Decisions, decisions! I hate having to make decisions, but unfortunately, it is part of being an adult. So I try to make sure I have plenty of information before I make a decision so I can feel confident I am making the best choices.
The decision of what to buy for your food storage should be approached in the same way. You should gather information first so you can make the most informed decision.
Know Your Needs
Here are a few questions that you can ask yourself before you decide what to purchase.
- What are my family’s favorite things to eat? Start with a short list containing a week’s worth of meals.
- What does my family hate to eat?
- What items pop up on my shopping list each month?
- What items do I use every day? Every week?
- How much can I budget each month for food storage?
You may be able to answer these questions right off the top of your head. Others may require some time monitoring your purchases and your family’s usage.
If you don’t currently have a budget, now is a good time to create one. If you feel you just can’t spend more on food each month, find ways to shave a little from what you spend on other things and put that toward your food storage budget. A workable budget always pays off, so take the time to set one up.
You can also save on shipping costs if you order with friends. Together, you can order enough to qualify for free shipping even if you can’t quite manage it on your own.
Now, what should you buy?
Stock Up on Staples
The best way to start is to order staples. These can be ordered in cans because you know they’ll be used. Rice is a great example. Most families can use rice any time and it is perfect to keep on hand. You can either purchase bags of rice or order freeze-dried rice. Freeze-dried is lighter and may be easier to store than bags or buckets. having some of both certainly won’t hurt. Plan to purchase an extra bag or can of rice each month and you’ll have plenty for emergencies in no time.
Other basics are fruits and vegetables. If your entire storage budget goes to a bucket of freeze-dried fruit or vegetables one month, you have made a large dent in your pantry goal.
Canned meats are also perfect staples for storage. In fact, you may find you like the convenience of canned meats so much, they will become part of your regular daily meals as well as part of your food storage plan. I LOVE using canned meats (especially those days when I am so caught up with work that I forget to pull meat out of the freezer). Our canned meats have a shelf life of up to 15 years or more, but I bet you’ll use yours before that.
Look at your list of favorite meals and break them down into ingredients. Those are the things you want to stock up on, whether it be seasonings and spices, starches, meats of vegetables. Once you have a good supply of staples, you an start adding freeze-dried entrees for convenience and variety.
Putting Together a Sample Order
If you have never tried freeze-dried foods, I recommend that you put together a “sample assortment” of things that look good to you. Ideally this should be pouches. There is no sense in ordering a can of red beans and rice, only to find you hate it and it will never be eaten unless you’re starving to death.
When you put together your order, do it with the thought of trying out new things, not with the idea of adding things to your food storage. Once you know what you like, you can order more to store.
Start by looking at that list you made of favorite meals and find those meals, or reasonable replacements, in the freeze-dried pouches. That can be your first order. Once you see that freeze-dried versions of your favorite meals are just as good as those you make fresh, you’ll feel more secure trying other things. As you learn what foods you like best, you can create a list of items to purchase for your pantry.
Image Credit: mytvdinner