There are a number of reasons to start storing food in bulk. Whether you’re storing for the current (or the next) pandemic or experimenting with a canning hobby, food storage is a great way to bulk up your preparedness.
When getting started there are some key basics worth keeping in mind as you begin your food storage adventure. Here are some useful tips to help get you started:
Pick Nutritional Foods to Store
When it comes to which specific foods to store in bulk, evaluating your relationship with food can and should impact your food storage project. It can be tempting to store foods that are long-lasting but aren’t necessarily beneficial in terms of nutrition, for example, such as candy and jars of Nutella. And don’t be fooled, Twinkies actually don’t have a long shelf-life despite what you may have heard.
Of course, food storage doesn’t have to be all dried beans and dehydrated meats, either. Not only does that get boring, it likely isn’t enough to meet all of your body’s needs. While a bit of junk food is ultimately harmless, trying focusing instead on including more home-canned fruits and vegetables and multi-functional choices, such as flaxseed. Keep in mind that these options are best for short-term storage, but they’re easy to keep on a rotation to help avoid spoiling in the long-term.
By having a healthy relationship with food, you can develop a more well-rounded, nutritional food storage supply that isn’t simply full of junk food and will ensure your supplies fulfill all of your needs. The idea behind a healthy food relationship is to make choices that better fuel your body and mind. Not only to keep you healthy, but to also help reduce your risk of heart disease and other severe health problems that excessive junk consumption can lead to. When it comes to being aptly prepared, focus less on fad diets and trends when building up your food storage and more on your specific nutritional needs.
Think Outside the Box
The images that come to mind when thinking about food storage might include mostly staples such as rice and flour. While these are definitely a great addition to any food storage system, expanding your long-term pantry will ensure you’re prepared for a variety of situations.
For example, alcohol is a multi-use product that stores well for extended periods of time. Alcohol can be used in cooking, cleaning, and can even help take care of poison ivy growing in your yard. Moderate alcohol consumption also has the potential to reduce your risk of heart disease and diabetes.
However, when you’re storing alcohol, the standards of storage can be a bit tricky. For example, the best way to store wine is in a cool, dark, and fairly humid place. The ideal temperature is around 55 degrees Fahrenheit with a humidity of around 50 to 70%. This prevents the wine from oxidizing and worsening the quality so it’s definitely worth storing it correctly, especially if you plan to keep your wine in your long-term food storage.
Stick to Sustainable Storage
What you store your food in is just as important as what you store. Incorporating sustainability into your food storage by upcycling old jars and cans is not only beneficial to the environment, but glass, unlike plastic storage containers, doesn’t run any chemical leeching risks and is more durable all around.
It’s also equally important to invest in high-quality and long-lasting tools for your food storage project that can handle long term storage and use. Investing in essential long-lasting tools such as mixers, electric mills, and pressure cookers reduces waste by decreasing how often they must be replaced. Furthermore, it’s better to have items you trust will work, especially in difficult times, rather than whatever was cheapest at the store.
Take Baby Steps
Cost and space can be a huge factor for those wanting to start storing food in bulk. However, it’s worth keeping in mind that most people don’t build an impressive food storage system overnight. To keep costs (and your stress levels) low, work slowly, but consistently.
Take a look at your shopping budget each week — are there a spare few dollars that can be spent on supplies? It’s a lot easier on your wallet to spread your food storage purchases across multiple trips, rather than trying to get everything at once. You also might not need to purchase as many supplies as you think.
At the beginning of your project, try enlisting the help of a food storage calculator that can help you figure out approximately how much you need based on the number of people in your family. You could also try growing a lot of your food supply.
For example, tomatoes are extremely easy to grow, nutritionally rich, and can be used in a variety of canning recipes. Herbs are also easy to grow, you can do it from a windowsill, and then dried and made into spices. An important element of food storage preparedness involves understanding the basics of at-home food growth, cooking, and preservation.
Learning the ropes of storing food in bulk is a lot easier when you utilize the basics. Try experimenting with different foods and processes to see what works best for you and your family. Either way, you’ll be ensuring that you’re better prepared for whatever comes next.