Some of you think I know everything about food storage. Maybe I know more than some of you, but I definitely don’t know everything. I’m really good at gathering, but I have a B- in cooking skills. I will give myself an A+ for effort though. Over the years that I’ve been gathering food storage I’ve made some big mistakes, and I want to share them with you so you don’t make the same mistakes.
10 Mistakes I’ve Made With Food Storage
- Storing someone else’s idea of what I should store in our food storage. Big mistake! We don’t eat what someone else does. I tried that and ended up with so much ketchup that I’ve been tossing it in the trash. Even though I share a list of ideas of what I store, your kids may not like it. I’ve also looked at the big lists food storage companies figure out for you for a year’s supply, but that isn’t exactly how we live each day. So, store what YOU eat, not what I eat or someone else eats.
- Believing I could create a vegetable garden like the farmer down the street. Hello! What was I thinking? I’m a mini gardener. For that matter, a micro-mini gardener. Reality has set in. My garden will always be small. Though I do want to try growing some indoor tomato plants.
- Believing I will someday be an amazing canner like my Relief Society president. Her skills are amazing, but they took her years to perfect. I do better at shopping for food rather than canning it. I think my skills are fantastic just in another way. And I think it is acceptable to the Lord.
- Storing food my family will not eat, and I won’t ever eat. Yes, those cans of carrots and pork and beans just sit and sit on the shelf. I thought the yams would be a good idea too, but no, no, no.
- Spending money on “instant” food storage that my family doesn’t eat. Now I know some my readers sell “instant” food storage and some of you eat it. And if it works for you, great. It just isn’t the way I cook every day. I try to store what we normally eat so our bodies are accustomed to it. I don’t want to force my family to eat food they don’t want to in an emergency either. I’m a softie.
- Storing food in the garage where the heat ruins its shelf life. Okay. I actually haven’t done this, because I learned early on that the garage has fluctuating temperatures that foods do not like. Read this post about what happens to wheat when it’s improperly stored. So, I store every food item inside my house in cool, dark, dry places.
- Not taking regular food storage inventories and then buying something I already have. This is one thing I still have a hard time with. I try to check my supplies before I shop. But if someone else puts the case of peanut butter away in a different location, I can’t be blamed for buying another case of peanut butter. 🙂 Inventory taking is important. We do it with our refrigerated food, and we need to do it with our shelf-stable food.
- Storing wheat in buckets I can’t lift. I know some of you like those big buckets, but I’m not a fan. I’m very impatient when I want to get to food in our storage room. If I can’t lift it, I don’t buy it. I do have a few buckets for storing bags of brown sugar or sugar. I just put a Gamma lid on the bucket for easy access and keep those buckets on a lower shelf.
- Putting oxygen absorber packets in #10 cans of sugar. Huge mistake we made years ago. It made the granulated sugar turn into a rock! I don’t know if that always happens, but it did in our case.
- Buying too much of one item; then discovering it has gone past its shelf life because we can’t eat it fast enough. I made this mistake several times. I did it with peanut butter. I did it with oil. I did it was canned carrots and ketchup and salad dressing. It is so much better to buy a little bit here and a little bit there rather than a bunch of food all at once. This helps vary the shelf lives. Patience and self-control are important qualities.
There is hope and wisdom in this statement from the First Presidency (leaders) of my church. It keeps me balanced. I underlined a few phrases for emphasis:
- “Our Heavenly Father created this beautiful earth, with all its abundance, for our benefit and use. His purpose is to provide for our needs as we walk in faith and obedience. He has lovingly commanded us to ‘prepare every needful thing’ (see D&C 109:8) so that, should adversity come, we may care for ourselves and our neighbors and support bishops as they care for others. We encourage members worldwide to prepare for adversity in life by having a basic supply of food and water and some money in savings. We ask that you be wise as you store food and water and build your savings. Do not go to extremes; it is not prudent, for example, to go into debt to establish your food storage all at once. With careful planning, you can, over time, establish a home storage supply and a financial reserve.” All Is Safely Gathered In
This doesn’t mean I have to be perfect. But I should be prepared and be wise. I hope these ideas help some of you. Don’t beat yourself up for your mistakes. Just keep on keeping on!