7 More Ways to Increase Food Storage- Real Food Style

When I went into town the other day, gas was 14 cents a gallon more than it  had been the previous week. 14 cents! That is a huge jump in a short amount of time.  I was reviewing some of my grocery receipts and in just a few months time, many of the regular items we purchase have went up. Coffee (which I know I should quit but have yet to do) increases almost every time I’m in the store. Peanut butter is another item doing the same thing. My trusty bags of beans from Azure Standard also continue to increase. Where will it stop? I hate to think that it could just go up, up, up.

One way to help with these cost increases is to only buy the food  at a price that you are comfortable paying. That is not easy these days! But I do believe bargains are still out there. Finding these bargains and building up your food storage is an excellent hedge against inflation. Even if you start now you will be money ahead as items continue to increase.  And yes, I do believe they will continue to increase or at the very least prices will remain where they are.

Recently, I shared an article 8 Ways to Increase Your Food Storage- Real Food Style.  As I was writing that article, it became obvious to me that I could share many more than 8 ways. I needed to share many more. But in order to write an article and not a book, I stuck with just 8 ways.

Today, I’m going to share 7 MORE Ways to Increase Your Food Storage- Real Food Style.   I’m sticking with just 7 ways this time, even though that number could, once again, be much larger.

If you have not yet read the original post 8 Ways to Increase Your Food Storage- Real Food Style, you should probably do that. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

Okay, are you back? Good.

In the original post the focus was not only what to put in your food storage but how to cut costs to afford food storage. I know that the cost of buying things in bulk can be overwhelming to people so figuring out ways to afford the food storage is important.  As a quick DaD-paperback-250recap a couple of things I mentioned that we do is eat beans. Most weeks, we have beans for three dinners and leftovers for lunches. Yes, that is a lot of beans. No, we don’t really have ‘those’ issues that beans cause. Properly prepared through soaking and/or sprouting  the notorious musical fruit issue is eliminated or at the very least, reduced.  By eating beans, we are able to afford higher quality ingredients in our every day meals and still designate some of our food dollars to food storage.  Another thing we have really been focusing on is reducing food waste. This means eating leftovers or turning leftovers into other meals.  In my eBook, Design a Dish, I offer some suggestions on using leftovers in new ways.

If you were to eat beans for one dinner a week and eat leftovers for a second dinner, how much would that savings allow you to put toward food storage? Something to think about.  My first suggestion is another way to free up your hard earned cash in order to  apply it toward food storage.


Stretchy Meals!

I have actually already mentioned this and I suspect that you are already doing this. A Stretchy Meal is taking one dish and turning it into two or three dishes. One example is a roasted chicken. The first night you have wonderful roasted chicken with all of the sides then for lunch the next day you might take a chicken salad sandwich.  That is a Stretchy Meal.  My money saving proposal is to think about all of the meals you create in the terms of Stretchy Meals. Yes, that might mean turning that roasted chicken into not just the main dish for one night but three nights. Or it might mean making one big pot of beans and turning it into three different main dish meals.  One big thing that is going to be important to help make this happen is to take that original roasted chicken and use it to the full extent. The bones from that chicken are turned into broth and the broth is used as the liquid for cooking the beans and in several meals during the week.

Once you get the general feel for Stretchy Meals, it becomes quite easy and you will really notice that your food budget has more room. One (free-range) chicken,  2 pounds of beans and 2 dozen eggs can be the basis for dinners and most lunches for my family of 5 for a week. Yes, we have to add in other things to round the meals out but usually the higher cost items are your protein items.  Other items that work as Stretchy Meals are roasts and ground meats but keep in mind that you really want to make sure you have a source of bones. The bone broth is going to be essential to allow you to consume meat less often and still maintain excellent health.  I actually love this style of cooking not just for the cost savings, I also find it to be quite time saving and sanity saving. I can easily put a menu plan together knowing I’m going to be having a chicken or roast one night, a casserole (made out of meat leftovers) the second night, bean dishes the next 3 nights,  leftovers the next night and a simple bone broth based soup or stew the final night.

