Saturday, October 16, 2010

SA Conference

This morning I taught 2 classes at the Single Adult Conference.  I wanted to post something about what I taught even though I have covered most of this before.  I think it was a success and I had a good time doing it!  Hope you enjoy this!  These are just my notes that I followed (to some degree) so hopefully they are easy to follow.
The name of this class is Practical Food Storage for the single but I believe that no matter what stage in life you are in the plan should be somewhat the same.  This class isn’t going to be on 100 ways to use wheat.  I think we are lacking a little in how to get our 3 month supply so that is what I am going to focus on today. 

I have a plan that is easy to follow and gives you a very easy and practical way to get your food storage in place.  I know that everyone is at a different stage of food storage. Some of you may not have even thought of food storage yet, some of you might have a little bit of wheat and powdered milk and wonder what in the world am I going to do with this!  I started out going onto websites looking for the food storage calculators and they always came back with the basics.  Its great to have the basics but if you were in an emergency situation where you had to eat your food storage you would be very unhappy with what you had if all you had was wheat and powdered milk.  It would keep you alive but you would be frowning. 

I think that preparation is the key to making your food storage work for you. Knowing where you are going to put it when you do get it and what you are going to get is vital.  How many of you actually have food storage?
How many of you know how long it will last?
How many of you have a set schedule of recipes that you will actually eat?
Whether it be for our 3 month supply or year supply, it is important to have a plan!

I went on a search for something to make my food storage work for me.  I need chocolate and I don’t eat a lot of wheat in my diet. So over the past 4 years I have taken bits and pieces of what others have come up with and added a few of my own things to create this system I am going to show you today. I am not saying that this is the only way to successfully have your food storage, this is just my way of doing it.   

Before we talk about the actual plan that I have I want to talk about things that may get in the way of you having food storage.  Here are Wendy Dewitt’s top ten reasons why we don’t have our food storage:

10. My neighbors have a TWO year supply! It's more likely they have no food storage at all. Most people have made no effort whatsoever to be prepared for an emergency. So, if your plan is to eat your neighbor's food, not only is it not very nice, it's probably not a very good plan.
9. I'm moving in with my children / parents! Really....that’s just a bad plan all by itself. Many people believe when times get bad we'll all just band together to survive. (Of course, since no one has any food, we won't survive for very long.) But consider that if there were any kind of epidemic or pandemic, we couldn't band together and we couldn't share. You may have to survive on just what's in your home.
8. Isn't that what my taxes are for? If there was a national emergency of any kind, how long do you really think it would take a government agency to reach you? Just remember, the government has been counseling citizens to have a three month's supply of food, water and medicines.  Hurricane Katrina
7. I donate to my church...if anything happens, they'll take care of me. How many of you are planning on miracles when times get bad? The miracle of Elijah's never ending barrel or another Joseph in Egypt storing for everyone. The responsibility to prepare your family for an emergency isn't your neighbor's, the government's or the church''s yours.
6. I have a year's supply...and the bullets to go with it! I've heard time and again, "Why should I go to all the time and expense of getting food...just to have some guy with a gun come and shoot my family to take it away?" Are you afraid of the guy with the gun? Or are you more afraid of BECOMING the guy with the gun? What would you be willing to do if you were watching your children starve to death? I guarantee, you would lie, cheat, steal and you would become the guy with the gun to save your child's life. Food storage isn't just about your temporal's about your spiritual salvation as well.
5. The boat and the 4 wheelers are taking up all my storage space. (priorities!)
4. I've got 1,000 pounds of wheat...what else do I need? Unless you're eating that wheat on a daily basis and your body is accustomed to it, that wheat could kill you faster than a famine would!
3. I've decided to store non-perishables and then I'll just trade for food. Good luck eating those gold coins because when people are starving, they're not going to be trading away their food. Either that, or you're going to be buying the most expensive bowl of soup you ever ate.
2. I can't afford scrap booking AND food storage. The average food storage can cost as little as a dollar a day. We live in the richest society in the history of the world, and while there are cases where money may be a problem, most of the time it is a matter of priorities. We have chosen bigger homes, nicer cars, more tv's, computers, vacations ...everything is more important than our food storage. If I asked, "Who has a cell phone?" most of you would say yes. You pay at least a dollar a day for that service. Is your cell phone really more important than your survival? You have to make food storage a priority.
1. I'm waiting for them to sell Papa John's dehydrated pizza! Food storage has always had a stigma attached to it. If it's not wheat, beans and powdered milk, it's not food storage. With the system I use, food storage can be sweet and sour chicken, tamale pie, chile and cornbread, beef stew, shepherd's pie, minestrone...even chocolate chip cookies! Your imagination (and your pocketbook) are the only limitations you have.

You KNOW you should have your food storage. You WANT to have it, but it can be so overwhelming! How much do I buy? Where do I store it? How do I cook it? It seems like an impossible task.... but it's not. It doesn't matter if you use my system or just start buying extra food, the important thing is to do something.

One of the reasons not mentioned on her list was I don’t have enough space in my house or room.  I know some people rent rooms from others or live in tiny houses or apartments that barely has room for anything else.  I will give you some ideas of where you can put your food storage.

If you own your home you have a little more freedom with what you can do.  For example there is a product from where you can have an in wall system.  Here is a picture of what it looks like.  They also sell on the wall systems that go on sheetrock, lazy susans and a few other options.

There is another place that sells cardboard rotation shelves. It’s  I have plans to make a free cardboard rotation shelf that I will give to you.  I also wrote the name of the website that has a video tutorial on how to do it. You can customize it to your cabinet space or shelf space.

