Thursday, January 10, 2013

The revelation to produce and store food may be as essential to our temporal welfare today as boarding the ark was to the people in the days of Noah. - EZRA TAFT BENSON: Prepare for the Days of Tribulation

A few weeks ago I was asked to give a Relief Society activity lesson on Long Term Food Storage.  It came as a surprise. Sure, I have long term food storage, and sure, I'm probably an expert on which TVP tastes good and which ones to avoid, but a whole lesson? I'm no expert. I don't have an entire year's supply of food storage for my family.

So I started by doing research. One night I was on several different sites, clicking on links, scanning articles and helpful hints, browsing forums, while in one of my many tabs a Youtube video played. Suddenly, stopped. I gasped. Could it really be this easy? I clicked on the youtube tab to actually watch. This was it! This was my lesson! Not only that, but this was what I needed to get my food storage ready!

Much more preparation was needed. I typed up a copy of my lesson and read it to Drek. His reaction: "Wow. You really need to slow down and breathe while talking." He also gave some valuable edits. I did a second draft and practiced on Jenny. Her reaction: "Wow. You really need to slow down and breathe while talking." She also edited a huge chunk out of my lesson. Draft three was presented to Anna. This was the reaction I was hoping for! She was just as excited as I was about this system! She also edited my lesson, and told me to slow down when I talk.

Yesterday was my big presentation. I was scared to death. I got up and started talking, and only a few minutes into it I got a lot of "Whoa! Slow down! I can't take notes that fast!" comments. So I took a deep breathe and tried my best to slow down.

I think it went well overall. I got a lot of comments on how overwhelming all the information was, which I suppose means I did my research well enough, but that my presentation was more of an information dump. It's better in written form:

Long Term Food Storage

How do we do a year’s supply of food storage?
Start by picking 7 dinners your family likes. Look up the ingredients.  These are meals the whole family likes to eat. Soups, stews, chilis = cheap, tasty, easy to make, easy to cook, one pot to clean. These meals can be as easy or as complicated as you want to make them. Don’t exclude favorite recipes just because you think you can’t have one of the ingredients in long term food storage. We’ll get to all that in a minute.
1 lb of spaghetti + 1 can of ragu
There are 52 weeks in a year, so if you are eating it once a week, times by 52.  
1 lb of spaghetti * 52 = 52 lbs of spaghetti
1 can of ragu * 52 = 52 cans of ragu

Now add 7 breakfasts. You can do 14 meals instead of 7 if you don’t like repeating. You can add in lunches. You can add a bread a day, either in addition to or to replace lunches. You can add desserts! Dessert are SO EASY with food storage! In fact! I encourage you, if you’re new to making meals with powdered milk or dehydrated butter, start with a dessert! Don’t try to healthy it up. Sometimes people have a stigma about food storage because people will put pinto beans in fudge. Guess what? You can make fudge from food storage without pinto beans. Just go with basic dessert goodness. It’s easy, Your family will want to try it, and it has a very high success rate. Everyone likes it, you get more confidence and try something else!

Now that you have your recipes in front of you. go through them one by one. and list all the ingredients timesed by 52. I did mine on an excel spreadsheet, (Column A = all the ingredients needed in all recipes, Row 1 = The different recipes) but whatever works for you!  Basically, it should look something like this: Salt:  52 tsp, 104 tsp... Keep a running tally. When you are done with all your recipes, add up all the salt you will need: For an entire year's supply of delicious food for my family, I need 512 tsps of salt. 1 ½ tbsp of salt = 1 ounce. 1 container of salt = 26 oz = 39 tbsp or 117 tsp. So I need 5 containers of salt.  5 containers! at 70 cents each, That’s only $3.50. For a year’s supply of salt! I can totally afford that!

Great! We have a plan! We know what to buy! Take your shopping list with you everytime you go shopping; When ragu or salt  goes on sale, you’ll know how much to buy!

Set a goal: You don’t have to buy everything tomorrow. It’s totally fair to take a year to build up a year’s supply food (but try hard not to take more than a year!) Count up your items, and say you’ll buy 2 a month, or 1 a week. Or set a budget.; $60 on food storage per month. Once you have everything on your shopping list stored, you just rotate through as part of your grocery list.

How do we store  a year’s supply of food?
There are a million ways to store food storage. You can have a 1 year supply of food storage for 1 person in 10 boxes. 10 boxes fit under a twin size bed. An entire year’s supply of food for 1 person, under 1 bed.

Ideally, store in 75 degrees or cooler, hidden from light, an inch off the ground. It’s not hard! store #10 cans in boxes (no light) on a wire rack, under a bed. Your house usually stays that cool. Those conditions will get you maximum shelf life. if not stored in those conditions, it’s okay, just don’t leave it for 30 years. that problem is solved by rotating your food storage.