Once again, the money that you save by adding in Stretchy Meals gets put toward food storage.  You don’t have to be this frugal forever (although you too might discover you like this style of cooking) but while you are building your food storage, freeing up money to put toward food storage may be necessary.


Sprout it!

I really hated leaving this one off of the first list. Sprouts are a super important component to my food storage plan. Not only those cute little radish or broccoli sprouts for putting on salads but also grains and legumes.  One item that many people add to their food storage is wheat. Not flour but whole berries (obviously, if you can’t consume wheat this is not a good thing to put into your food storage. Store what you eat and eat what you store).  Staring at a big sack of wheat berries you might start wondering how in the world you are going to make that much bread. And considering that the recommended storage of wheat is 150 pounds per person that is a lot of wheat!  One alternative to making a bunch of bread with wheat is sprouting it.

Sprouting the wheat is an excellent way to reduce the Phytic acid and other anti-nutrients plus it produces an almost entirely new product.  I love the end results of sprouted wheat. It is excellent to use in salads, stir-frys and even for making bread or cake. Sprouting also changes the nutritional component of wheat.  The same wheat that you sprout can also be turned into wheat grass to end up with something completely different. While I haven’t actually used wheat grass in the kitchen, my chickens and cats sure do like it!  Wheat isn’t the only thing that sprouts great. We sprout many of our beans.  Once again, sprouting beans creates a different product than a regular soaked or cooked bean.  We love sprouted legume (lentil, pea, garbanzo) salads.  Here is a terrific article from KerryAnn at Cooking Traditional Foods on why she no longer soaks beans.

Sprouting doesn’t really require special equipment.  For the smaller sprouts like radishes, you are starting with a super small seed so you want something that will contain that.  I have a couple of sprouting screens. One that fits a wide mouth jar and one for a regular mouth made for me by a friend. These work well.  You soak your seeds in the the jar and then after soaking just put on the screen and drain. Very easy. I’ve read that it is possible to use old pantyhose as your sprouting screen. I’ve never tried it since I chucked all of those uncomfortable things when I stopped working in an office. But it may work.  For the larger items like beans, I soak them in a bowl and then drain in a colander. The colander then becomes my sprouting vessel.   Of course, there are many other sprouting options that are worth looking into.  We find sprouting to be such an easy thing to do, that we even sprouted last summer on our vacation! It is an easy way to continue to provide real food while on the road.


Sour It!

Along with sprouting, this is an important part of my food storage plan. We already talked about all that wheat that is a recommended component to food storage. Sprouting it will work great but you really may want to turn some of it into bread.  Sourdough bread is my choice. Not only does it taste great and the health benefits of sourdough far surpass yeast style breads but sourdough is a smart idea for food storage.  You can store commercially available yeast but to keep it performing at it’s optimum it should be kept in the refrigerator.  Plus once the yeast is gone, it’s gone.  On the other hand, if you have a sourdough starter as long as you have something to feed it with (some sort of flour and water) you can keep it reproducing.  Have you read the book Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer? It is a book directed toward teens about life after an asteroid (or was it a meteor? I forget) collides with the moon.  In the story, the mom starts making bread with a few packages of yeast she found in the pantry. They are all extremely happy with this bread until the yeast runs out. She still has flour but since she is out of yeast (and apparently doesn’t know how to catch live yeast to make a sourdough starter) the happy days of bread of over.

Learning how to work with sourdough can really broaden a person’s food options. Not only do we make loaves of bread out of sourdough we make flatbread, pancakes, waffles, crepes, tortilla,cakes and many other things. Having a variety of options to fill hungry tummies is nice.  Plus, if you are gluten free,  you can even learn to do gluten free sourdough items!

