Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Food Storage!!!!!! (Yet Another Way to Fight Hunger In America!)

I love food storage and we just got ours! Food storage kind of has a bad reputation in some ways. There's a Calvin Grondahl cartoon that pretty much sums it up for most people: "Who wants seconds on food storage?" (a.k.a dried watermelon rinds). The other thing most people think of when they think of food storage is hoarding massive amounts of food that they wouldn't know how to use (or want to eat) if there ever was an emergency. And then there are the Doomsday prepper types who are consumed by fears of government takeover, natural disaster or pandemic disease and give that as the reason why everyone should have food storage. Food storage kind of has a bad reputation, but I am actually really excited about food storage!

One of the biggest reasons to have food storage on hand (in my humble opinion) isn't government takeover or natural disasters or pandemic illness, it's simply to help us weather the financial ups and downs that sometimes happen and are more likely to occur than martial law or a massive earthquake. I think that's the thing some people do is they get so caught up in being anxious about what the future could bring that they forget to take care of today's issues. A couple of weeks ago we were wishing we had food storage because Malamute's check arrived a few days later than we were expecting and we had to tighten the belt a bit. Most families in America who suffer from hunger get in that situation because finances get tight and they have bills to pay and can't afford to buy food. (Like mine did growing up.) If more people took the example of Joseph from the Old Testament who advised Pharaoh to start setting food aside during a time of plenty in order to prepare for a time of famine, I think we would have fewer hungry families. It certainly would have helped when I was a hungry kid.

There are a number of things we are in need of right now as we are trying to get out, but we decided that we would make food storage a priority so we could be better prepared for any ebbs and flows that might come with his work. Another nice thing is that it makes our weekly grocery budget stretch further.

So why am I so stoked about food storage? It's because I'm excited to eat the stuff we have stored! Two things are crucial in building good food storage:

1) Know how to use it. A certain relative by marriage that I happen to live with also has food storage. She has several cans of grain and a few of dried beans. She doesn't use these either of these ingredients on a regular basis and has no idea how to cook with them. I'm not sure her food storage will do much good if there is an emergency. One of the best investments you can make is to get a high quality grain grinder so you can mill your own flour from whole grains. Grains keep much better than flour and your freshly milled flour will taste sooooo much better and be more nutritious. Learning how to make dishes from beans is really good to know too. You can make hummus from chickpeas (a.k.a garbanzo beans), crockpot soup from black beans, spiced ethnic dishes from lentils. You can even make desserts like Chocolate Covered Katie's Deep Dish Cookie Pie from chickpeas. =)

2) USE IT! You need to store food you actually use and you need to make your food storage a living, breathing thing by using and replacing the food on a regular basis. Our food storage is basically large, storable quantities of things we normally eat. We bought some things that store well (like grains and dried beans) in yearly quantities. We have other things we eat a lot of like seeds, nuts, and dried fruit that don't keep well long term so we have bought them in three month quantities and will replace quarterly or as needed if they last longer.

Our yearly food storage includes spelt, kamut, organic white and red wheat, oats, chickpeas, black beans, Himalayan Salt, and yellow split peas. We also have yearly amounts of baking soda and borax for cleaning and making laundry detergent and Dr. Bronner's Soap for body wash and shampoo. Our quarterly food storage includes things like coconut cream concentrate, Bragg's raw Apple Cider Vinegar, raw honey, raw agave nectar, coconut sugar, maple syrup, sucanat, molasses (I like to have a variety of sweeteners on hand for making treats) raisins, dates, cashews, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, dried cranberries, coconut chips, raw cacao powder, carob powder, slivered almonds for making almond butter, dried unsulphured apricots, and dried figs. No dried watermelon rinds for us!

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