If you already have a food storage supply at home, are you at odds on how to use it? Don’t worry, we’ve consulted food storage expert and blogger Valerie Albrechtsen for her tips on how to ‘use what you eat, and eat what you store.’
Most people think food storage is only a bunch of cans buried in their basement; but food storage can be so much more—you can actually have food that you enjoy and even look forward to eating.
A few words of advice on how to use your food storage supply on a regular basis:
1. Don’t try to do food storage like your grandmother or neighbor. You may never master the art of canning a peach like them. It’s OK to buy peaches at the grocery store.
2. Don’t store what someone else thinks you should store. Hang a sheet of paper on your refrigerator and every time you use a can, box, or package of shelf-stable food, write it down. See, your family does use food storage! If you have a serious wheat allergy, store what you can eat.
3. Create a rough draft food storage plan from that refrigerator list. Divide it into categories like vegetables, fruits, meat, and so on. Then start gathering. Modify, tweak, and change amounts on your draft over time.
4. Keep a well-stocked pantry of baking supplies you typically use. These foods are cost effective and have a longer shelf life. If you like to bake bread, grind wheat and store it in your freezer to retain nutrients and for easy access.
5. Don’t be a Mother Hubbard and leave your cupboard bare. Leave a few boxes or cans on the shelf, and buy three instead of one next time you shop. If you don’t have enough to help yourself, how can you help others?
6. Study your favorite grocery store ad each week. Create a price book, a list of items with sale prices. Only stock up when items go on sale.
7. Take a shopping list when you shop, and spend 30 minutes or less in the store. Each additional minute will cost you 50 cents to $1 more. Use the money you save for food storage.
8. Create a weekly menu plan by shopping from your home store. When you don’t plan, money is wasted, which defeats the goal of self-reliance. Make a monthly menu plan, incorporating food storage items in your menus. You will see yams aren’t a favorite, but your family does eat lots of peanut butter. For an example, see what my one of my food storage menus looks like here.
9. If you are still confused, start with breakfast. Come up with three meals to rotate during a week, like oatmeal, pancakes, and breakfast cereal. During a disaster, you’ll be happy with a fistful of cold cereal.
10. Start small and don’t rush. Every step forward is a step forward. New habits take time to gel, and one day you will open your cupboard and say, “Wow! We’ve got food storage!”