Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Food storing rambles

I’m not quite sure what to do with myself this week. Last week was so insanely busy and this week is very calm.

Friday my husband went to Costco and picked up many food items. My goal is to have a year worth of food in our house at all times. This will vary and it will still take me some time to figure out what all we really need of each thing for a year. But I love the idea of having that much food on hand. There are a few things I know we do have a years worth of now. I wanted to start with items that there’s no way we can ever grow in Alaska, like coffee and sugar. These would also make good barter items if the poopy hits the fan or we simply get cut off from the world for what ever reason.

Saturday he went to the local Mormon canning place to get more canned items. These will be things we won’t rotate, but simply keep for a rainy day. 6 #10 cans fit into a nice sized box, so I’ve begun to get 6 cans of each item I buy. 6 cans of pintos, 6 cans of rice, sugar, wheat berries, and so on. We have only gone there 2x so far but my husband is not heading up our little group of church friends and some other friends and family for those interested.

I have not done a full inventory of what we have, and I realize that if we really can’t go to the store to buy bread, I’ll go through wheat berries a lot faster. If we get cut off from power I won’t have a mill, so it’s on my “to get” list. My sister and I share our current electric Nutra Mill and love it, but would like to have a hand mill too.

I started saving my coffee cans this year too and decided to use them to hold my sugar, as sugar in paper bags can easily get moist and then harden. I have about 12 coffee cans full of sugar and another few 10# bags full. This won’t cover any we will need for the bees this spring and for any wine my husband might like to make, so sugar is definitely something we need more of.

I have 12 extra cans of coffee now too, I marked when we opened them and it takes just about one month to go through a can, making one pot per day and on occasion 2 pots.

I have 4 25lb bags of wheat berries which I know would be plenty for one year at my regular baking rate, but would go much faster if we made it more.

I have a few varieties of beans that we’ve started getting 25lbs at a time. This saves on money, but you then have to have a place to store all of them. I still don’t have a good storage solution. I have been saving icecream buckets and they are handy sizes, but when our last 50lb bag of rice broke many are being used to hold that.

I have various kinds of grain to mill for bread or to cook, etc. Hard wheat, soft wheat, spelt, kamut, millet, corn and then rolled oats, quick oats, and about 75lbs of white flour.

I was doing a sort of haphazard collection up until now, but now that I know I actually have a years worth of some of the items I’ve begun working on an Excel spreadsheet to try to keep track of what, how much, how often we use things and then how much we have and how much we need to get.

One of the big ticket items we need for a year is goat grain. Those girls eat a lot and need a lot to produce a decent amount of milk and then babies to sell or eat. We don’t have nearly a years worth of grain for them or the chickens or hay which will have to be a summer purchase normally for best pricing.

This summer we will try bees and rabbits as well. I’m hopeful that rabbits will be our new favorite meat as they re-produce so quickly, and (brace yourself, this is gross) but chickens like to eat rabbit droppings as they don’t fully digest their food. So hopefully if we feed rabbits their droppings will help feed the chickens. We plan to put their cage in the chicken run.

Well, there are some of my mind rambling thought on food storage. Not very organized, but a few thoughts. I know we have a ways to go, bit in only about 8 months of trying to stick to a cash grocery budget AND stock up on food I think we’ve done pretty well. (We have spent extra on different occasions.)

buckets of spelt and kamut


Linda said...

Wow. Amazing. I also don't know how much to actually store for a full year. I'm constantly buying more. Did you ever have a look at the Latter Day Saints food storage handbook? Its online in PDF format. They have lots of things my family wouldn't eat but the booklet is pretty informational.

I'm not sure how well this would work for sugar but some restaurants put rice in their salt shakers in summer. I was thinking of putting rice in a muslin bag, then in the sugar containers during the humid months.

Anonymous said...

Linda, have you ever been to www.frontiersurvival.net ? They have a food storage calculator on their site. You type in the number of people in your home and it tells you how many pounds of each food item they think you may need for a year. It is a good starting point, you would have to determine what other items you may need that they don't list, or you may want more of something. It is helping me to figure out how many lbs of grain and beans to shoot for, otherwise, I would have no idea.

Country Jane said...

My friend next door who got me into the Mormon canning dates everything she buys and I started doing that last summer. Just that alone helps a lot to judge when you need a new bottle of oil for example and how long ago you bought that other one. Becasue I started using Organic Coconut oil last fall and lard I have used far less canola and vegetable oil. I really like the coconut oil and the lard. When you open the product date it again. I have a ton of Sharpies that the children do not use because of fear of death.

Linda said...

Thanks for the tip Anonymous! I hqdn't heard of that site. Will go check it out now.

Andrea said...

I love bean! I started some in my garden, I cant wait to see your goats and rabbits :)
I cannot comment on storaging food, me and my husband end up giving half of everything we cooked to the neighbors. we both eat little, but I am learning for when the children will come! glad I found blogs like yours :)