One of the principles of sustainable living is to improve your self-reliance. If you want to save money, as well as improve your ability to handle financial setbacks, one of the things you can do is build home food storage. I’m not talking about stockpiling junk food and Gatorade, a la extreme couponing. I’m talking about building a viable home food storage system that can help you prepare for the future, and improve your self-reliance.
How Home Food Storage Can Help You
We have home food storage at my house. We probably have enough food storage to last us four or five months (we are working up to a year’s worth, though). If something happens and we suffer a financial setback, we don’t have to worry as much about where we will get the money for food. We will be able to keep up with mortgage payments and pay our bills, and we can dip into our food storage as needed to alleviate some of the need to go shopping.
Additionally, food storage is a great way to prepare for natural disasters. If you are prevented from going to the store, or you are in a situation where a natural disaster has made it impractical for you to head to the store, your food storage can provide you with nutrition. We also like to keep a portion of our food storage accessible so that we can grab it quickly, just in case we have to evacuate unexpectedly.
Your home food storage system can help you prepare for emergencies, reduce your exposure to food prices inflation, and prepare your finances for a setback.
Tips for Creating Home Food Storage
You don’t have to build your home food storage all at once. Indeed, it should be a gradual attempt so as not to place financial burden on you. Here are some tips to help you systematically build your food storage:
- Start with the staples: Start out with the staples of your home’s food sources. Buy these things a little at a time. Purchase an extra bag of flour next time you go to the store. Buy three extra cans of beans, or two or three extra packages of frozen veggies. Gradually build, using the staples of your family’s meals. Make a list of what you want in your food storage, and buy something different each week.
- Store your food properly: Understand the proper conditions for storing your food. Try to keep it out of regular sunlight. Keep it the pantry, or in a cool, dry room in your home. We keep some of our food storage in the pantry upstairs, in the crawl space under the house, and in the freezer.
- Buy foods you will actually eat: Our food storage includes the makings of chili, pasta and sauce, frozen and dehydrated fruits and vegetables, and shelf-stable boxes of milk, among staples like flour, sugar, rice, and oats. These are all things we would actually eat. It’s important to make sure your food storage consists mainly of foods you are used to.
- Rotate the items in your food storage: Pay attention to expiration dates. You will need to rotate the items in your food storage. Part of the reason you should buy things your family will eat is so that you can prepare meals from your food storage. When you use an item near its expiration, you can replace it during your next trip to the store.
It’s also worth noting that you can freeze or bottle your own produce. I recently bottled applesauce made from the fruit of our apple tree, and added it to our foods storage. It’s also possible to bottle tomatoes, and freeze corn, peas, and beans.
With the right planning, you can create a home food storage that prepares you for the future — and is largely sustainable.