Sourdough really requires no special equipment different from your regular baking items.  The basis of sourdough is a sourdough starter. You can create your own starter with just flour, water and time, you can purchase a sourdough starter, or you can get a free starter from a friend or Carl’s Friends.   Once you have your sourdough starter, you are ready to experiment.  A quick Internet (Swagbucks) search will yield several recipes (I linked 4 above for you).  Of course, if you really want to learn about sourdough, I highly recommend the Sourdough eCourse  or Sourdough A to Z eBook both from GNOWFGLINS.  I thought I knew a fair amount about sourdough but the eCourse taught me so much more!  Something to think about… Those wheat berries won’t grind themselves into flour.  An electric grinder is wonderful but what if there is a power outage? You may wish to consider a manual grinder. We have this very simple grain mill. It takes a bit of muscle to work it but it is not too bad.  Plus will your oven/stove work if  an event has occured the knocks the power out? If not, an alternate cooking source should also be considered. We’re planning to add a solar oven to our cooking supplies in the near future.


Spice it Up!

We have made a point of adding a variety of seasonings and spices to our food storage.  I already mentioned the importance of salt in the previous post but it bears repeating. You want to store salt. Sea Salt.  Your body requires salt plus it makes things taste good.  After salt think about the basic things you use each day. Pepper, I’m sure, immediately comes to mind. When I was thinking about spices to add to storage I made a list of the meals we love and specifically looked at the seasonings added. We love Butterscotch Rice.  This is a yummy breakfast, snack, or dessert made with brown rice. For seasoning it uses cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla. If I want to make Butterscotch Rice, I’ll want to store these three seasonings.

 Having a variety of different flavors will go a long ways toward enhancing your everyday meals. The Stretchy Meals we talked about earlier, rely on different seasonings. I can take one pot of beans and turn it into three entirely different style meals just by changing the seasonings.  I’ve read about appetite fatigue which is the belief that people will refuse to eat even when hungry. They just can’t stand the idea or taste of the same thing day after day.  I don’t kow if this is a real thing but I choose to error on the side of caution and keep a variety of spices and seasonings.

The cost of adding seasonings and spices to your food storage varies depending on the seasoning.  Some are relatively inexpensive while some are extremely high. I was looking at one spice I wanted to add and the price was something like $40 a pound! I choose not to add that spice at this time.  I usually get my spices from Azure Standard since I can get quantities of 4 ounces to 1 pound.  I started with what I considered the basics; salt, pepper, chili powder, cumin, powdered garlic and curry powder. I’ve added more variety since then and actually have many more spices that I would now consider basics. 🙂


Variety, Variety, Variety!

Just like having a variety of spices on hand can help to keep your meals interesting, you want to keep a variety of  food items.  I’ve read that people will buy only one item, such as a years supply of wheat, and then not add any other food storage until the money comes in again. What happens if you need to live on your food storage before you can add to that wheat? While we’ve already talked about some great uses for wheat you need other items to make that wheat palatable day in a day out.

Remember before when we looked a the Butterscotch Rice recipe? I did something similar when first getting serious about food storage.  I made a list of 7 breakfasts, 7 lunches, 7 dinners that we enjoyed.  I then listed out the ingredients in each dish to determine what I would need to store to make those 21 dishes. Looking again at Butterscotch Rice, I would want to store the seasonings, brown rice, honey and molasses. All of these ingredients store great! However, the dish also calls for milk and eggs. The eggs should be okay since I have laying hens but we don’t have a milk cow in our backyard so… I need a milk substitute. I’m not comfortable with adding dry milk to our food storage because of the way it is processed. My milk substitute would be coconut milk either in cans or powdered (I like to keep both).  I also know that in this recipe, I can substitute water for half of the milk/coconut milk with no ill effects or I can make it strictly with water for a slightly less rich but still delicious dish. Experimenting with different ways of making your favorite recipes now could become helpful in the future.

Storing a variety of items as opposed to concentrating on one category should not increase your food storage costs, in fact you may save money. For our family, we may buy more of a certain item that we know we will store when we can get it at a great price but we do still try to maintain a variety in order to be able to prepare actual meals.  My 13 Week Menu Plan is a reflection of how we have been concentrating on our food storage.  We figured out several meals focusing on one item, say pinto beans, and then made sure that we had all of the ingredients necessary to prepare those pinto bean meals.  Ideally, I wanted to be able to have a 13 Week Rotating Menu Plan that could be the basis for an entire years worth of meals and a food storage guideline. It hasn’t quite evolved to that at this time but that is still the goal.


Water, Water, Water!

