the day, everyone has to make their own choices.

The subject today is Food Storage. I think most of the readers here are familiar with food storage either through from Sharon Astyk's Challenge and Book or the Yahoo Groups on Adapting in Place and food storage. She has been encouraging level headed, balanced food storage. This includes buying what you eat and eating what you buy and buying extra each time you shop. For my 21 day challenge I am saying, step. it. up.

If you have not already done so, organize your pantry. I know people organize things differently but I put like things together. It helps me know at a glance what I have and what I have and what I need. Put the heaviest stuff down low and in waterproof containers, and label and DATE things. Around here is stays on the kitchen table until it gets a label. Right now I'm running out of space on the table and we're eating standing around.

I have used the following guides to help me gauge what I need for my family size. I favor this guide because it covers just the basics whereas others get complicated Again only put up what you will eat! I don't cook with soy beans or corn syrup and so I haven't stocked these items other than a bottle of corn syrup that has sat around for years from a pecan pie recipe and some edamine in the freezer. When I went to costco and picked up things to fill in the gaps I used this guide.

Cut and paste:

If you have not been building food stores and need to start with carbs and wholesome grains. I would suggest beans and rice and the means to cook them (I assume you have spices, yes?) From there flour, corn meal, some dried or canned milk, yeast and salt, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and cooking oil. Add other items you will eat such as cooked cereal and oats. Then add peanut butter, honey, jam, pasta, soup mix, canned fruit and vegies, and canned meat. Pick up powdered drink mix with electrolytes. Then add comfort foods. I have trouble stocking comfort foods as the family gets into them. After my next shopping, I may hide the comfort foods.

Please note: I by far favor a long thought out stocking up of things you will actually use and beginning to adjusting your diet to eating closer to whole foods. We eat beans and home ground grains and fruit from the tree every week, but if you eat a lot of fast food, you have to develop the ability to digest this stuff so start slowly. If you start all at once, you will feel ill. Food storage must be rotated and maintained.

What do plan on cooking in an emergency? OK, make it for dinner this week and see how well you digest it. Don't like it? Don't store it.

Last night Mrs. neighbor asked me if I wanted to go in on a half or whole beef that a friend is slaughtering and selling. I can't afford an entire half (and in the past haven't used a half beef in a year) and I don't have the freezer space so we are going to share a side of beef and they are going elk hunting anyway. They brought over all their year old meat (venison, beef, pork) for us to help them finish before the new comes in.

Fall is when animals are harvested so farmers don't have to winter feed them. This is the best time of year to put up meat.

Also, this is not a big wheat growing area, but someone local is advertising 50 lb. bags of winter, soft or red wheat for about $25, I think. If you have been wanting to buy wheat, look in your classified ads by the livestock and misc or take a drive in the country looking at the signs at the ends of the drives. I make a point to buy directly from the farmer whenever I can - everyone but the middle man does better this way.

Do you have additional suggestions? Did I miss something?
How good to you feel about your food stocks? What are your storing?

I'm off to preserve the harvest!


Tara said...

Like LisaZ, we have a fabulous little discount/unclaimed freight store here that I'm making a trip to today. Canned/dry foods, hygiene items and household goods for dirt cheap. This will be a very large trip.

This could be a comment for adapting in place, but I had a little "learning about the place where you live" moment today. Even though I've been here for 20+ years, I realized just today why there are so few vegetarians here. With our climate, topography, soil, etc. it's WAY easier to grow animals here than vegetables and fruits. Gardening here is tricky business, but livestock is just about dead easy. I say, taking your dietary restrictions and preferences into account, take full advantage of whatever it is that does really well in your area (assuming it's something you like to eat, of course).

Chile said...

I just noticed today that my food storage records aren't completely up to date, so that's on today's list. I'm heading out this afternoon to try to get more canning jars. Unfortunately, the price just went up everywhere and I can't find the smaller sizes in the thrift stores.

This is a great challenge. Thanks.

Hausfrau said...

Also stock some foods, maybe in a special or separate box in the pantry, that need little or no prep or cooking - like peanut butter & jam, and canned soup. These would be good to grab in case of evacuation or in case of a very BUSY crisis when you don't have time to cook.

bunnygirl said...

I recommend people get a dehydrator and learn to use it. Dehydrated fruits and veggies aren't just good emergency foods, they're good anytime. I actually prefer dehydrated spinach over fresh because the dry leaves crumble easily into recipes. No chopping needed!

You can easily rehydrate fruits and veggies with just a little hot water. You can do the same with jerky if you want to use it in a recipe, although it takes a little longer.

