I am sitting here with store flyers and my food inventory trying to determine exactly where to put my long term storage food dollars. After cleaning the cellar and rearranging my stored food it is clear I need to shop today. We have gone through an amazing amount of food. If I am having this much trouble with many years of experience under my belt, I can imagine how someone new to the idea feels. Overwhelmed I’ll bet. I started gradually, as the fragility of our systems, economic, environment, biological and food based became more and more clear to me but many today are feeling as though they don’t have time to go slowly and I tend to agree.
I like the idea of having a meal plan for a few weeks worth of food that can be prepared with the fuel source you will have available to you. After that, you can look longer term. I would start with grains. They are cheap, easy to store, easy to prepare and familiar. You will need a grain grinder if you store wheat and you can’t go from a diet where you never use it to whole wheat several times a day without serious digestive issues so begin eating it now. Otherwise, just store flour. It is far less nutritious and more expensive but there is no point in buying 500 pounds of wheat that you can’t prepare. Rice and oats are good first choices. Corn will need to be ground into meal too.
Sugar and salt are basics and you will need more than you think. The same with vinegar and oils. make sure to rotate the oils. I store several cans of shortening although I can’t remember the last time I used it. That is one of those non foods that will do in an emergency but otherwise, YUK! Soon I will have real lard. It’s still pure fat but at least it’s real food.
Fruits and vegetables are next. I love the dried stuff. I can a lot and I also freeze a lot. I store a ton of extra canning jars and if the power went out, I would fire up the cooker and can around the clock to reuse what I could. The quality would be impacted and I would only do this in a true emergency. If you have no other option look for the best sales you can find and stock up on canned supplies. Canned tomato sauce is a versatile food. If you don’t can it then by all means buy a lot when it goes on sale. I can get a national brand right now for $.99 a jar and I have bunch of $.20 cent off coupons. I am going to get a couple of cases. If I don’t eat it. it makes a good charity item for food pantry collections. Powdered milk and instant potatoes have a place in food storage. I like the good quality milk in the #10 cans.
You probably have a lot of baking supplies in your pantry. Make a list of the ones you use most often and stok up today. They are fairly cheap and have a long shelf life. Baking powder, baking soda, spices and flavorings are good places to start.
This is a jumping off place for beginners. I wrote this post in part for my daughters who are just getting serious about preparedness. I know most of you are further than this but it doesn’t hurt to have a post you can send on to others who are not yet on the path. Maybe you will encourage someone to take action today that will serve them well down the road.