No food storage system is complete without thinking about water.  I know, you turn on the tap and there it is. What is there to think about? In December of 2007, my family lived in the Pacific Northwest.  One Sunday, our power went out. It stayed out until Friday. In fact, almost everyone in the county we lived was without power for at least part of that time.  We had a series of severe wind storms that knocked down trees and took out power lines.  The town nearest to us had many windows blown out. The grocery stores were only open for people with cash and only certain isles. The gas stations were not operating. And many people were without water either due to being on a personal well system or a malfunction of their public water system.  Turning on the tap didn’t work for these people.

How much water should you store? According to FEMA, a 3 day supply of 1 gallon per person per day.  This preparedness blogger recommends one gallon per person per day for an entire year.  I guess somewhere between 3 and 365 days sounds about right.  🙂  We approach water storage by thinking about what our goals are. Example: if your storage goals are strictly as a hedge fund against inflation then perhaps the FEMA recommendation is adequate.  Same if we are looking toward food storage strictly in case of loss of employment. If you live somewhere that a storm could knock the power out for a week (or more) and your water supply along with it, then you might wish to take that into consideration.

The cost of adding water to your storage is relatively inexpensive. The FEMA link offers water storage suggestions that are worth looking at.  If you buy containers (such as the one in the picture) to store your water in, then you need to take that cost into consideration.


And Finally #7

Whew. This is a hard one. There are so many more ideas that come to mind on ways to build/increase food storage.  In fact, I couldn’t decide on #7 -really #15 if you take the previous article into account. So I’m leaving it up to you. What would you add to your Real Food Storage?

This could be actual products/foods, a method (such as sprouting or sourdough mentioned above), or maybe you think more long term and look at food storage as an interim item while you strive for self-sufficiency (check out this great eBook from my friend Jill, Your Custom Homestead, to learn how to homestead where you live today).  Or any suggestion  you have for building up food storage.

Before I turn it over to your recommendations, I want to leave you with a great link. KerryAnn at Cooking Traditional Food really knows food storage. Her family lived on theirs for 11 months during an unemployment situation. She has this great post that outlines a  90-day food storage plan for a family of 4.

So how about it? What do you suggest for #7?

Photo Credits: Gas Prices, Himalayan Organic Sea Salt from Amazon, WaterBrick from Amazon, all other photos are mine.

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase that originated from this post I may receive a commission. Your cost will not change. Thank you! Read more about affiliate links here.

This post is my submission to 100 Comments on my Blog Event from Blogelina.

This post is shared at Frugally Days, Sustainable Ways


Learn more about my other two eBooks, Design a Dish and Thrifty Food Plan Experience by clicking here.

148 comments to 7 More Ways to Increase Food Storage- Real Food Style

  • This is chock-full of interesting ideas–very different than the way I cook so it would be a challenge to jump in and, say, cook with beans 3X week. But I do Stretchy meals every week so you have left me with plenty to think about regarding how to take that even further.
    Katy recently posted..The Half Way MomMy Profile

    • Millie

      Hi Katy,
      That is an excellent point.
      And believe me, when we first started cooking this way it was really out of necessity. Eating beans allows us to buy higher quality meats and put money toward our food storage. Not everyone would require this necessity. But I really felt that I needed to share some ‘black belt’ methods to find money for food storage. I do love Stretchy Meals even when beans aren’t involved. They make my life easier 🙂

  • I really, really love your blog! Thank you so much for sharing your “systems” because I want to move toward more real food in my diet and am always scared of the expense and how to get my family to go along with it. I see your ideas as very practical and do-able, and maybe just maybe my family would be on board 🙂 I totally wish I could add to your list, but I’m fairly new at this. I’ve lurked on a blog or two, implemented an idea or two, but I was so intimidated. Your blog has so much already. I have lots to look through. I am pumped about 13 weeks of different beans. So glad I found you!
    Jamie recently posted..Fabulously "Flawed"My Profile

    • Millie

      Hi Jamie,
      Thanks! I totally know what you are saying. I was so overwhelmed when I first heard about real/whole/traditional foods. We started by making very small changes one at a time. I was fortunate that my husband was on board (for the most part) but the children did question a few things. 🙂 You might like this post I did recently at Homestead Host http://homesteadhost.com/transition-to-real-food-in-8-easy-steps/. We did not do these things all at once but over the course of several weeks.

