Long Term Food Storage with a Gluten Free Budget
What if you lost your job and had to survive on no income for 1 to 2 months while you searched and landed another one? Putting away food staples for your family will free up the cash you have on hand to pay bills and keep a roof over your head. It’s a smart way to run a gluten free budget.
If you asked your Grandmother or your Great Grandmother, they would probably be able to tell you how they canned up all the extra fruits and vegetables with their mothers and carefully stored them in the food pantry or cold storage for a “rainy day”. There were many “rainy days” during this country’s history. Many government slogans during the Great World Wars asked the people to conserve, start “victory” gardens in their backyards and rationed staples to help in feeding the servicemen and women at war.
Just read magazines or cookbooks from those times and you will see how every one participated in some form of food storage if they could.
Nowadays, our most recent disasters have included 9-11, major hurricanes, record snow, and 100 year floods. What if you couldn’t get to the store for the next 4 to 7 days? My brother works for a major grocery store. He tells me that any major grocery store only has enough inventory to last 3 days. That’s not very much! If there was a run on your store ( like there was during Katrina) would you have enough “stored” in your pantry to get you through?
Developing a long term food storage program is not complicated, but it does take planning and preparation. And it becomes more complicated when you have special diets and allergies to take into account.
The first thing you can do is make a list of all the meals you normally prepare in a 2 week period. Everyone has a tendency to cook the same things over and over again, meals that are easy to cook and that are liked by the entire family.
After you have your list, break it out and write down all the ingredients you would need to make each of those dishes. If you wanted to have a 2 week supply of meals, this list would be enough. Buy everything you need on that list and you would have your two week food storage done!
If you want a longer time frame, say 1 to 2 months, then multiply the amounts you have worked out by 2 (for one month) or by 3 ( for two months).
Now is the time to go to your “pantry” and see what you already have on hand. Make a list and determine what the gaps are and how big! Make a master list of everything you need to purchase. Include columns on your list so you can make a note every time you purchase an item and the amount on your list. That will give you an “at-a-glance” look at where you are and how much more you need to do.
Storage may become an issue, so you need to determine where you are going to put things and how. I have an un-used closet that has been drafted into service as my “extra” pantry space. It is outfitted with shelves (actually used bookcases my in laws were getting rid of) and is easy for me to see everything in there. I keep a clipboard inside with my master list. When I take something out, I note it down. It keeps tabs on what I have used and need to pick up without having to go back and re-count everything!
You have your meal list made up, you know what you have on hand, and you even your space picked out and set up! You’re ready to go shopping! Now, if you really want to go buy enough food to last you for the next 3 months all at once, sounds great! Make sure to take extra helpers with you. It’s hard to push a train of grocery carts through the store by yourself!
Or, you could go about it the way I do. I am a bargain hunter. It is almost a disease! I have a hard time buying anything that isn’t on sale! I devour the grocery store sales ads every week, I canvass the store, looking for the next deal of the century on meat, dairy, produce, canned goods, anything and everything. When I find those bargains that my family can use, I buy 10 to 15 of them at once! This is how I stock up and fill my pantry for my family.
I also do a lot of canning. Our family garden is a 20’x50′ space that overflows with glorious produce and flowers (every garden needs flowers!). Our family also keeps and takes care of 20 hens and 3 roosters (anybody need a rooster-I have one too many). We collect a dozen eggs a day during the summer. Needless to say, our friends and neighbors benefit from our extras.
Sounds like a lot of work, you say? It can be, but this is one of my creative outlets. I enjoy watching seeds sprout and produce flowers or vegetables that I can feed my family and friends or bring beauty to my home. The chickens come running when they see you and can’t wait to eat what you have brought them. They mill around you and cluck and make contented noises. It’s fun!
I learned to can from my mother who learned it from her mother and so on and so forth. We used to can peaches, pears, tomatoes, and many jams and jellies together. She is very proud that her traditions are still alive and well and have been handed down to her grand daughters, not only my daughter but my nieces as well. These skills are becoming scarce and it is hard to find any one who knows how to can anymore. But, it is making a comeback. I hope to help in that effort.
Learn how to mill your own whole grains and reap the benefits of eating all the wonderful nutrition that is locked up inside those little power houses! See the article on Grinding Your Own Flour. You cannot believe the difference. And it only takes minutes a day. For celiacs, it is the answer to saving money and having enough to store for 2 to 3 months.
Learn how to cook from scratch. That’s what this website is all about! Stocking a long term storage pantry is only useful if you cook what you have stored! It does you no good to have all this food in your house and then throw it away in 2 years because you didn’t cook from it!
Just get started!
“It is thrifty to prepare today for the wants of tomorrow.”
from The Ant and the Grasshopper