Do you remember when Y2K was just around the corner and had many people worried about how our lives might be affected? More recently, many watched to see what the end of the year 2012 would bring. You might not be a doomsayer awaiting the Apocalypse, but that doesn’t mean you can’t benefit from having food storage. Many people have found that keeping and using food storage has been money-saving and even life-saving in times of job loss, natural disasters or other real life events.
However, before you run out and buy several 50 pound bags of wheat, consider some of these common food storage mistakes.
Lack of Variety
In an emergency situation, a well-planned food storage can help create a sense of normalcy for you and your family. We need a variety of foods for the nutrients they provide as well as to maintain our sanity. Store the foods you normally eat in a variety of forms including dried, freeze-dried, frozen and canned. An emergency situation is not the appropriate time to introduce yourself to new foods, but you also cannot expect to survive very long, nor very comfortably, on a diet that consists solely of home-made bread and powdered milk.
You should also include some junk foods or favorite snacks. Experts call these “psychological foods” because they help calm nerves and lessen stress. Also, if you have children, some treats will help boost morale in stressful times. Meals Ready to Eat (MREs) are also an important item to include in your storage. You may not have the energy nor the means to cook food in the early stages of an emergency situation.
Incorrect Storage of Food
Many people buy large sacks of flour or other bagged items and toss them in their pantry or basement for storage. Over time, these sacks are susceptible to moisture, insects and rodents. There are many storage containers available for food storage. Learn about the options and choose what best fits your needs. Many food storage companies sell freeze-dried or dehydrated foods in #10 tin cans because they are a convenient size and keep the food sealed from moisture and pests.
If possible, you should store food in a variety of areas within your home. That way, if a disaster destroys one food storage room or area, you have backup supplies to rely on.
Not Using Your Food Storage
You might think you have a one-year supply of food sitting in your basement just waiting for an emergency, only to discover that it has spoiled by the time you actually need it. Each time you buy new food, put it at the back of your storage and use the older items before they expire. Using your food storage items will also ensure that you know how to prepare the items you have stored. Many people have been proactive in storing large amounts of wheat, but unfortunately, they don’t know how to grind it and have never learned to bake bread.
As you cook with your stored items, you might realize important foods that are not included in your storage. Many people forget to store common cooking ingredients such as oil, shortening, seasonings, yeast and baking powder. It is difficult to cook anything without these items.
Start Small and Begin Today
While food storage may appear to be a huge undertaking, you don’t necessarily have to buy your entire one-year supply today. You can begin by buying a few extra food items each time you go to the store and choosing a place to store them. In addition, there are a variety of portioned food storage options sold by online emergency preparedness companies. You can start by storing just enough food for 30, 60 or 90 days. As you slowly grow your food storage, you will have the peace of mind knowing that you are prepared for any future emergency situation.