  • I was most intrigued by your talk of sprouting and making a sourdough starter. I’ve considered sprouting in the past but never done it. My husband just recently indicated that he would like me to make some sourdough bread so I need to look into making a starter. Thank you for causing me to think about these things.
    Melinda recently posted..What’s on My Nightstand? – February 2012My Profile

    • Millie

      Hi Melinda,
      Sprouting is a wonderful way to add variety to a diet, especially in winter 🙂
      Sourdough is great fun! I love discovering new things to make with my starter. I did put in a link for a free starter from Carl’s Friends also if you don’t wish/can’t start your own.

  • Wow, this article is really helpful and eye=opening to the fact that I don’t have near enough food in storage.
    I do the stretchy-meals thing, but that is just about it. My only tip (which you may have had in your previous article) is to use mfr/store coupons to stock up on things for free or almost free.
    Glad I found your blog!

    • Millie

      Hi Kelli,
      Actually, I don’t have that tip! I don’t use coupons and never think about them so thank you! And I personally think any food storage is better than none. 🙂

  • I have to be very careful about containers for my storage. We have numerous insect pests here in Texas, and I have learned over the years which foodstuffs are most appealing to them. Those items go in glass containers with very tight lids. I usually keep grains of any sort in the freezer. Even if the power goes out, the grains are still protected for the pests!
    Robin recently posted..Plug Into the Energy SourceMy Profile

    • Millie

      Hi Robin,

      Excellent point! Pests can be a problem. I don’t think we have that issue nearly as bad here in Wyoming as you would there but still something to consider.

  • I’m a little bit intimidated by learning all of these new techniques for storage and cooking! However, your post is intriguing and I’ll have to browse around your site to learn more. My favorite storage method is freezing, because of its convenience and nutrient preservation, however freezing is obviously problematic in a power outage!
    -Viva, from dailycitron.com

    • Millie

      Hi Daily Citron,

      We freeze alot of things also. Funny thing, our power went out for an hour last night and I was thinking of the things I’d do if it stayed out very long. Covering the chest freezer with a couple of quilts was one of the first things I thought I’d do. I was happy it wasn’t necessary.

  • I do stretchy meals. As another commenter mentioned, I’m also a couponer. That has really allowed me to stockpile without much additional expense.
    Angie Nelson recently posted..Easy Search Traffic In Even the Most Saturated NicheMy Profile

  • You have a great list here. I do stretchy meals often for our meals. I love to make my own bone broth too. I can some food from our garden each year and make pickles. I make all of our dried fruit we eat and some veggies I dry for soups. Have you ever tried dehydrated watermelon? It is so very good. We do coupon shopping and we have a great closeout store that always has lots of produce to choose from. I used to eat sprouts when I was growing up. But I will have to check into sprouting them myself as I have never tried this before. I can’t believe the price increase in food and gas. I use price book and was really surprised at the change over the last year.
    Shelly recently posted..8 Ways Stores Encourage You To BuyMy Profile

  • D

    I’m a bit intimidated by new cooking methods, basically because I don’t really enjoy cooking all that much. I think baby steps are key in a post like this. I was way overwhelmed by it all. I do think your point about water was easy enough to handle. 🙂
    D recently posted..Question: Would You Turn Down 100kMy Profile

    • Millie

      Hi D,
      Baby steps are absolutely in order! This post and the sister post are an overview of what is working for us at this time. It is very different than what I would have written a couple of years ago 🙂 I rarely cooked then. Going from not cooking much at all to making almost everything from scratch didn’t happen overnight. It was baby steps all the way.

      Water is an excellent place to start.