Label! Always label! Bought on this date, expires on this date. With your booklet of recipes that you’ve printed off, keep a list of the items you have: year’s supply of pinto beans bought on _____ expires_____ under Little Tommy’s bed.  So you’ll know. Now, since pinto beans last 30 years, and since you already love a recipe where you use pinto beans all you have to do is use them! Use your long term food storage in everyday cooking! It will SAVE YOU MONEY. Just rotate it; buy an extra can of pinto beans, or container of salt, or 5 gallon bucket of sugar, and keep it in your pantry/cupboard. Once it’s gone, get another one out from under Tommy’s bed and make a note to by another container to put under there. Voila! Rotating food storage where nothing goes bad and you never have to throw anything away!

When you open a can that is 12 years old, it might smell bad. Especially oats. It’s okay! it’s simply taken on the smell of the can. Put it in a bucket, let it air for 24  hours.

How to get the ingredients for our meals into long term food storage?
Here’s the deal: Long term food storage is a booming industry. You can buy almost anything in #10 cans. Cheese, hashbrowns, cornmeal, strawberries and on and on. it’s amazing. But, those are not your only options. Usually it’s cheaper to can your own food.  I’m not just talking about peaches or pickles, I’m talking about any ingredients you have in your meals.  Go to google. There are endless forums and how-tos on how to store (almost) anything. You need to figure out which ones work best for your tastebuds and your budget.  

Let’s talk about just a few options for a few ingredients that are the majority of lists.
Wheat: From the standpoint of food production, storage, handling, and the Lord’s counsel, wheat should have high priority. “There is more salvation and security in wheat,” said Orson Hyde years ago, “than in all the political schemes of the world” (in Journal of Discourses, 2:207).
Don’t let wheat scare you! It’s so easy! If you are unfamiliar with wheat, go hard white wheat. It’s just better all around. Storing wheat is easy, it can be stored anywhere and has a shelf life of 30+ years. 30+, meaning, it will outlast you.  If opened will last about 3 years. However, once ground into flour, wheat loses most of its nutrients within a few days so only grind small amounts at a time.
You probably want a wheat grinder to go with your wheat. But, no grinder? No problem!

Wheat Without a Wheat Grinder

1. Crock Pot Wheat
Bring 1 c. of wheat kernels, 2 c. water, and 1 t. salt to a boil in a medium saucepan. Pour into a Crockpot, turn on “warm”.  In the morning, pour off any additional water, add butter and honey, and serve hot.

2. Wheat Berries
Add some of your plain dry wheat kernels to a pot of water. Bring it to a boil and cook for a few minutes. Let simmer for about 45 minutes. Drain the wheat berries and stick them in a container in the fridge. These are delicious to add to yogurt or to use to replace some meat in recipes. You can also use it in place of brown rice in recipes.

3. Popped Wheat
Take 1 cup of your cooked wheat berries (see above) and add to a frying pan or pot with two tablespoons of oil. Cover with a lid and cook over a hot stove shaking the pan while it cooks. After about 4-5 minutes the kernels will be nice and toasted. Put the popped wheat on a paper towel to get the extra oil off, and sprinkle with your choice of seasonings. Try it with salt, seasoned salt, garlic, barbecue salt, onion salt, cinnamon and sugar or any combination you desire. These are delicious on salads as a topping, mixed with trail mix, or as toppings for a desserts or just as a healthy snack.

4. Wheat Sprouts
You can sprout wheat just like any other vegetable seeds, legumes, or other grains. Most people like wheat sprouts to be very small, just barely sprouted. These are delicious to throw on salads or to add into your whole wheat bread for a little extra texture and flavor.

5. Wheat Grass
It’s so healthy! Just sprout your wheat and let it keep growing until the grass grows! Snip off the grass and add them to fruit smoothies or juice it (in a special wheat grass juicer) for healthy wheat grass juice.

6. Cracked Wheat
Put in about 1/4-1/3 cups of wheat in a blender and pulse it until it looks like little cracked kernels. These kernels will cook much faster than regular wheat, and cook up in the same way that you cook rice on the stove or in the microwave. You can use cracked wheat to make hot cereal, add it into bread, or cook it up and use as a meat filler.

7. Blender Wheat Flour Waffles or Pancakes
Add liquids for your waffle or pancake batter recipe in your blender. Blend. Add wheat kernels instead of flour. Add in your wheat kernels and blend for about 5 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients from your recipe. Blend and Pour onto a griddle or waffle-maker.

