Friday, September 19, 2014

Store what you eat... Eat what you store!

I just spent the better part of two days going through my pantry and cold storage trying to find out what I have and what I need.  The stores around me have been offering "case lot" sales.  If you haven't heard of that, you probably don't live in Utah.  We Mormons are famous for several things, but large families and food storage may be two of them.  So the stores around here offer cases of canned or storage items at a discounted price.  Most of the time you have to buy the whole case to get the deal.  If you don't have sales like this near you, you can often request a full case of a sale item.  When I lived in the midwest, grocery managers would often grab me a case from the back.  I've also been known as that crazy woman who marks 48 under the quantity of a raincheck item!  ;)
My kitchen pantry.  Staples like flour, rice, sugar, and oats are in 5 gallon buckets with gamma seals.
I wanted to see what I had and what I needed before heading to the store, so thus the clean-out and organization with the help of my lovely 20 yr. old daughter.  It turns out that I have a perpetual feeling that I am out of tomato soup and buy it whenever it is on sale.  Consequently, I may have a two-year supply. And in contrast, I feel like I have plenty of canned corn, when actually I am completely out.

My can rotation shelf "The Harvest".  
I have struggled with figuring out a system to know what I have and to rotate it to minimize waste.  Just a few days ago I printed out a twenty page inventory system... that I just know I won't use.  Since I have a smart phone, I decided the best system for me was to keep a picture of my food storage in my phone and update it every month or so.  I can zoom in on my canned storage and see that I have absolutely no cream of mushroom soup, so I should look for a sale on that.  I can also plan meals from what I have because I can see it!  I am aiming to have a year supply of food that we can live off, but a three months supply is a good goal to reach for if you're just starting out.  A three day supply of water for drinking, washing, and cooking is also a good goal to aim for.  In most natural disasters, a three day supply would avert disaster for your family.
This is a great video showing how you can store food even in a small home or apartment.  It doesn't have to be overwhelming.  Even a couple extra cans or items per week can help you get started.  The other part of this challenge is to eat what you have stored.  Make sure you are eating the older food first, in order to rotate the items.  If you are concerned about expiration dates, call your local extension agent and get another opinion.  My goal is to try not to waste, but "when in doubt, throw it out".  Happy Case Lot sales, everybody!!!

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