  • This is a fabulous, information-filled post – thank you so much for taking the time to write it! You’ve given me a lot of food for thought (pun intended)!
    Dawn Storey recently posted..10 Ways to Live a Meaningful LifeMy Profile

  • These are some great ideas! I’m working on building our food storage, while also sustaining off it! Last year I was able to buy a bushel of pears for a great discount, and I canned them all! I haven’t had to buy fruits as a healthy snack because I’ve already got it.
    So I suggest gardening and home canning as another way to increase food storage. It will definitely save you a lot of money!
    Adelina Priddis recently posted..The Nursery – After (almost)My Profile

  • This is how I grew up eating a lot of beans so on and so forth. The tips you gave out are great and if people did them, they would see a big difference in all kinds of ways. We eat left overs all the time at least until we refuse to LOL. You have made a lot of good points and sometimes, it just takes someone to point it out to them. Thanks for sharing.
    cooking lady recently posted..Healthy Eating At HomeMy Profile

    • Millie

      Hi cooking lady,

      I ate alot of beans growing up too. I still love them but my sister really does not. We sometimes to get the point of not wanting to eat leftovers too. I really try hard to reinvent them to avoid this but sometimes… 🙂

  • These are such fantastic tips! The price of gas kills me here in So. CA. I am learning to coupon and we recently started menu planning and I’m about to try my hand at growing a little herb garden!…

    • Millie

      How exciting to have an herb garden, Susie! We are planning a SoCal trip in June and I’m scared of your gas prices. I think here in WY we have some of the lowest in the nation so it will be a big jump.

  • Wow, very informative post about food storage. My husband and I have been trying to get better about things like this, so I forward your post to him (he does a lot of the cooking around here)!
    Heather recently posted..5 Must-Have Sewing NotionsMy Profile

  • You continue to help me evolve the way we eat and cook – such fantastic work, Millie, thank you! You’ve taught me so much already. I think about you often in the kitchen. 🙂
    Erin Darling recently posted..11 Baby Chicks = Cute Overload + 1My Profile

  • I’ve never thought about this! Great post 🙂
    Dani recently posted..Intense CravingsMy Profile

  • mommysorganics

    I do the stretchy food thing, but it never occurred to me to try other ways to make food last. I have also notice the price of toilet paper going up as well. I should be better at cutting coupons but that’s a habit I just cant seem to get into.

    • Millie

      Hi mommysorganics,
      It is bad when they are messing with our TP prices! TP and stuff like that is a whole ‘nother post for me 🙂

  • Some great ideas there – I like your ‘stretchy meals’ . I’ve always done this – but as our girls are growing and so eating lots more, I’m constantly having to relearn and adjust as the portions no longer go quite as far…
    Jill recently posted..21 days to form a habit – DONE! and what’s next….My Profile

    • Millie

      Hi Jill,
      I’m finding myself in the same boat. My little guy is suddenly eating a lot more. I’m having to do some relearning too. And then there are weeks when I make way too much food so I’m bad to the old problem of potential waste. I’m happy for the freezer then 🙂

  • Some very good tips there. I’m working on water storage right now.
    Clarinda Olenslager recently posted..03/01/2012My Profile

  • Great information, a lot to take in – I can barely get myself to the grocery store every week. I love your ideas, we waste so much food in our house that I’m constantly looking for ways to improve our shopping, cooking, and storage habits, so these were all really good tips to try.

    • Millie

      Hi Kristen,
      It is alot to take in. And probably attempting all at one time would not work well. But adding in one or two ideas from this list and/or the previous article I linked to might work. Once you have a nice amount of food on hand you may not have to go to the store each week. That’s one thing I really like.

  • We are just now getting into this. I just got into bulk foods, and, in an effort to feed my crew cheap snacks, I lugged home a 50 lb. bag of popcorn (see link) and now store it in a mylar ziptop bag in a clean trash can! Now if I could just convince them to go for more beans…..
    Heather recently posted..Time Management for Stay-at-Home Moms SeriesMy Profile

  • My husband says gas jumped one dime within a day. I also happened to get my yearly AMEX Costco rebate back a few days ago and so while we were in town we stopped by Costco and stocked up on things like batteries, detergent, cat food and a few other things. My husband says since the price of gasoline is going up, the trucks delivering the food are going to cost the stores more, so the prices of food are going to go up. Good ideas here, thanks for this post.
    Starlene recently posted..7 Reasons I Wish I’d Been Willing to ChangeMy Profile

    • Millie

      Hi Starlene,
      I believe your husband is correct. And the bad thing, the last time prices went up because of fuel increases– they didn’t go down when the fuel did (for the most part).