Dehydrated foods are light, take up very little pace, and store well. Get a vacuum sealer and they'll store almost indefinitely.

Even if one isn't concerned about emergencies and such, just making the switch from buying food to buying ingredients saves big bucks. Although food prices have been rising, my grocery bills have been falling as I've moved away from buying anything pre-prepared.

LisaZ said...

Verde, as someone who has studied for the ministry and spent a year as an intern pastor, I know full well how hard it can be to preach a sermon that's risky and out of the comfort zone. Good for you! I'd love to know how your listeners reacted, if they showed any reaction at all.

I did take a needed break yesterday, Sunday. I didn't expect you to take a break in posting, but I knew I wasn't going to do much yesterday. I felt I'd done enough for a few days on Thursday and Friday.

I also spent time with girlfriends on Saturday, which was lovely. They all think I'm nuts to worry about this stuff, so I could just pretend all day with them that things are fine. And try to get myself some of their positive spirit by osmosis! They are all very spiritual and that's what brings us together as friends. I really hope they're right and I'm not...


Hausfrau said...

I forgot to say - Props to you, Verde! That was very brave to stand up in front of your congregation and recommend stocking up their food storage! People need to hear from people they know and respect, like YOU :).

ilex said...

Wow, good for you, madam Verde.

I've been pickling my little fingers to the bone (eww?) for over a month now, but I need to pay more attention to calorie staples. I have a cupbord full of dried beans, and a gallon of olive oil, but not a lot of grains other than rice and quinoa. Dang, these posts of yours get a girl to thinking.

Gracie said...

I know how you feel. I posted to a group I've been a member of now for about six years. I told them all that I would not be a very good friend if I didn't tell them where I think we are right now in our economy and where we are heading. Most of them have money, not alot, but they are all for the most part in pretty good shape. So I'm not sure any of them will pay any attention, but at least I have said something to them. I hope they listen.

Gracie said...

I know how you feel. I posted to a group I've been a member of now for about six years. I told them all that I would not be a very good friend if I didn't tell them where I think we are right now in our economy and where we are heading. Most of them have money, not alot, but they are all for the most part in pretty good shape. So I'm not sure any of them will pay any attention, but at least I have said something to them. I hope they listen.

Throwback at Trapper Creek said...

I made a trip to town today to stock up on yeast, tapioca flour and some more dried beans to round out what we grow.

I think people are taking your advice to heart. Bob's Red Mill (nationwide whole grain supplier) was packed, with shoppers buying large quantities. Normally, the store is quiet on Monday's, with the only clamor being groups there for tours of the mill etc. Next I stopped at a local warehouse type discount grocery store, all the canning jars, except 8 oz were gone, and so were the matches. Their bulk bins for rice and grains were low also.

I don't believe I could coincidentally observe pantry building type items being gone in multiple businesses. I also stopped at a beer making supply house for citric acid for tomato canning, and the proprietor told me I bought her last bag.

I'm glad I went today, now to just put everything away and double check my list.

Thanks for the daily posting Verde!

Anonymous said...

This challenge seems to be so timely. A friend of mine who has been following the stock market closely, and making a good deal of money, thinks the economy will collapse before the election. I feel like I should warn everyone, like Gracie did, but I feel like a crazy person trying to explain it all.
I went to Sam's Club today. I haven't shopped there in almost 15 years, but I wanted to see what they had. I wrote it all down and came home and called a friend with a membership. She said she would take me soon. Sam's has Fleichmans yeast 2 pounds for $4.24! WOW!

I bought chicken feed, bunny food and winter garden transplants. Then 12 jars spaghetti sauce, rice, pickles, TP, pineapple, and more vinegar. A lady at the store asked if I ran a restraunt. I'm running out of room to store my food. Something has to go...or move to a new location. The toy closet will be my new pantry.

Cindy in FL

Anonymous said...

Verde - good for you! We ahve been talking to people about the economy and oil for a while. Most have thought we were nuts. I wonder what they think now. hmm.

We are really good on grains and beans (and a variety of each). My best friend is LDS, so I know about the food storage system! She taught me everything I know. We have over a year storage on grain, beans, and sugars. We have a few gallons of olive oil, a freezer full, and a lot on the shelves. I still need to put up apples, but otherwise are pretty good food wise.

Since we just moved, I need to figure out where various foods were placed and reorganize. I also need to recalculate some items.

I have been trying to make up mixes (fast convenience foods) into jars so that I have less measuring on chaotic days. As soon as I finish putting up some of the fall harvest, I will start in on mixes.

Cindy - great idea to use your toy closet as a pantry! I think I need to locate new places for our food storage as well!

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