I got a couple of interesting emails over the weekend from people who had some concerns about their preps. One woman wrote that she had been snowed in for a couple of days. She found herself with a closet full of food and nothing to eat. Her husband, who has never been much on board, used this to point out how silly it is to stock up as it’s impossible to manage without access to a supermarket anyway. What he meant was that, without bread, the tuna is useless. Without milk or butter or cheese, many foods just don’t taste good.
This got me to thinking about staples. I can tell you what I do although my way is absolutely not the only way.
I store three cases of long-term storage milk. With a good quality powdered milk, I can make cheese, yogurt and, of course, have milk for drinking. I also store some chocolate milk powder as I consider some chocolate a staple.
I store some commercial canned butter but, as it is really expensive, I started canning my own. It’s easy to do. Now I’m not claiming that the texture is perfect but it’s not too bad. I plan to can some ghee to.
Bread can be a problem if you don’t routinely make it or if your power is out. But nothing is more flexible than bread. If it’s 11:00 and you need bread for lunch, try some flat bread. You don’t need yeast or an oven or much time. You can make biscuits or cornbread or dumplings or any number of other bread things that will do.
I like to make cheese but it’s not something that everybody wants to tackle. Hard cheese can be stored for a long time if dipped in cheese wax. You can also purchase canned cheese but, again, price is a problem for me. I can my own cheddar cheese and find it works really well. I use my canned cheese in omelets, sauces, in fact any place I would use block cheese. I have some dried cheese powder. Let’s just say I would have to be mighty hungry before I would ruin my delicious broccoli with it.
Eggs are no problem if you have chickens (do you store chicken feed?). But a lot pf people don’t know that eggs store at room temperature for many weeks. I would not store commercial eggs for as long.
Wheat is one of those things that lots of people store but they aren’t as useful if you don’t have a grain grinder. I store a lot of wheat. I grind about 12 cups at a time and store it in the freezer. That way I always have whole wheat flour without having to worry about grinding it at the last minute. I also store a lot of white flour.
Don’t forget sugar, salt, syrup, and some goodies like pudding mix. It’s easy to make the mixes and store in mason jars with an oxygen absorber packet. Of course, you should always check out local sources for staples if at all possible.
Thinking about meals rather than food really helps. So if supper is going to be spaghetti you need the pasta, some sauce, cheese and some kind of crunch. Carrots will do. If you want chicken and dumplings, you need canned chicken, a gravy, carrots and peas and the fixings for the dumplings. Macaroni and cheese, tuna casserole, omelets, chili, quesadillas, all can be made from storage food. Try them out with what you have on hand before the power is out.
I got a good deal on hamburger on Friday so I got 6 pounds and canned it up on Friday night. I started at 3:00 and planned to be done by 7:00. It was closer to 8:30. I forgot to add the time for letting the canner get to pressure and then to let it drop. Nothing is ever as easy as you think. I have a good canner but I sure do wish I had gotten the bigger one.
I’m listening to the coverage on Egypt. There are real problems with food delivery over there. Oil prices are up here. Things are getting ugly. If ever a reason to be prepared was needed, this kind of thing certainly provides it.