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Thursday, July 12, 2012

One Method for Organizing Your 3 Month's Supply

Here is a great article about one woman's method for making sure she has a 3-month's supply of shelf-stable food.  She showed them off during a Relief Society class.

("Shelf-stable" means it doesn't need refrigeration.)

In my food storage, I have taken the boxes from the cannery that hold 6 #10 cans, and I put a week's worth of dinners in one box, repeating 13 times, to get a 3 month supply of dinners. I did the same for breakfast and lunch.

I took a box of each meal to my class, and unpacked them, talking about what I chose and why.

For example, I packed this into a dinner box. I don't have it in front of me, so I may be forgetting some things that round it out better.

*2 meals of what we call Spanish Rice...rice, tomato sauce, a packet of seasonings including dried onion, pinto beans, etc. Those ingredients are stored in a gallon ziploc, in the boxes.
*2 meals of pasta and sauce, complete with parmesan cheese and canned veggies.
*Chicken helper with canned chicken.
*Canned chili and cornbread mix.
*A boxed meal, one pot kind of thing by Stauffers. They are really high in sodium and fat, but it would keep us alive if we had nothing else to eat.
*Spaghetti O's and canned veggies to fill in for the kids, if they don't want to eat something one night.
There are also some odds and ends that I included because of extra space, like a box of Stove Top stuffing mix, candies and gum, etc.

My approach is somewhat unique though. I have those meals safely stored, they are completely shelf stable, somewhat well thought out nutritionally, and will last about a year. The dates of packaging are clearly marked on the outside. I'm not rotating through them on a monthly basis, as many people do. But I don't feed my family shelf stable meals usually. They are not as healthy as what we usually eat. We eat way too much produce and other short term items to make it realistic for us to store a 3 month supply of what we usually eat, but it will be a great variety if we need to live off of it.

The sisters responded well to my display, as I explained clearly that I have 13 boxes of each meal stacked in my garage. I described my method for coming up with a list of things to buy, by planning out a week's worth of meals and including every ingredient needed. Then I multiply the ingredient list by 13, and pack complete meals together, a week's worth at a time.

After losing 3 freezers and 2 refrigerators worth of food in January's 4 day power outage (Western Washington), I refuse to count my freezers as part of my three month supply. We lost hundreds of dollars worth of meat and fruit, not to mention the other odds and ends. 

Shelf stable. Not as nutritious as produce, but it would do in a pinch.  My goal was to get the food on the shelves, and as I rotate through it (donate what we don't eat to the food bank before it expires) I'll be able to replace more nutritious foods for some of the less nutritious stuff I already have. It works for us! It's insurance.

I have to add...we have a LOT more stored in our pantry and on a storage unit of "every day foods" that we pull from. Canned beans, canned veggies, bags of oats, pasta, jam, peanut butter, canned meats, etc. Really, I'd say we have an 8 month supply of every day foods stored for our family of 5, because I did our official 3 month supply in handy, movable boxes. I guess the box idea came to me for an "official" way to know we had that food storage, organized into complete meals.

1 comment:

  1. Great way to organize you 13 weeks of shelf stable meals!

    Using meats, vegetables and fruits that you can yourself improves the nutritional content greatly! You can use low fat meats and reduce or leave out sodium and sugar.