Tuesday, July 30, 2013

What Would You Learn From Living off Your Food Storage For 30 Days?

Calendar Card - January
source:Joe Lanman

Have you ever wondered how complete your food storage is?  What holes you would find if you were living exclusively out of what you have stored?

Earlier this year my good friend, Sariah, decided to live exclusively out of her food storage for 30 days.  She started with the food in her house and didn’t buy any food (grocery store or restaurant food) for 30 days.  She did use the food she had in her fridge and freezer but they were both on the low side when she started.   No eating out or grocery shopping - for a full month.  What did she learn?

  • Store a lot more fruit!  Sariah had no idea how much fruit they would go through.  They snacked on it, put it in oatmeal, added it to muffins, and used it in smoothies.   Before this exercise she thought that she had a lot of fruit stored but found that they needed a LOT more.  So what can you do?  I recommend a three pronged approach
  • Fruits
    source: .v1ctor Casale.
    • Freeze fruit while it is in season.
    • Plant fruit trees/bushes in your yard.  I think of this as perpetual food storage because you store replenished each year.  At our house we have grapes, strawberries, peaches, apples, apricots, and raspberries. 
    • Add freeze dried fruit to your pantry and food storage.
  • Greens are hard to come by in the winter.  Sariah and her family did their 30 day food storage challenge in the winter and they live in an area of the country where snow and freezing temperatures are a part of life.  Fresh lettuce and other greens are hard to add to you food storage and are impossible to find/grow in the deep winter.   So what can you do?
  • schoolhouse 2
    • Store seed sprouting supplies.   At my house we really like alfalfa and mung beans.  I use this one from Amazon.  It isn’t perfect but it is inexpensive and gets the job done.  We have been very happy with it. 
    • Add freeze dried spinach to your food storage.  Freeze dried spinach will not make you a great salad but it is great to add to soups, lasagna, casseroles, scrambled eggs, etc. 
    • Freeze spinach and chard.   I love to freeze spinach as spinach pesto, and I like to freeze greens for green smoothies in advance so all I have to do it throw it in the blender.   Frozen greens won’t make a great salad but they will give you some great vitamins.
  •  Sariah learned that if you kids don’t like something normally they still won’t like it in your food storage.   One of the things I hear most often when I talk to groups about food storage is:  “If they are hungry enough they will eat it”  I guess my kids have never been hungry enough because with the foods they really dislike they would rather be hungry and super winy then eat something weird.  Sariah ran into the same problem a couple of times and it really has emphasized to me how important it is to store food your family will eat happily.  What you can do.
    • Store foods your family likes
    • Store high quality foods.   When you are buying food storage ask yourself “would I feed this to my family tonight?”  If the answer is no then you might want to reconsider your purchase.  
  •   You need a breakfast plan other than cold cereal.   Breakfast is tricky for a lot of us.  You and you kids are probably used to eating cold cereal.  But in a situation where you will be eating out of your food storage cold cereal will not be an option.  So what can you do? 
    • Figure out what cooked breakfasts your family likes.  I really love grits but my kids think they are poison, so grits are not a great addition to our food storage.  I have found that making my own instant oatmeal, is a great way to help the kids eat food storage for breakfast.  We also really like: 
      • Scrambled Egg make from Scrambled Egg Mix
      • Biscuits and Gravy (make with Freeze Dried Sausage)
      • breakfast: menemen
        source:  Paul Keller
      • Chocolate Malt-o-meal
  • Butter is delicious and really hard to store.
source:  Greenmelinda
For real butter you have two options for storing.  Have it in the freezer or buy a cow.  Both of those options have some downsides.  There are other options including,  
§  Commercially Canned butter—like Red Feather is very expensive
§  Powdered Butter-(which I store), has some of the fat removed in the processing and is a fine substitute but will never be as good as real butter
§  Shelf Stable UHT cream, with this you can make your own butter, but it is kind of hard to find and pricy to store in quantity. 

All of these options have limited shelf life, and can be very pricy to store in bulk.  As Sariah started her food storage experiment she counted how many sticks of butter she had in her freezer and rationed them out.    Even though butter is delicious on toast don’t forget to store other fats too.  Vegetable Oil, Olive Oil, and Shortening and all reasonably priced and can be stored for a reasonable amount of time.  I buy all I need for the year at Sam’s club and keep it stored in a cool dark place.  (You can read about how I store fats and oils here). 

Sometimes I see the idea of home canned butter floating around the internet.  Just know it is NOT safe to can butter at home you run a huge risk of botulism poisoning (which is very quick acting and fatal).  It just isn’t worth the risk.  Don’t do it.   

How would your food storage stand up to a 30 day challenge?  What holes would you find? 


  1. Very, very informative article! Thank you.

  2. I just read this Heather. I LOVE these tips! Thank you to both you and Sariah. I think I'm kinda scared to try that kind of an experiment...maybe sometime soon. But I'm glad I'll have these tips before I start. I will be linking to this soon!