Noreen's Kitchen: Preparing Your Pantry Out of Love

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Preparing Your Pantry Out of Love

I recently shared a video about the current food shortages brought about by economic collapse in Venezuela.  A friend of mine for many years asked me what I thought were my top 10 items to have on hand with regard to food storage.  This is what I shared with her.  While I went over ten items, I still think these are important things to consider.  I also advise that people do not begin a food storage out of fear.  Only out of love for yourself and your family.  Being prepared is a virtue.  Hard times fall upon all of us at different places in our life.  So it is best to have a little more than we need to make sure that in a time of want we are ready to face what is important.

Here is the video that I posted:





There are many ways one should be prepared. Since I live in a hurricane area, we have taken that mindset. We have been through one major hurricane and learned a lot. But for now, let's just focus on food.

When I started my food storage (taking a lesson from the nice LDS people I know) I took from them and then I took from other sources that said I should live by this manta: "Store what you eat and eat what you store". This means, if your family does not like oatmeal than it is pointless to purchase 300 pounds of oats for your food storage! Yes that may sound a bit exaggerated, but many people have done just that. Storing food just for the sake of having food in the event of a crisis/emergency or economic collapse is not the smartest thing to do. You must love what you are storing otherwise you are going to open yourself and your family up to what is commonly called "appetite fatigue". Even if you think you will eat anything if you are starving, thing again! You won't!

Here are some things that I think everyone should have on hand. You can figure out how much you want to store based on the number of people you plan on feeding. I like to tell people to start off small. It can be as simple as adding only a few things to your cart when you go shopping. It does not have to bust your budget and don't feel like you have to go and bulk up on emergency supplies for long term food storage from the LDS cannery or online purveyors. While I do have those things, they came later. 


#1 WATER: You should have at least 72 hours worth of clean drinking water. The recommended amount is 1 gallon per person per day, however this is only for consumption and cooking. Not for bathing and washing up dishes etc. So with that in mind, I have a 3 month supply of water that is stored in our shed. We have re-purposed juice bottles, washed them, filled them up and put a teaspoon of bleach in them. The bleach will dissipate and the water will be fine for drinking. We rotate these out once a year. 



#2 WATER FILTER. We live near a creek so in the event that our water supply is exhausted, we can use the creek or we also have rain barrels. We would need to filter that water before drinking. We have a Berkey water filter that will actually filter river water and make it drinkable and safe.



#3 FOOD: This list is enough food for a family of four for three months. It could last longer if rationed.



20 pounds of Rice. Rice is one of the backbones of every food storage plan. It is filling, nutritious and with the use of varied seasonings and condiments, highly adaptable in a variety of tasty meals. The choice of white, brown or a combination of the two is up to you. White rice has a longer shelf life but brown rice has more nutritional benefits.


20 pounds of Pinto Beans. Like rice, beans are the backbone to every food storage plan. You may substitute white, kidney or other types of dried beans but honestly, pintos are one of the least expensive dried beans.

20 cans of Vegetables. Green beans, peas, corn and canned tomatoes are good choices. Let your taste and budget guide you. Buy what you currently eat and enjoy.

20 cans of Fruit. Peaches, pears, pineapple, fruit cocktail – again, this is your choice. Fruits add a nice sweetness to life and these days we all could use more of that.

20 cans of Meat. Chicken, tuna, shrimp, salmon, Vienna sausages, beef stew and yes, even the ubiquitous Spam will satisfy this requirement. Did you know that you can even purchase canned roast beef? Again, let your taste and budget guide you – there is lots to choose from.


4 pounds Oats. A bowl of oatmeal topped with canned fruit can be enjoyed for breakfast, lunch or dinner.


2 large jars of Peanut Butter. Peanut butter is an excellent source of protein, with plenty of calories for energy and sustenance


5 pounds of Powdered Milk. Milk is a great source of protein and other nutrients. In addition it is filling and can be used to top your oatmeal cereal or stirred into your coffee as a flavor enhancer.



8 pounds of Salt per person per year. Our bodies need salt to survive and maintain electrolytes.



10 pounds of Pancake Mix. An all in one pancake mix (such as Krusteaz) only requires the addition of water to make up a batch of batter. As with oatmeal, a big plate of pancakes, perhaps with some honey or jam, will make a satisfying meal that can be eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner.



20 pounds all purpose flour for baking. Wheat contains all 9 amino acids necessary to sustain human life. If you plan on baking bread you will also need to store leavener.

10 pounds corn meal. This can be used to make corn bread and even corn meal mush as well as added to thicken soups and stews. 

20 pounds sugar. Sugar is necessary in cooking and will boost your calorie intake. If we are in an emergent situation and are unable to get things from the grocery store, sugar may well be used like $$.



2 pounds of Honey and 2 large jars of Jam. This can be included as part of your sugar in your food storage.


10 pounds of Pasta. Pasta is familiar and easy to fix. Pasta is a dense form of wheat but so much easier to deal with when you are first starting out. Besides, it is a fabulous comfort food.



10 cans or jars of Spaghetti Sauce. Quick and easy meal that is filling and satisfying. Box of cooked pasta, heated with a jar of sauce, bam, dinner is served. 


20 cans of Soup or Broth. Soup is an easy one pot meal that you just heat and eat. In a pinch it can even be eaten cold right out of the can.

One large jug of Oil. Choose olive oil, coconut oil or some other cooking oil, but definitely get some. Oil is essential for good health, fueling our energy stores and providing support for fat-soluble vitamins and nutrients as they work their way through our system. Remember to rotate the oil in your storage on a regular basis to avoid rancidity.

Spices and Condiments. Adding some spices and condiments to your food storage pantry will allow you to vary the taste of your storage foods, thus mitigating some of the boredom that is likely to occur over time. The exact mix of spices and condiments is up to you but some suggestions include garlic, chili, Tabasco (hot sauce), salsa, oregano, thyme and black pepper.

5 pounds of Coffee or 100 Tea Bags. Caffeine is an appetite suppressant. In an emergent situation this can be a plus. Store whole bean coffee or coffee that is vacuum sealed in blocks or bags for best freshness. Herbal teas can also be used as medicine. Get yourself a book on what does what. 
2 large bags of Hard Candies. Hard candy can go a long way toward making an unpleasant situation bearable. Butterscotch drops, peppermints and even lemon drops are good. My husband also likes to keep TicTacs. When eaten and while drinking water they cool your mouth and give you the sensation that the water is cooler than it is.

You will also need a way to cook the food if you don't have power or gas. A camp stove, Gas BBQ or Charcoal BBQ are good options. Make sure to have enough extra fuel. A campfire will also work.

Lastly, you will need a way to protect yourself. This means a weapon.  If you are not comfortable handling a weapon, I suggest you get trained in how to use one.  The simple truth is, that is this economy collapses there will be roving maurauders who will not think twice about killing you to take what you may have.  I am not trying to instill fear, just common sense.  This country was built on people who were not afraid to protect what was theirs and we will not keep our freedom if we allow others to take it from us!


There it is in a nutshell.  Food storage 101.  Do it for any reason.  Do you live in an area prone to hurricanes or tornadoes, how about flash flooding or snow storms?  How lovely would it be the next time you are faced with a situation like that to know you had what you needed and did not have to brave the grocery store to fight for the last loaf of bread or flat of water.  Having what you need on hand is also a great hedge against inflation.  Buy on sale at today's price and eat it several months or even years later when it may be even more expensive.  If you are injured or lose your job, you have a cushion.  If a friend falls on hard times, you have the ability to share and be generous.  Those are just a few reasons everyone should put something extra back.

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