  • Thank you for sharing, my family has just recently really started to focus in on healthy eating and this will definitely help us on our journey. I recently saw on Pinterest freezer crock pot meals and wondered why I had never thought about that before.

  • Couponing has increased our food storage without increasing the cost. Keeping a well-stocked pantry and freezer helps saves money, energy, and time. Thanks for all the great options. Lots of information to continue building my stockpile.
    Tracy recently posted..Auntie Anne’s: Free Pretzel Day on March 3, 2012My Profile

  • I have to say, I never really thought about food storage (jar/canning/preserving, storage, or freezer) because we’ve been so limited on space but I love the section on sprouting. Sprouted bread is pretty expensive to buy around me and we go through so much of it. I had actually been thinking about how I wanted to sprout my own stuff and make my own. Will you be writing an article on more details for sprouting? If not, I’d love to get advice from you, feel free to email me if you have a chance (after our commenting frenzy) and I’d love to pick your brain!

    It’s nice to “meet” you through Blogelina’s comment tour!
    Kathy (Kangaroo Mama) recently posted..Journeying With a FriendMy Profile

  • Hello again… went from this excellent Blog Article (which I posted on FB) to the links you recommended. Wanted to make sure your Ferment It Link did not include what I am about to say. Currently have only glanced at it:

    I store/use Kefir Grains (both water and milk). They are an excellent way of fermenting, the can be dried, frozen or refrigerated. An powerful source of probiotics. Here is a excellent link to tell you all about them, and there are LOTS of Youtube.com videos about them as well and FB Groups/Pages:


    I also use Scoby Mushrooms, which makes Kombucha Tea another excellent source for Fermenting. You can make Healthy Drinks (Carbonate them, Example: non alcoholic Ginger Beer) and Healthy Vinegar’s out of them that can be stored as well. (Ginger can be grown from a root purchased in the Grocer in the Summer in a pot or Garden and dried or frozen or made into Crystalized Ginger for use in the Winter months.)

    Dom’s Link above not only has info, but links and recipes. He is the Father of most if not all of the Links … and those who are into this, are willing to give away their excess grains/Scoby Mushrooms or sell them for very little, and Dom sells them as well. (He also talks about Homemade Yogurt, which I do as well.)

    The Grains themselves multiply and can be eaten as a snack, similar to Gummy Bears… when soaked in Molasses, for example, (they need sweetener to feed them and keep them alive.)
    Bren Ward recently posted..Miracle of the RingMy Profile

    • Millie

      Hi Bren!

      I’m happy that you have found me!

      Thank you for mentioning kefirs and kombucha. That was one of my choices tied for #7! We do dairy and water kefir and kombucha regularly. I’ve made a ginger bug before and had some awesome ginger ale but couldn’t keep that going. The links you left are great!

      Do you eat your kefir grains? Do they really taste like Gummy Bears? I’ve not tried them….

  • Good ideas! I, too, have been troubled by the rising prices across the board. Might check some of these ideas out!

  • Millie, water Kefir Grains are similar to eating a gummy bear, less chewy due to the smallness, but they have the Kefir taste, mixed with the sweetness of Molasses or whatever sweetener you use, (or a sweet gingery taste if you’ve used something like that in that particular batch).

    When you get excess grains, try eating them and let me know what you think, I like them. I like to grow them just for that purpose, when I am having a Homemade Yogurt Season (I alternate probiotics mixtures, because I cannot take too much Probiotics in my system, it causes a rash.)

    During that time, I keep the water grains not in use in a sweetened water in the Frig, (if I have not left them out to grow). Do the same with my milk grains … sweet milk, and Scoby Mushrooms … Sweetened Black Tea, in Jar in Frig. As a matter of fact, I keep my Scoby Mushroom in sweet tea in the frig and add a 1/4 cup to a cup of green tea on mornings I am not having a smoothie, (I use Milk Kefir or Yogurt in my smoothies); as a way of alternating.

