Figuring out how much you want to put in your food storage can be overwhelming. Most suggestions on the internet focus on long-term foods. However, if you are following the current home storage program taught by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, you will want to start with a 3-month supply of every day foods.
Don’t Panic. Food prices have always gone up. Disasters happen every day. Don’t panic and run to the store buying cases and cases of food you don’t know how to manage. Don’t run faster than you are able to afford. Pick a budget like $20 to $30 dollars a month per person, and have some self-control. Over the years I’ve been patiently gathering which has taken a ton of faith. But it is worth it.
“I don’t eat canned food.” Some people truly can’t eat canned foods. I can’t help you too much. But I bet you have some recipes your family would use if your husband ever lost his job or an earthquake hit your town. I prefer my homemade spaghetti sauce over Ragu any day. So I stock up on canned tomatoes for that recipe. Someday we may not be able to afford fresh spinach from Costco. And most families only have a 1 week supply of fresh foods in their home. So be realistic and create a plan with items that can be stored.
I always suggest starting with a 3-month supply of food your family eats right now. Most people panic when they hear a year’s supply of food. Even a 3-month supply won’t be easy for some of you to gather, but it’s a place to start. It’s STEP 1 of the LDS Home Storage Plan.
Some people like to create menus first, and figure out the gazillion ingredients for those menus. I’ve done that, but it’s not very easy. Others suggest you create simple meals like spaghetti sauce + spaghetti = a meal. Personally, I think you you know how you cook and can plan a few menus.
There are two types of shelf stable foods:
- Short-term foods – these foods on average have a 3 month to 10 year shelf life. For example, boxed breakfast cereal has about a 1 year shelf life. But a can of corn has a 2 -5 year shelf life.
- Long-term foods – these foods have a 20 – 30 year shelf life because they sometimes have been carefully sealed with an oxygen absorber packet. But not always. These foods are usually dry and without oils.
- Print out a Sample 3-month Supply of Food Storage Supply.pdf for 1 adult. Remember, I have no idea how much your family eats. But the list of items will get you thinking.
- Go through the list, and put a check by items you eat now or might consider using. Cross off those items your family does not like or can’t eat because of allergies or medical conditions. But be open minded to other foods.
- Some long-term foods are listed like wheat or dry milk. If you don’t want to gather a small supply of them right now, you can save them on the list and gather them after you complete Step 1, Step 2 and Step 3 of your home storage plan. Long-term foods are Step 4 in the plan.
B. Decide How Much You Want To Store
- Look over the suggested amounts and multiply them by the number of family members. You can divide numbers in half for children, but you don’t have to.
- Don’t get too detailed. I promise later on you will add or delete items and change amounts. Storing yams did not work for our family. Canned carrots is not working either. So just put together a rough draft.
C. Food Storage Hunt
- Go on a hunt through your home and find shelf-stable foods you already have on your shelves: foods that have been sealed so they can be safely stored on a shelf for awhile. These foods are canned, boxed or packaged. Take your kids with you and make it fun.
- As you search, write down on another piece of paper other items you have on your shelves that are not on the list. Use my categories to keep it organized.
- List the number of items you have and the detail. For instance: corn, 15 oz. can, 2 ea.
- Type up your list and there you have it. Your own rough draft 3-month food storage supply plan.
I promise that as you spend time working on this, you will feel better. It’s all a part of the journey.