How to use food storage every day of the week and save money when you do. I want to break down the many different food storage items I would recommend to get you started. Of course, everyone has different budgets and health issues. You need to choose the food storage items that fit your family and budget. I use food storage every day, literally. I never use food storage cookbooks because the items I buy can be used in so many ways.
I am not a gourmet chef, I’m just a mom and grandma wanting to save money on groceries and have food available no matter what’s going on around me and my family.
My Favorite Food Storage Items:
1. Dehydrated Foods
Pro: costs less money than freeze dried foods (typically)
Con: shorter shelf life, you can’t eat them without rehydrating (soups would rehydrate it, though). You must cook them.
My favorite dehydrated foods: potatoes and carrots. Here’s the deal with dehydrated, it’s great for soups, casseroles, and stews. It’s awesome to have some #10 cans of those items you use a lot, like onions, celery, carrots, and potatoes. You can always make a soup with them. You can buy a fairly inexpensive soup base, or make your own with butter, flour, and milk.
Melt the butter, stir flour into the butter, stir quickly with a whisk and you have a soup base. If you have too many lumps no worry…use your hand mixer. Add seasonings to taste, along with your canned or leftover meat. Just think of all the vegetables you can add to make a delicious soup. You can also make a tomato based soup with canned diced tomatoes or your own processed tomatoes. Repeat with canned meat or no meat. Add the vegetables of choice and you have dinner ready in no time.
2. Freeze Dried Foods
Pro: they typically have a shelf life of 15-25 years, depending on the temperature of the storage room and the brand you purchase. You can eat the fruits and vegetables right out of the cans. Yes, they need to be hydrated, but you can drink water with them and not have to cook them.
Con: they cost more money (it’s worth it to me-buy one #10 can a month). You can eat them right out of the can in most cases. Now broccoli is not going to taste as good as corn. I am just being real here.
My favorite freeze dried fruits and vegetables: every fruit and veggie I can get my hands on that fit within my budget. I must admit, my very favorite freeze dried products are onions, celery, green and red bell peppers and garlic! If I use these products nothing goes bad in my pantry or the refrigerator. No need to run to the store. They are ready on demand. I don’t have to cut, slice, chop or mince these babies! WooHoo! Dinner is ready in no time. These freeze dried vegetables save me money and time.
I put freeze dried fruits in smoothies. No washing, slicing, cutting or chopping. You can pulverize the fruit to make a powder in smoothies. I do that with the raspberries because of the seeds. Most of them I just throw in the blender as it.
3. Dry Beans-Excellent Way To Use Food Storage For Protein
You can buy instant beans with a shelf life of 30 years, depending on the brand you purchase and the temperature of the room. I can cook them in 20 minutes! They are more expensive so I buy all different kinds of beans. I buy #10 cans of beans (every kind I can get my hands on). I buy bagged beans because they are cheaper, but I still want several varieties of beans for long term storage so I don’t have to worry about the shelf life (temperature is key, though). Beans are a great source of protein to store. You can use your food storage every day by making soup or hummus with beans.
I even mash the cooked beans and spread on whole wheat bread and eat as a sandwich. You can also pressure can your own beans and save even more money. I have to be realistic, I can’t do everything I’d like to due to time limitations. I do can some things, but I also buy several foods via case lot sales.
4. Rice-Easy To Use Food Storage
Please be aware of how much rice you can store and the actual shelf of the kinds you buy.
Let’s start with WHITE rice: Honeyville Grain – and I quote: “Shelf-Life: Long Grain White Rice in a can will store for 10 to 15 years in a sealed #10 can (oxygen absorber included) under ideal storage conditions (cool, dry place). In a large bag: it will store for 1 year in a sealed 50-pound bag under ideal storage conditions (cool, dry place)”. Honeyville Grain White Rice.
Now let’s talk about BROWN rice: Honeyville Grain – and I quote “Shelf-Life: Long Grain Brown Rice will store for 1 year in a sealed 50-pound bag under ideal storage conditions (cool, dry place)”. Honeyville Grain Brown Rice.
Rice is a great side dish but is also awesome for so many casseroles. You can use food storage just like regular food. You might think you need a cook book…you really don’t. If you have one of your grandma’s old recipes just substitute dehydrated or freeze dried veggies to make the recipe.
5. Canned Goods-Easiest To Use Food Storage
Start with a few cans of the foods you normally use a lot. I use Campbell’s Cream of Chicken most often. I have tried making it from scratch but I have yet to find a recipe I really like. Sometimes I don’t have time to make it from scratch….yep it’s life, and it’s okay. I make 95% or more of our food from scratch. I buy some spaghetti sauce in jars. Yes, I can make it from scratch, especially if I have lots of tomatoes outside in the garden. I can make spaghetti sauce from tomato paste or tomato sauce. I add a few spices and boil the noodles. Unless of course, I have some cooked noodles in the freezer. If you use food storage every day you will soon learn how easy it is to cook dinner.
