I got myself into a heck of a project last night after work.
For a long time I’ve been very interested in the concepts of preparedness (even prior to 9-11), survivalism, self-sufficiency, voluntary simplicity and food storage. I blame my mother. (In a good way, of course.) We grew most of our food when I lived on the homestead growing up – she was a canning, freezing, drying, storing maniac. We had a pantry that most Mormons and pioneer women would covet – completely filled with organic, homegrown produce; jars of dry mixes for everything from pancakes to pudding; homemade applesauce and apple butter, a freezer full of corn and beans and homemade pies… It was simply amazing. So I’ve always had this feeling that I should have a pantry that mimics what she demonstrated for us as children. It’s only prudent and responsible.
I don’t have a garden (because I rent my house), but this summer I hope to begin the journey into canning and preserving. We have two amazing farmers markets here in town, and I can stock up on fresh produce to preserve there. I hope to make jams from fresh huckleberries, jar some zebra tomatoes and maybe some beans, make homemade applesauce and apple butter… the list goes on.
However, this is not to say that my own food storage is lacking. The project I found myself in the middle of at 10 pm last night was inventorying my food storage. I’ve been using an online program called TrackMyFoodStorage.com. I like that it tracks expiration dates, compares your goals to your actual storage, and just helps with the orderly organization that I crave in my life. It may not be the “be-all-end-all” of tracking systems, but it serves my purposes.
I got about two-thirds of the way through my kitchen. My short-term goal is to have six months of food stored up. And I think I’m just about there… I still have to inventory my cereals cabinet, baking cabinet (which includes things like pasta, couscous, mix packets, etc – I just call it the baking cabinet, but it’s a total misnomer) and my drink mixes. But below is my goal comparison. I think once I get these last three cabinets in the system, it’ll show that I have six months pretty much complete. That’s a great feeling! Now I can move on to the full year’s supply goal. (I really need a store room! My kitchen is bursting at the seams!)
In an ideal world, all my food would be organic and self-produced. But I live in the real world where food is expensive, and increasing in cost every day. Some of my food is organic, some conventional – but when the SHTF, it’ll be the sustinence that I’ll be interested in. And for the most part, a bulk of the food is “whole” – not processed. I do have a few boxes of prepared rice, couscous and stuff like that… but very little in comparison to the whole.
So I’m feeling really good about my progress right now. I need to stock up on pet food, too, so my furry companions are as prepared as I am. Maybe I’ll take a break from people food for the next month and focus on animal food. I certainly wouldn’t want my fuzzy family to go hungry!