Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Emergency Preparedness/Storing up for Hard Times

Canning is a past time that is making a comeback and not to soon if you ask me.  I remember when I was little my grandmother and her sisters (sister in laws actually) would can every summer and this not only took care of the food store for each family for the year but it also served as Christmas and wedding shower gifts.  We knew that if someone in the family were getting married Aunt Clara would be bringing a box of canned goods and dish towels; for Christmas she gave us jam, very yummy jam. 

When beginning a food storage pantry many people's first question is "but what should I store and how much?"  Well, this is going to depend on your family size and what you eat.  In general though, there are some guidelines to follow.

How much food store to have...

When women canned they usually stored up a years worth of food.  I think that is a pretty fair amount for the most part although my husband and I were out of work for nearly two years.  So, you need to decide for yourself.  If financial analysts' recommend having at least 6 months income in the bank then I would say have no less than 6 months food storage.  Food is perishable, so more than two years may be useless, and you will want to rotate your food store.  Perhaps donate to a local food kitchen or your church pantry.

What to store...

The first thing about what to store is that it has to be based on what you eat.  Another thing to consider is what you could cook in an emergency and finally, store items that go together.  So all this being said following is my list.

Water (multiply 1 gallon per day times 3 days times # of family members)
Bottled juice
Organic Canned Corn
Both Dried and Canned beans
Home Canned fruit
Canned tuna, salmon, chicken and clams
Home canned cream soups
Home canned sweet potatoes and pumpkin
Home canned soups
Canned Organic Ravioli
Honey (Did you know that honey is rich in vitamins and non-perishable?)
Natural Peanut butter
Flour (Wheat is good but how do you plan to grind it if the electricity is out?)
Organic instant mac and cheese
Dried Gravies and Sauce mixes

When considering how much of this food to store up I consider how much I use in a month and take that number times 12.  So if I use 2 cans of corn per month that means 24 cans should be in my pantry.  I suddenly feel the need to go to Costco and buy more corn.

Many people understand the need to store food up for hard times like job loss and disaster but they don't really know what to store.  Below are some helpful links for deciding what to store up in your pantry.  There are two general rules of thumb to follow.

1.  Store what you eat.  It won't do you any good to have a stock pile of Spam if you don't eat pork.

2.  Store foods that are easy to cook with in an emergency situation.  For example, you may want to have some store of dried foods but what if there were a water need canned goods too.

"Top foods you should store in an emergency"

Emergency Dude on "Emergency food."


If you are trying to build up your food storage on a small budget, you may consider taking up home canning or devoting just $5 out of each paycheck to storage items.  You will be surprised at how fast your storage fills up.

How I became Considering frugal

Fueled by the growing list of pollution related allergies my family suffered from each day, and inspired by my 97 year old grandmother who could recycle ANYTHING before recycling was cool, back in 2011, I decided (in the spirit of the Julie/Julia Project...) to embark on a journey to see just how much one family could do to change our planet. I didn't consult any other parties before I launched this idea. Thankfully my husband, daughter and son are usually my biggest supporters. Here is the catch; as I'm normally very thrifty (you can note from early blog posts), I was looking for ways that I could reduce our carbon footprint and make socially responsible purchases without increasing our spending. Mmmmmm. We succeed in changing some of our habits a bit and finding ways to reduce our footprint. There were lots of fun epic fails alone the way too! But the biggest change we have made over the course of the last six years, was to move from the mega city of Phoenix to Wyoming. You can read my full bio on my About Me page.

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frugal advice

"...for your Father knows what you need before you ask." Matthew 6:8