I received this in the comments the other day and decided to write a post to answer it in addition to a couple of other things.
Got a question for ya, and I could probably look through 9000 articles you have here but…
What are you basing your Food Storage aka Deep Pantry on?
Number of people calorie count, serving size, or ??????
And for what length of time for the storage; you working on a single year or 5 years for the Pantry?
First off why should you have a deep pantry/food storage?
How long would you be able to feed your family if for some reason you couldn’t get to the store, or had no money to buy groceries with?
Do you have to stop by the store on your way home and pick up something to fix for supper? (I worked at a grocery store years ago and every evening the same people would come in picking up something for supper.) You get ready to make something do you have to run to the store or the neighbors to get an ingredient that you don’t have?
Most people have one to two weeks’ worth of food in their homes if even that. So many people eat out a lot, and when they do eat at home most of it is prepackaged foods very little from scratch cooking. Just look at places that are getting ready to get hit by a big storm the grocery shelves are wiped clean.
So back to the question how long could you feed your family if you couldn’t get to the store? Wouldn’t it be reassuring to know that if something happened, like a weather event, or a job loss, riots or some unforeseen event that you have enough food to feed your family?
That is where having a deep pantry comes in. So what is a deep pantry? Our ancestors relied on deep pantry’s to survive the winters. They grew a big portion of their food and stored it to get through the winters. Some people are trying to return to this, they are seeing the wisdom in doing so. We live in very uncertain times right now, natural disasters, man-made disasters, uncertain weather, high unemployment, and underemployment. I feel it is a very important thing to do.
Having a deep pantry means you can eat more healthy by not having to just grab something or run by the nearest takeout place. And honestly wouldn’t be a great piece of mind to know that whatever happens, you will be able to feed your family.
So how do you start a deep pantry? One way would be to follow my weekly food storage challenge. Another would be to make a list of the foods that you use, and buy when they come on sale and in bulk. Start with the basics then add to that. Get a weeks’ worth than two weeks and just keep adding to it. If you don’t already, learn to cook from scratch you will need fewer items in your pantry and you will be feeding your family more healthy foods. Plan to grow a garden, get a few chickens if you can have them where you live. Some places don’t let you grow a garden, so grow a garden in containers you can grow quite a bit in containers. You can also tuck in vegetables and fruit into your landscaping without anyone being any the wiser.
So what if you can’t afford extra food, once again that is where cooking from scratch comes in handy it is so much cheaper to make your own instead of buying it, buy sales and plan your menus around what is on sale and pick up a couple extras. You can go here for more ideas on how to save money so you can afford a deep pantry.
So where do I get my information from on what to put in your deep pantry? Food storage?
If you notice there are two items in the challenge the first is from the LDS food storage guidelines ( you can go here to see what they have ). If money is super tight this is what you need to get it is the bare bones. I have tried to break it down in 3-month increments where after 3 months you have what you would need for 3 months for 2 people ( just double for 4 people). If you research this a little you will find that when they put this list together they wanted if at all possible to supplement with a garden. They also wanted you to have seven years of food storage but over the years they have reduced it ( I think maybe they were just trying to get people to have something).
The second items I added to help round out the first items on the list to add some variety. I didn’t put a set amount just get what you can and try to get on sale. Although if you just have the items on the first list you would be amazed at some of the things you can make from it from ice cream to mock Tatar Tots. The book “ Passport to Survival” by “ Esther Dickey” has a ton of recipes for the basic food storage. Another thing that will help is to make a list of the foods you eat in a month and times that by 12 to get an idea of what to have for a year’s worth of food.
How many years worth of food should you have?
I know people who have 1 to 5 years of food storage BUT it is all the freeze-dried food that they don’t ever use. ( I have nothing against freeze dried I even have some tucked back). You need to store what you eat and eat what you store. Get what your family will eat, a crises situation is not the time to be introducing new foods. So how much should you have? That brings up an interesting topic. Do you have a way to replenish whatever amount you have? Say you have a years worth of food but you lost your job and you are going on almost 12 months of not being able to find work your food storage is running out what are you going to do? This is where the action and extra items on the challenge come in. I have canning and gardening in a couple of the action items. As somebody I know always likes to say “Live the lifestyle” if you already have a garden then you will be able to stretch out the food storage and when that runs out you will still have something to feed your family.
There is a reason the homesteading craze is so popular and getting more so every day. People want to be able to be self-sufficient and to be able to take care of their families no matter want, in addition to being able to feed more healthy food. No matter where you are you can grow extra food to feed your family even on a balcony in the city. I try to have at least two years worth of food put back this way if the garden has a bad year I still have food left to get through to next years harvest. “Living the lifestyle” is just as important as having a deep pantry and just think of the peace of mind that it will bring. Learn to garden, can cook from scratch now, so if heaven forbid you have to use these skills to provide for your family you know how.