An Easy Guide to How Much Food Storage I Need
When I first got started my biggest challenge was figuring what to buy for food storage. I didn’t know how much food storage I needed or what to buy. Online I saw lots of stuff like freeze-dried eggs and butter, but I really wasn’t interested in ACTUALLY eating that stuff. I love fresh foods and didn’t want to consign myself to a life of preservative-packed food just so I could keep my food storage rotated.
After several years of trial and error (and worrying!), I finally came up with a system that works for me. It is simple and doesn’t involve you having to learn any new skills. It has finally made this easy and doable for me. I hope it helps you too.
Later I found out that it is very similar to the Dewitt Method that also helps you figure out what to buy for food storage. I haven’t watched her DVD yet, but plan on it because people just rave about her.
The benefits of my system include:
- You only buy foods that you already use all the time. You don’t end up with weird foods you end up tossing or having to figure out how to incorporate dehydrated foods into your daily recipes.
- I was able to keep food preservatives in our daily diet to a minimum—or at least as low as you can get when doing food storage. I was surprised to find that most of the stuff I store is the only prepackaged food we have on hand.
- I know exactly what I can make with my food storage if something does happen. When using those online food calculators or the food storage kits I never had any idea what I could actually make with all that stuff.
- No more worrying about what to make for dinner! I always have 7 meals hanging around that I can whip up if I need to. And it makes it super easy to keep the food rotated.
- I have been able to reduce last minute runs to the grocery store. Since I have three months worth of some of my most commonly used foods in the pantry, I only have to make unplanned runs to the store for perishables. Less trips to the store means less impulse buys, which means I save money!
Many experts recommend building a three-month supply of the pantry foods you use most and then a year supply of items that have a very long shelf life, like honey, wheat and sugar. It makes a lot of sense to me because it can be really, really hard to keep that many pantry items rotated. However, this system would also work well if storing more than three months of food.
I found it was easiest to tackle one month at a time so that I could make sure I had everything I needed for that month. Later I just multiplied it by three!
Figuring Out How Much Food Storage I Need
Step One: Plan seven dinners that your family likes that you can make with only items in your pantry. I tried to focus on items that I already use in lots of other recipes. This was hard and I had to do a little tweaking, but it wasn’t impossible. Here are the food storage recipes I came up with. Depending on your family tastes you might come up with some different recipes. If you do, I would LOVE to hear your recommendations!
Step Two: Decide what items you will need to make those recipes. Times it by four and you have a month of dinners! It means that you will eat the same thing four times a month if there is a crisis, but that isn’t unreasonable. During the year I sprinkle these meals in with my regular meal plans.
Step Three: Do the same thing for breakfast and lunch. Depending on how much your family eats, I also figure that we could do leftovers for lunch if needed.
Step Four: Identify anything else you might need. For example I also store vinegar even though none of my recipes call for it because it is so dang useful. Things like canned veggies and canned fruit make for great side dishes. I also store basic baking ingredients. I thought it would be silly to list every teaspoon of salt I need in every recipe, so I just make sure I store a big thing of it. To figure out how much rice, flour, sugar, and oil to store I used an online food calculator. You can get some ideas of what I include on my spreadsheet below.
At the end I had a very simple list of things that I needed and exactly how much. And I knew I could use them to actually make something my family would eat. Plus I knew that I would be storing mostly foods that I already use on a regular basis.
To make it easier, I made a spreadsheet that helps me calculate everything. It tallies up the totals above and then puts them in a shopping list I can just take to the store.
Download Excel Version with Interactive Formulas
Download PDF Version without Formulas
Wasn’t that EASY!?! You didn’t even have to sit there and listen to me talk about canning or the difference between dehydrated and freeze dried foods! You can so do this!
Next week I will be covering “How to Rotate Your Food Storage Like a Boss.”