--Max Mayfield, Director National Hurricane Center
Throwback Road is not only a chance for my family to learn the skills that our ancestors once used, but also for us to learn to be much more self reliant. The term self reliant means relying on oneself or on one's own powers, resources, etc. Food was one of, if not the biggest issues for the early homesteaders. There was not a grocery store right down the street, or a restaurant on every corner to feed the family. These families had to plan, preserve, and hunt to keep their families fed through tough times.
We all know what insurance is. We have home insurance on our homes, cars, life insurance, and health insurance. In fact, most people think it is socially responsible to have such insurances. I believe that probably the most important insurance that is often overlooked is food insurance.
For those living on a farm with 50 meat chickens, 25 egg layers, goats, huge gardens, etc. this issue might not be as problematic, but for those without the ability to truly live off the land, I highly suggest starting your own family food insurance program.
A family food insurance plan gives you the piece of mind that if a natural disaster was to happen, problems in the nations food supply, or a viral/bacterial outbreak, that you could feed your family. You may be shaking your head right now saying…”Ok, she has lost it” but look at Hurricane Katrina, or the numerous E-Coli outbrakes, or swine flu. These are just examples, but I would rather be at home cooking up a pot of wheatberries instead of in a FIMA line hoping that they have enough MRE’s to feed my boys.
I will start with the five most important and easiest food items to add to your Family Food Insurance Storage:
Salt- Salt is one of the most important staples you can store. It can be used for cooking, preserving, and even attracting wild game. Salt has an unlimited shelf life and is very inexpensive. Make sure you store iodized salt for cooking and non-iodized for attracting animals. You can buy actual salt licks for animals at your local ranch/farm store.
Rice- An easy and inexpensive food insurance choice. White rice does store as long as brown rice. Costco or Sams Club are great ways to grab a 25 lb bag of rice for approximately $15.00
Wheat- The best food for your food insurance stash. The shelf life on whole wheat is 30+ years if stored properly. Do not try to store flour because it only lasts 2-3 yrs and you can make your own flour with a hand cranked wheat grinder. Wheatberries are also a great option and when soaked make a delicious breakfast cereal. Pasta can also be considered in your storage plan of wheat. Wheat retains 80 % of its nutritional value even after being stored for 30 years!
Corn- Buy whole corn because it stores the best. You can grind corn into cornmeal much like you can grind your own flour. You can buy cornmeal but the shelf life is only 18-36 months.
Oats- Oats is another great staple to pick up at your local bulk grocer. Make sure you get the old fashioned oats not the quick oats!
One Year Staple Food Insurance Storage
STAPLE FOOD ITEM SHELF LIFE QUANTITY
Salt unlimited 10 lbs/ adult
Rice +/- 8years 30 lbs/ adult
Wheat( including pasta) 30 years 220 lbs/ adult
Corn 8-10 years 50 lbs/ adult
Oats 5 years 20 lbs/ adult
I don’t want this to seem overwhelming. When I first started storing food I was taken back by the numbers. If a year seems like to much, then create a food storage for at least 3 months. In this blog post I have really only tapped into the 5 basics foods to store. We still need to think about fats/oils, sugars, meats/veggies. These are things that I will touch on in my upcoming posts, as well as how to store them.
Everytime you go to Costco or the grocery grab a bag of rice, or a can of salt. You will be surprised over time how easy and inexpensive it is to create a food insurance storage. Canned veggies and meats are also an easy way for the average citizen to increase their food storage, but remember the shelf life on these products are fairly small, so you need to keep them in constant rotation. Freeze dried meals are also a great way to store food, but I find them so much more expensive then just buying bulk ingredients. Mix it up, see what works for you, but by all means do it! They say that in a time of crisis the contents of an average Americans fridge/freezer/pantry would only keep a family of 4 nourished for 2 weeks.
I realize for some of my "Prepper" friends this post may be elementary and for my suburban mom friends you may think I am a little extreme, but regardless of which side you are on..... if I am going to truly call myself a "Home"maker, I need live in the present, learn from the past, and prepare for the future.
What are you doing to ensure that your family is taken care of in a time of crisis?