To store anything in  #10 cans or in 5 gallon bucket with an oxygen absorber, it must be less than 10% moisture, or it will cause botulism. so how do you store things with higher oils or moisture content? Things like Chocolate chips, nuts, peanut butter, raisins, cornmeal, brown rice, sesame seeds:  Food saver, jar sealer. Deni JarVac Vacuum Sealer. Put food in glass jars, seal them = 10 year shelf life. open the jar, take out what you want and vacuum it again; same lid.  You can buy Halloween candy or Christmas candy the day after the holiday, when all the candy goes on sale. Can it using your Deni JarVac and next holiday it is fresh!

You can can muffins and brownies, and cakes, and breads and corn breads. It’s crazy. Look up jar bread recipes. The trick is there are no eggs, it’s usually a product called Knox gelatin or mashed beans or applesauce. Those three things are a fantastic substitute for eggs in recipes, by the way.   You bake it in a jelly jar, add the ring and the lid, and it will seal itself. Delicious, moist, amazing. Shelf life 2 years.

Fruits and vegetables: There are three different options: Purchase #10 cans. FYI: Freeze dried usually has a better taste, higher nutritional content, and a  longer shelf life than dehydrated.  It’s also more expensive.
Second option is to can or dehydrate your own. You can grow and can them or buy in bulk and can them. Canning them means in glass jars, dehydrating them means cutting them up into pieces, drying them out in a dehydrator and canning them in #10 cans with an oxygen absorber.
Or you can Grow your own (best option). A huge part of self reliance is having your own garden. We have been urged over and over again to grow a garden. Your recipe will taste so much better and be so much healthier if you grow your own produce. You don’t have to have a backyard to grow a garden. Two years ago, before we moved into our house in this ward, we lived in a 900 SF apartment with a teeny tiny balcony. How teeny tiny? It fit two playpens, side by side. I found this thing called global buckets, where you can grow a produce garden in an urban setting. Basically it’s cheap, it only requires a rooftop or a balcony or even a ledge, and you get amazing results. When we moved into the house in the ward, the first thing we did was plant a huge garden in the backyard. We did not get as much produce from our giant garden, as we did from our tiny balcony. A lot of that is because I’m new to gardening, and global buckets are basically idiot-proof, but, that just goes to show that where you live doesn’t matter, we should all have a garden.  
Also, consider storing seeds in your food storage so you can plant them to grow food.
From your food storage, you can sprout dried beans, lentils and wheat. Sprouting anything is amazingly healthy and very simple.  These are considered vegetables.

Cooking your food:
Solar oven is best long term, as propane and butane is best for your 3 month supply. As long as the sun is shining, a solar oven will heat up to 350 degrees. If it’s hot, it will heat up faster, so in cold weather just give yourself longer to cook.

non food items:  Paper Towels, Toilet Paper, Feminine Products, Bleach, Dog/Cat Food. How much do I need? Easy! When you go to the store to buy because you are out, buy 3 times what you would normally and store 2 of them. When you need it again, repeat. After 6 months you’ve stored a year’s supply (twice what you used in 6 months!) Works for anything. You can shorten or lengthen the time it takes as your budget dictates by changing the multiple you buy. Twice as much as usual will take a year, 4 times as much will take 4 months, etc.
Also in your food storage you need medical supplies. Stock up on: First Aid Kits, Hand Sanitizers, gauze, Face Masks, Cold medicine...

You can also make your own household cleaners, laundry detergent, and dishwashing soap.   It’s cheaper, and doesn’t use all those terrible toxins. Learning how now will prepare you for when you can’t buy lysol in the store. and the ingredients to make these things are easily kept in long term storage.

Same goes for Toothpaste, Shampoo/Conditioner, Deodorant, Facewash/Bodywash/Soap

Here is more information than you ever wanted to know about me: I haven’t used store bought shampoo or conditioner in over three years. cheaper, healthier, greener.

In conclusion! You don’t know what type of disaster you are planning for. You don’t know if you are building up this year’s supply to feed your family after your husband loses his job, or to feed your neighborhood in the week it takes help to arrive after a major disaster. You don’t know if you are preparing for a total economic collapse and the end of civilization as we know it, or if all your preparations will be washed away in a tsunami. The bottom line is: It doesn’t matter.  D&C 38:30
“If ye are prepared ye shall not fear” If you do what is asked of you and have your long term food storage, no matter disaster happens, god will take care of you.


  1. Wow! I'll have to reread it all when I am feeling good, but it sounds really interesting.

    I had two good friends tell me they sometimes can't understand me when I talk because I talk kind of fast and my words jumble together. I try to slow down, but it's a lifetime of habit, you know? I tell them it's because of my fast-paced home state...where you live now...our own kind of accent.

  2. Oh my goodness these ideas are so good. I had started out with a 1-month food storage, then increased it to 6 weeks.

    I feel motivated to go for the whole year now! RAWR!


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