There are other places that sell similar things for different spaces.  I had been eyeballing the shelf reliance shelves for a long time but I couldn’t wrap my brain around spending $300 on a shelf.  If you have the space and you are slightly handy you can build one of these. I went to Lowes and spent about $100 to build this shelf.  You can build it for less if you have wood laying around or can get scraps from other places.

If you have no space for shelving then you can find other places like behind furniture, under furniture or you can make it your furniture.

Now onto the plan!

The first thing to do is figure out what you need to buy.  You do this by gathering up your recipes.  Most people stick to a few basic recipes in their everyday cooking. When I started this plan I borrowed recipes from other people to try so I wouldn’t have to eat the same 7 meals over and over again. The recipes also need to have ingredients that are shelf stable….mostly. You don’t want to have grilled chicken salad because you can’t have a 3 month supply of lettuce.  You can find substitutes for things you would normally eat fresh, like freeze dried fruits, vegetables, cheese, powdered butter, sour cream, eggs, milk and others. 

You need a minimum of 7 breakfasts and 7 dinners for minimal survival eating. I have 14 breakfasts, lunches and dinners plus breads and desserts….like I said….I really don’t want to skip a beat with the way we currently eat and I would die without chocolate.

One way to get all of this organized is to write down the recipes onto 3x5 cards and then on the back write down how much of each ingredient you will need for 3 months.  You need to include all of your spices and water for cooking.  For example if you have 14 recipes for dinner you will eat one of those dinners 6 times in a 3 month time period.

Next you want to organize all of your recipes in a notebook.  I chose to make a book because this 3 ring binder was my attempt at becoming organized.  Basically you want all of your recipes in order and you want a list in the back of everything you need. I call this our master shopping list. You make this by flipping your 3x5 cards over and recording them into a list.  I did mine on an excel spreadsheet in alphabetical order.  So now you have all of the recipes that you actually eat (make sure they are tried and tested recipes) and a master list of everything that you need to buy to have a complete 3 month supply.  This list can eventually be expanded into a year supply if you are good at rotation.

The next step is to make a chart that alphabetically lists all the foods from your recipe cards. The first column lists the food item. The next, lists all the meals that food item is in. The third column lists how many cups, cans or jars are needed. The fourth lists how much of that item I have and the fifth, how much I need to buy.

I made an excel spreadsheet that does all of the math for me and keeps up with my inventory.  I know not everyone is tech savvy so just a written list will do too. If you would like a copy of the spreadsheet that I have put together then I can email it to you. Just send me an email or give me yours before you leave. All of the formulas are already in the spreadsheet and all you have to do is plug in your information.  Here is an example of what the spreadsheet should look like.

I mentioned before that there are substitutes for fresh ingredients that you can buy. I store a backup supply of what I would need for 3 months if I couldn’t get something fresh. For example if I am making ground beef stroganoff, I use fresh sour cream.  As long as I am able to go to the grocery store and buy sour cream I will use it fresh.  But I make sure I have a 3 month supply of powdered sour cream on hand in case I can’t go to the store. The same goes with anything else I can’t buy fresh.  I typically don’t freeze much just in case I am without power and my generator can’t support it for long periods of time. But that is just a personal preference.
There are 2 ways that I choose to buy the food on my master shopping list. The first way is to buy in bulk when things are on sale.  Sometimes Sam’s Club or Costco has fabulous deals that you can’t pass up or you fall into a large supply of money and you want to load up on food storage. The only downfall of this particular plan that I see is that if something were to happen and you needed to eat what you had on hand then you don’t want to be stuck with 60 cans of peaches because that’s what was on sale.  I am not knocking this way at all…this is the way I have accumulated most of my food storage but you don’t want to buy something that is not on your list because you need to stick to your plan.  Or you could always change a few of your recipes to match what you buy on sale.

I have seen where some people will plan out what to buy in any given week.  Like the first week of January you need to buy all of your green beans, the second week of January you but 4 cans of spaghetti sauce and 4 boxes of spaghetti noodles and so on.

The second method that I use and that I find the most practical for anyone is the meal in a bag method.  I recently discovered this method from a book called “It’s in the bag” by Michelle and Trent Snow.  Basically this is where you take a plastic, square bottomed gift bag and you put one meal in that bag.  In the book, she suggests that you put everything for that meal, cooking water, all ingredients and side items for that meal.  That is completely up to you but I have chosen to do a combination of the two storage options.  I will get into that after explaining the rest of how this option works. 

So you take the bag and find the soonest expiration date on all the food you put in the bag.  You take a plastic CD sleeve and tape it to the front of the bag and put the recipe card in the CD sleeve. Take a sicker and stick it to the front of the CD sleeve and write the expiration date of that meal on it.

The way that I have done this system is to buy in bulk when things are on sale or when I fall into some extra money and create the meal in a bag when I only have the money to do one or two meals at a time.  Either way, you only buy what’s on your shopping list and you have what you need when you need it.  The bag meal system lets you have meals on hand that are ready to prepare and eat.  If you exclusively buy in bulk, you don’t want to be caught with 40 cans of peaches and 30 boxes of spaghetti noodles if you needed food to eat in an emergency situation. By doing both plans you have the flexibility to buy in bulk when it’s cost effective and to have meals already put together for immediate use.  This is a great way to be able to rotate your food storage. You just go downstairs and pull a bag of food that you always eat and you have everything right there. It cuts down on prep time and you KNOW you have everything on hand for that particular meal.  You can store the bags on the rotation shelves with the rest of your cans or you can have them on a regular shelf that you put in expiration date order.  I don’t put water and spices in my bags. Anything that I have to divide into much smaller portions I leave in its original container and store them separately.  I know what I need because of my master shopping list so I have it on hand but it isn’t cost effective to buy that many bags, jars or cans.  There are some tools that make some of this easier, learning how to can, getting a food saver to seal jars, etc.

No comments: