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Old 01-03-2012, 01:08 PM
Phawx Phawx is offline
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Default Unique food storage challenge...

Due to custody arrangements and school, I have a unique food storage challenge that I'd like your thoughts on. For starters, some background: My current goal is to build up a 3 month food storage, consisting only of the foods we actually eat. So none of the dehydrated canned goods, I don't store wheat (yet) since I don't have the time for homemade breads and this plan does depend on weekly trips to the co-op market for fruits and veggies, as well as the market for milk & cream. I have a large freezer and will be purchasing meat from the farmer for 3 months at a time. So basically its more about stocking up on the storable basics rather than planning for disaster. Now for the challenge...

I'd really LIKE to make this work for both...stocking up for our normal daily lives as well as a back-up food storage for preparedness sake. But, my kids normally eat school lunch every day and they spend a great deal of time at their Dad's. So in any given month, if I were to fix every meal for which they are actually in my home, it averages out to 20 breakfasts, 4 lunches, and 17 dinners. While even during some disasters I imagine their time with Dad would not disappear completely and possibly not even school, but how do I prepare for it if it does? While the breakfast foods could be stretched rather easily, dinner proportions would have to be cut in half and there simply wouldn't BE food for lunches. For the record, I know for certain Dad doesn't have any plans for food storage, he's simply not that guy, so in certain situations it really would be up to me to feed them, regardless of custody agreements.

Any thoughts? Do I need to give in a store an overabundance of doable, even if not desirable, back up meals that store longer so I don't worry about waste? Any of you in a similar situation have any words of advice for me?
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Old 01-03-2012, 01:15 PM
Pixelated Pixelated is offline
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I am not in your situation, but my food storage for my family is things that we actually use. Most of it is canned or bottled. I don't have meal plans for the food in my storage but if we were hungry enough we could make a meal out of it. But it is stuff that we go through quickly and so I don't feel about about buying it in bulk. It has taken years but I finally know how much of each thing I need to buy at the case lot sale. Some things I have to buy more than one case of, some things I only buy 1 case.

Bottled grape juice
canned peaches
apple sauce
Tomato sauce
various pastas
Spaghetti sauce
canned beans
Cream soups
canned soup
Canned chicken
Ketchup
Canned/bottled fruit
Tuna fish

I also keep plenty of TP and cleaning supplies and water down there.

I do have some freeze dried meat that we will only open if it is really an emergency. It was pricey but makes me feel better that we will have some meat if we need it.
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Old 01-03-2012, 01:24 PM
ChelC ChelC is offline
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Could you rely on some of the dehydrated things to fill in those gaps in the event of an emergency situation?

So you'd have your 3 month supply of things you actually use, but just in case, you store some canned items that could fill in those potential gaps. Would that work for you?
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Old 01-03-2012, 01:29 PM
ChelC ChelC is offline
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I think I misunderstood you now that I reread that. You know that's an option but would like to avoid it without worrying about spoilage of the things you normally eat.

I think I'd probably do both. Store some back up things for emergencies, but look for ways to increase the shelf life of the things you'd rather have. There are some things that could be held longer with a food saver. Have you looked into that? Without knowing what you regularly eat, it's hard to give suggestions, but vacuum sealing some things dramatically increases their shelf life.
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Old 01-03-2012, 01:45 PM
Phawx Phawx is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChelC View Post
I think I misunderstood you now that I reread that. You know that's an option but would like to avoid it without worrying about spoilage of the things you normally eat.

I think I'd probably do both. Store some back up things for emergencies, but look for ways to increase the shelf life of the things you'd rather have. There are some things that could be held longer with a food saver. Have you looked into that? Without knowing what you regularly eat, it's hard to give suggestions, but vacuum sealing some things dramatically increases their shelf life.
I do have a Food Saver, though I've not used it lately. Kinda forgot about it actually

My biggest dilemma is that if I store for 3 months worth of meals as we normally eat now, we will be terribly short on food in the event of an emergency requiring me to feed my kids 3 meals a day for the same 3 month time period. Yet if I store food for 3 meals a day for 3 months, over the course of that 3 months, there is a lot of food that may spoil. Many of the foods I do purchase don't have a shelf life much longer than that.

