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food storage

Mormons are supposed to be awesome at food storage. It's one of those well-known facts about us, along with polygamy, horns, and...oh wait, only the food storage part is true. When we were newly married, the push was to get a year's supply of basic staples (wheat, oats, sugar, oil, etc), then build upon that with foods you eat everyday. But in recent years the focus has shifted a bit. We are still encouraged to get a year's supply, but our first goal should be to have three month's supply of foods we eat all the time. This is definitely more do-able in my mind than twelve months' supply of food for five people.

Until recently, we never really sat down and calculated what that would look like - 12 weeks of food for us to survive on. We keep our 72-hour kits stocked and updated, but that's only 3 days. There are 91 more days to contend with a three month storage.

So, after seeing the movie Contagion, we were motivated to really get this done. (That's right, admonition from the mouthpiece of Jesus Christ on earth today was not enough; we required Matt Damon's moving performance!) We have a fair amount of long term storage foods - black beans, pinto beans, oats, flour, rice, even some wheat which seems silly as none of us care much for it, and we do not have a grinder - that we've accumulated over the years. This stuff stays good basically forever. It's all stored in our laundry room. One nice thing about our house is that years ago when they remodeled the kitchen and turned it into a laundry room (and made a much bigger add-on kitchen), they kept the old cupboards in place.

These are to cabinets that house the majority of our long term storage foods. Mostly it's in #10 cans, but we also have a bit in mylar pouches, which are crammed here and there in the empty spaces not large enough for another #10 can. There are a few bare spots, which will be filled in next weekend by sugar that I just ordered.  There are approximately 40 cans in all, a mixture of several different items. Initially we bought a lot of wheat, but then we came to our senses and started stocking other things we might actually eat.

So that's where we are with the year's supply. Nowhere near, but possibly a few months' supply. If we get the sugar! We need sugar.

So back to the topic at hand - the 3 month supply. I am pleased to report that in a few weeks' time I have compiled a two week supply of food. This is not overly nutritious food, and we hope that in whatever scenario we are made to eat nothing but this food, that we either have a small cash reserve for some fresh fruit or vegetables, or at least access to our own garden, to round everything out. We don't have the two week supply of water yet, but we are working on it. For our family, we would need 70 gallons of water for two weeks.Tough finding space for that!

So here is my little two week cabinet:
You may notice it's in disarray on the counter beneath. I thought about cleaning that up before taking the picture, but let's be honest - when you homeschool, you always have a little area that is kind of crazy like this. Pencils and glue falling into the food storage area. Oh well.

I have weekly menus and the basic ingredients for those menus. I am experimenting a little bit with Thrive foods from Shelf Reliance. So far, we've tried four things - cheese powder, which is okay and could make decent macaroni & cheese or a cheese sauce, but is downright awesome on top of popcorn (note to self: add popcorn to food storage!); powdered whole eggs - these should not be cooked like eggs. I made that mistake. But 1 tablespoon mixed with 2 tablespoons of water will replace an egg in a recipe. I've done it that way a few times (cornbread, pancakes) and it worked very well, plus you are getting the nutrition of a whole egg in there. The 9 Grain Pancake Mix is actually very tasty. It has wheat and oat and other full grains, but enough white to make it palatable even to us. We've also experimented with foods we might not normally eat - like pancake mix from Aldi - and added them to the storage. Canned fruits and vegetables are new for us as well, but we put some of those in there for vitamins and variety, and enough flour, sugar, yeast, and so on to make breads, perhaps even cookies. Most breakfasts would be pancakes or oats. Most lunches, soup and cracker, with a fruit. Most dinners some form of pasta/sauce (I did get some Thrive beef TVP but not brave enough to try it yet), kit pizza, tuna casserole, chili and cornbread, that sort of thing.
I need to add a lot more Sun Butter to the storage, but we keep eating it all first!

So, I think we're on the right track here. Two weeks down, perhaps we'll just repeat this six times. Storage space is becoming a bit of a problem, but I think what we'll do is move a lot of the long term storage foods to under-the-bed or in bedroom closets, freeing up more space in the laundry room for the 3 month supply. I think it's more important to see and rotate out the 3 month supply than the longer term stuff anyway.

It feels good to be prepared. We've also been reading/listening to The Hunger Games lately, and perhaps a bow and arrow (and knowledge as to how to use it!) might need to be added to our 3 month supply.


  1. Hee hee. I don't think you have to home school to have that spot. At least I hope not. Maybe I'm breaking a rule because I have several of those.

  2. That is some serious food storage! Where do you order it all from? Most it sounds super healthy, too.

    p.s. I am SOOO glad you have a spot like that! I have several lately.

  3. Okay. I just re-read. Thrive Reliance.

  4. Jean - you mean my home wouldn't be clean if I didn't homeschool? Because that's pretty much my excuse for everything imperfect in my life!
    Kara - most of it has come from the LDS church's canneries (there is on in Nashville, Indy, etc) or by ordering it from (non-Mormons can order from there as well and the prices are really good and the food lasts forever - or at least 20 years). The Shelf Reliance products are more $ but they also offer more variety of foods, so I've only bought a little bit from them. Right now I'm focusing on everyday foods to complete the 12 weeks. I've got two completed. A ways to go!


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