My daughter Camille, taught me to use canned pears with light syrup (drain off the syrup) for smoothies. Genius idea! Sometimes I can only dehydrate so much fruit. If I try to do large volumes I find out I can’t eat it all before it goes bad.
Watch for the sales on canned goods and buy them by the case if you can get them cheaper that way. There is nothing better than knowing you can survive on what you have stored in your home for a week, two weeks or several months.
6. Hard White Whole Wheat To Grind And Make Bread
This item is my most likely to use food storage item ever. It really saves me money because we can live on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches if we have to. I buy my wheat in 6-gallon buckets and replace the lids with red Gamma Lids. I have different colored Gamma Lids for different food storage and emergency preparedness items. It’s who I am. Most local grocery stores sell the Gamma lids, but not the six-gallon buckets I want. My hard white wheat will last forever and I store it inside in my little tiny house. Yes, people laugh when they see all the 6-gallon buckets with red Gamma lids in the guest room. A little shimmy doesn’t hurt anyone. I can make bread for years….just saying…
7. Pasta, Pasta & More Pasta
Optimal Shelf Life and I quote from Thrive Foods: “8 years under ideal conditions/2 years opened”. Thrive Shelf Life Of Pasta. If you store pasta, and I mean the kind of pasta that is on sale, you can make so many meals. You can make soup, macaroni, and cheese, lasagna, tuna casserole, pasta salads….the list is almost endless. If you have pasta, tomatoes, onions and some seasonings you can make any meal delicious. My husband would want some sort of meat in the casserole or dish, but you can make any meal meatless.
8. Use Food Storage To Make Baby Food:
You can use freeze dried fruits and vegetables to make baby food. You can use canned fruits and vegetables from the store, or the ones you processed yourself. You can use a Magic Bullet, blender or baby food grinder. You have control of what is in your baby food and you will save money at the same time. Some of the freeze dried foods will need to be cooked, just so you know ahead of time. Sweet potatoes are fabulous for babies and for adults too!
9. Freeze Dried Food Makes Great Snacks
I love buying freeze dried foods for my grandkids because they love them for snacks. Corn is awesome right out of the can. One of the favorite freeze dried fruits is pineapple chunks. You can use freeze dried fruits in lunch boxes. The only ones I have a hard time with just eating out of the can are raspberries. I have tried several brands and the flavor is good, but I don’t like the seedy texture. Grapes are awesome right out the can or in salads made with quinoa.
10. Shelf-Life Of White Flour Is Shorter Than You May Think
I like to store things that have the longest shelf life. For instance, white flour can only be stored for six months to a year. It all depends on where you buy it and how long it has been on the store shelves. White flour goes rancid very quickly. I have read that you should not store white flour in the refrigerator or freezer because it must stay dry. Here’s the deal, you must do your own research. I will not store white flour longer than a year.
I used to teach classes on how to make white bread, cinnamon rolls, breadsticks and freshly ground whole wheat bread. I have a no-fail recipe. If your ingredients are fresh you can make bread. Trust me, nothing is worse than opening a bucket of white flour that I forgot about in the pantry. I can smell that it is rancid when I open the Gamma Lid which is airtight. If you have hermetically sealed white flour they would store up to five years, depending on the temperature where they are housed. I used to teach classes at Honeyville Grain in Salt Lake City, Utah and I trust their shelf life times. I quote”Shelf-Life: Cal Best Bread Flour will store for 1 year in a sealed 50-pound bag under ideal storage conditions (cool, dry place).”Here is the link to their awesome website: Honey Grain White Flour.
11. Long Term and Short Term Use Food Storage
I want you to think of the food you buy whether it will be long term or short term use food storage. The thing we really need to do is use it every day. I prefer to know how to use food storage now rather than after some disaster.
12. Use Food Storage From Your Freezer
If you can afford to buy a freezer you can almost pay for it within a year if you shop wisely. You can shop for reduced meats at certain grocery stores, or buy in bulk and split a large order of meat with a neighbor. I make my own freshly ground whole wheat bread and I make eight one pound loaves every two weeks. I always share a few loaves with friends.
If you can use food storage in at least 4-5 meals a week you will save money. I use it for all my meals 7 days a week. It’s a way of life for me to use food storage. Please remember we need water…water and more water to use food storage.