Adding yet another layer to the challenge, for 10 weeks during the summer, my kids live with their Dad, and I only see them a few days every other weekend. Perhaps I'm just overthinking this whole thing...
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Old 01-03-2012, 01:57 PM
ChelC ChelC is offline
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I would probably just make a reasonable effort on the 3 month supply, but get a few longer storing items to fill in the blanks in case of emergency.
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Old 01-03-2012, 02:33 PM
JulieE- JulieE- is offline
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Honestly if I were you I'd try to work up to having a 3 month supply assuming they'd be with you the whole time. Worst case you would have extra food-which is not a bad thing! Plus most canned/boxed foods would be good much longer than 3 months anyways. Dh is a fireman and is gone a lot-but I still assume for food storage purposes that he will be home. Plus who knows if there were an earthquake or something and he would be gone (he says a minimum of 2 weeks)-but I also know that since we live close to his station I may end up feeding ALL the firemen some during that time. I think as long as you don't get hoarder crazy with food storage you will only benefit from having a little extra.
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Old 01-03-2012, 03:46 PM
Candi Candi is offline
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You could start by doing the 3-month plan as you are now - assuming meals with the kids only part time. Then just add a few longer-term storage things that could fill in and beef up meals if needed and wouldn't spoil - like white rice, oats, sugar, white flour, maybe some dehydrated veggies, powdered milk, dry beans (all things that have a 10+ year shelf life). Even just a couple of cans of dry beans and dry rice could probably stretch your modified 3-month supply to much longer without too much trouble. Pasta also has a very long shelf-life and can be easily added to meals to stretch them.

Maybe if you did your 3-month as you've stated, and then perhaps add 4 #10 cans beans, 4 #10 cans pasta and 4 #10 cans rice? The LDS dry pack storage will give you a storage box for every 6 cans - they are about 2.5ft x 1.5ft x 10in. If you get 12 cans of some long-term stuff you'd only need to store two of those boxes, which wouldn't take up much room (could easily fit under a bed or on the floor of a closet). And those are all things you could buy, stick in a storage spot and then basically forget for 20 years without worrying about spoilage...

Don't get too frustrated, and don't give up. It can be really daunting at first. Just take little steps here and there, and it will come together before you know it. Even just having 1 week's worth of extra food is better than none at all!

And just know that as you get more familiar with your likes, dislikes, storage space, wants and needs, your ideas about what you want to store may change over time, and that's TOTALLY okay - it really is kind of a work in progress. There were a lot of things that I thought I needed to store at first, that I found out later we didn't really use or want and were just taking up space. And then there were other things that I found I really DID want to store, that weren't necessarily on the standard list. There's no one right or wrong way to do it - the BEST way is whatever way works best for you and your particular situation.
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Old 01-03-2012, 04:06 PM
bluebooks bluebooks is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phawx View Post
Due to custody arrangements and school, I have a unique food storage challenge that I'd like your thoughts on. For starters, some background: My current goal is to build up a 3 month food storage, consisting only of the foods we actually eat. So none of the dehydrated canned goods, I don't store wheat (yet) since I don't have the time for homemade breads and this plan does depend on weekly trips to the co-op market for fruits and veggies, as well as the market for milk & cream. I have a large freezer and will be purchasing meat from the farmer for 3 months at a time. So basically its more about stocking up on the storable basics rather than planning for disaster. Now for the challenge...

I'd really LIKE to make this work for both...stocking up for our normal daily lives as well as a back-up food storage for preparedness sake. But, my kids normally eat school lunch every day and they spend a great deal of time at their Dad's. So in any given month, if I were to fix every meal for which they are actually in my home, it averages out to 20 breakfasts, 4 lunches, and 17 dinners. While even during some disasters I imagine their time with Dad would not disappear completely and possibly not even school, but how do I prepare for it if it does? While the breakfast foods could be stretched rather easily, dinner proportions would have to be cut in half and there simply wouldn't BE food for lunches. For the record, I know for certain Dad doesn't have any plans for food storage, he's simply not that guy, so in certain situations it really would be up to me to feed them, regardless of custody agreements.

Any thoughts? Do I need to give in a store an overabundance of doable, even if not desirable, back up meals that store longer so I don't worry about waste? Any of you in a similar situation have any words of advice for me?
The great thing about a three-month supply is that most of those foods can be stored longer than 3 months. For example, you might only eat pancakes every Saturday (which is 13 times in three months). However, you could store enough pancake mix for 91 days' worth of Saturdays which could be eaten daily for a three-month emergency breakfast if you needed it. So, I would store extra of things you do eat in order to bring your totals up. You would still be rotating through those things quickly enough for them to not spoil.

Clear as mud?

Here is a better example. Maybe your kids eat one can of ravioli every Saturday at your home for lunch. Instead of only storing 13 cans (three-months' worth), store 91 (13 weeks times 7 days). That would give you enough that in an emergency they could have ravioli every day for lunch for 13 weeks. But if there never was an emergency and you only continue eating one can each Saturday, you'd still be able to rotate through all 91 cans within two years and also well within the expiration date. No waste and you've stored exactly what you eat!

In an emergency, I think they would get tired of eating Ravioli every day. So, if you could use the same concept with several possibilities (i.e. 46 cans of Ravioli - what they usually eat on Saturday; and 45 cans of Tuna - what they usually eat on Sunday), it would help add variety to the emergency situation.

Last edited by bluebooks; 01-03-2012 at 04:17 PM. Reason: To try and clarify.
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  #10  
Old 01-03-2012, 04:25 PM
bluebooks bluebooks is offline
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This worksheet might help you organize your three-month supply:

http://iprepared.blogspot.com/2011/0...-worsheet.html
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