I received an email from a friend asking how we do food storage. I've been thinking ever since how to response, then I decided to do a post, because although we (my husband and I) are by no means experts, we have started, and we try and sometimes starting is the most intimidating thing. Especially when money doesn't seem very plentiful. Maybe someone else will find it useful too. If I didn't answer the right questions, she can email me back, and ask more or anyone else too.
First off, here is the Church's link to food storage.
A great place to start is 72 hour kits. That is where my husband and I started because our first bishop being married told everyone in his ward to get 72 hour kits. You can buy them, for lots of money. Or you can easily make them. I'm sure googling making 72 hour kits will give you lots of hits. I guess they are suppose to be 96 hour ones though now. My mom bought us some for Christmas one year, but we really need to add them and update them.
Next water is extremely important. Plus easy, its easy to collect water in your closet. Don't buy water in milk jugs because those decompose super quick. Either buy containers made for storage of water, or use things that are heavier like juice and soda plastic containers. If you use those make sure all the sugars are washed off or they will go moldy like ours. We figured that out in the move. We need to do water again, we will have no water to drink if something happens. Hey thanks for emailing me its reminding me of everything I need to do. If you are putting water in old juice containers don't put bleach in it, like you sometimes hear. Our tap drinking water has plenty of preservative chemicals. To me it seems like you could really never have enough water saved up. If you only have one gallon of water per person for 72 hours, you better hope your emergency gets solved quick. Not to mention, hope its not too hot. Water is so important in survival, especially like me being pregnant, I try to drink at least 64 ounces of water a day, in addition to other liquids. So the more water the better.
After that, I would start with short term food storage. My husband was totally ready to do food storage from basically the time we got home of our honeymoon, and I figured you have kids and money first, I was wrong. We started small in the beginning, because that is the way finances work and the way I worked. I hated food storage in the beginning, I thought it was so stupid to buy food to sit in your closet for 40 years. I told Brent we are only buying food we can rotate. So we went to case lot sales and stocked up on can food that we eat. There are plenty of people who can't go out and spend an extra $200 on food that month, so start slow. Looked at what we ate and started with one case or two. I know a lot of areas don't have case lot sales at their local grocery store, because most people in the US don't care about food storage, heck probably most of the people commanded to care don't even care. Just like how I was. We started with the types of can food I make casseroles out of in the winter. Even if it wasn't on some sort of church food storage list. We got things like chili, and corn. I don't know it depends on what you and your family eat on what you would buy. If you don't have case lot sales in the area, watch ads for when can food goes on sale, say like chili, when it drops under a $1 and buy as many as you can afford to get extra that month. Skip one night out at dinner than you normally wouldn't or something. Although this isn't the wheat type stuff that you hear about at church, its extremely useful, because if something happens, like a natural disaster for just a few days you aren't going to want to bust open your wheat. You got to be pretty hungry to want to bust open a gallon size can of pinto beans. I doubt three days of power, and road outages are going to do it. Not to mention, if something changes in your financial situation you also won't want to necessarily get into your long term food storage. Whether someone gets laid off, or you have an unexpected car bill, that you can't really afford, things like cans of chili, or tomato paste and such, that you can make dinners out, can really help offset tight finances. I truly believe food storage is not just for when everyone needs it, but also for when individual family circumstances need it, because its not a year, or month of plenty for the family. To me if something happened like someone losing a job, or someone being out of work for an injury if you had a good supply of food storage, it would be a blessing. Life would seem much better, if you didn't have to go to the bishop and say we need food, as humans I think we like to be self sufficient, and food storage helps in that. So that's first, short term food storage. Obviously you need to rotate things like tomato paste every few years, so we stock up, and use them, then once they are rather low we stock up again. We had a winter of plenty last year, so our short term food storage was barely been touched, so we didn't need to stock up again this fall. Not to mention, its really nice not have to run to the store to make something like burritos or spaghetti. For example my son and I love kraft Mac and Cheese, so what I should do is stock up a little at a time, until I have like a million boxes, because I would be almost positive that my two year old is not going what to eat whats in a 72 hour kit if a disaster happens, and we are still at home. Also Sam's or Costco is a good way to stock up on food storage, even if you don't have a card, usually a family member or a friend is more than happy to take them with you, and let them piggy back on their card. Just make sure you bring cash, because they have to pay for it with their debt card if not. Note on small children and 72 hour kits, make sure you have lots of diapers if case of an emergency.
Long term food storage like wheat is a different story. I hated long term food storage, I told my husband we would not buy anything from the cannery unless I could use it, so wheat was out, we got things like black beans, and potato flakes maybe? I can't remember but two years ago I would have described myself as anti food storage. Kicking my feet the whole time, then I went to fine you can get whatever you want but I'm not apart of it, food storage is your deal. I thought buying a bunch of wheat when you get into your first house, to move from house to house, until all your kids go to college is stupid, and I didn't want to do it. So he started building up supplies. Luckily my husband was faithful in this matter, for my own salvation. I love marriage for that reason. Somethings he is good at, other things I'm good at, hopefully together, it will be good enough. Somewhere in the last 6 months, I've gained a testimony of food storage, and I don't really know how, but I tell my husband when I see wheat on sale and usually tell him to get one more 20 pound bag. In fact I almost bought some without him the other day, but I was worried lifting the bags would give me contractions so I just told him about it. I'm very gratiful that somewhere a long the lines, my heart changed. For a long time I said I won't get things like wheat until I know how to use them. I decided to do it the other way around. I can buy wheat now, and its better to have it, and learn later than not have it, and want to learn. I guess its like paying tithing, we start paying before we understand the law. Our next step personally is learning about grinding it into flour and starting to use it ourselves. If you have wheat I would think you want a manual and a electric grinder. We have a manual, but haven't gotten the electric, electric will take saving they are expensive. But I've heard coffee grinders will grind wheat, those are a lot cheaper, $20-30 at at your local box store but they only will last a few months if you are grind wheat, still a great place to start if you can't afford an electric one. To me you don't need to bake bread every day, to understand your food storage, just be able to, maybe do it a couple of times a month, because to me personally warm homemade bread is like desert. If you don't live somewhere that sells hard wheat at your local grocery store, Distribution services sells these great boxes kits. They are cheap too, we found a lot of time less expensive than what the grocery store sells. I think they even deliever free to your house, I don't know we just drive down the street to Distribution, we are spoiled when it comes to food storage, because of where we live. Other heads up about wheat, if you are planning to use it one day, you should prepare now, because it has too much fiber to go from never eating it to eating it every day. It will make you rather sick.
Also you may think we can't do food storage we don't have space. That's not true. You can get very creative with storage, or just take over one of your child's bedroom walls like we did in our last place. If something happens, and we are told by our priesthood leaders to use food storage I don't think our lack of space will be a good excuse. Not to mention, hopefully we never have to use food storage, I would die a happy women if I never had to break open my boxes of wheat. That doesn't mean we aren't still suppose to collect it. Whether something happens or not, I still think we will be held accountable for it when we die. The thing that just popped into my head, is from the parable of the talents, in Mathew 25, when he says, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord." (Although don't quote that as doctrine) To me, saying I don't have room or money, is no better than the servant who hid his talent in the ground because he was scared.
Hey, emailer this probably way more than you wanted, and don't think this is all directed at you. Its not really directed at anyone. Just a bunch of thoughts in general. You, is a rhetorical term.
Hopefully this was useful information to the emailer and also to other people. It probably has more than just one person was looking for, but I figure hey maybe other people are interested. I by no stretch of means think I'm expert, this is just the road we have taken for food storage since we got married.