    What do you do when you are not growing them?
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    • Millie

      Hi Bren,
      I actually haven’t really had very good results with growing my water kefir grains. The first set of grains had an accident involving the cat and the floor. The second set dissolved away to nothing. I’m on my third set and while they seem to be doing well, I’m growing them to put some back just incase.

      My dairy kefir grows well and I keep passing them on to others as soon as I get enough.

      I am definitely going to taste them next time I’m working with them.

  • Great to read about buying in bulk. I don’t really do this as we don’t have a lot of storage space, but I do buy bulk on non-perishables when they are on special offer. I’m always happy to load my trolley with 3 for 2 or 2 for 1 items!

    I’m from the Netherlands and I haven’t heard of wheat berries. It intrigues me!
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    • Millie

      Hi Judith,

      Wheat berries may be called something else there. All they are is just the wheat before it is ground into flour. Maybe you just call it wheat? 🙂

  • You have some great ideas on building your food storage. If people start small– buying one or two things each trip to the store, your storage will grow. Today so many people don’t know how to cook from scratch, so a good food storage cookbook would be critical to your storage.
    Diana recently posted..Wayward Weekend Week 6My Profile

    • Millie

      Hi Diana,

      Both of those are excellent tips! Just adding a few extra things on each shopping trip really can add up. I love the suggestion of a cookbook.

  • Wow, I can’t even imagine having spare grains to eat! My dairy grains are stable, but not growing. I just put them on a seed sprouting mat today in the hopes maybe they were just too cold and will do better when warm.

    They’re putting out about a quart per day currently. Initially, I had to use a metal strainer, but I’ve recently obtained a nylon one – perhaps that will help, too!
    Erin Darling recently posted..Monetization Boot Camp Day 1: The BasicsMy Profile

  • I know for many it is financially hard to buy in bulk but I learned once you take the plunge you can make it more of a pattern eventually. That first buy is hard but then you realize you don;t need to buy, say, coffee, for 2 months instead of monthly. During that second month you can save that money you usually use to buy coffee for the next time you buy. You’ll realize that you have extra money.

    I love buying in bulk. For the savings and because I hate shopping, lol.

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    • Millie

      Hi Allie,

      Absolutely! I love both the savings and I really do not like to shop either. And I really like being able to go to my pantry and already have what I need.

  • these are some great GREAT tips, I am especially fond of the stretchy meals… and i need to advocate for water more in my home… badly!
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    • Millie

      Thank you Eschelle! I am very fond of stretchy meals also. I really feel like they make my kitchen time easier in addition to helping our food budget.

  • These are great tips. I never heard of souring it. Variety is definitely important to me though. I really need to work on the stretchy meals too. Thanks for sharing your tips!
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    • Millie

      Hi Nikki,

      Sourdough is a very fun thing to get into 🙂 You can certainly have lots of variety in sourdough cooking. From breakfast to dinner I could make a sourdough based item and have each meal different. I love it!

  • Love the sourdough idea. Sourdough bread is one of my favorites.
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  • I was going to say dehydration, but I see you covered it in the first post. My husband has stored some items which we could use to barter in case something “bad” happens. One of our problems with food storage is we don’t have anyplace to store! One place my husband has utilized is under our bed. He got rid of the bed frame and has our box spring on some heavy crates. We put out a lot of money in gasoline every month and gasoline prices just scare me.
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    • Millie

      Hi Mrs. Accountability,

      Your bed fram idea is great! Finding storage space is a challenge especially in a house without storage 😉 Having barter items is a great idea too. One never knows….

  • we keep water in our home. we have a 5 gallon collapsible container or 2 downstairs for emergency situations as well. always more ideas and more to learn though!
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  • Wonderful post with things I would never have thought about and one I may have to try as I do do stretchy meals and they do help a lot.
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  • 🙂 I feel so acomplished!

    I cooked aturkey yesterday and we are planning 6 future meals!

    I am also interested to know you can have a GF sour dough starter!

    I know I need to be more prepared -UGH! I NEED to do this!

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  • I make sure that I buy a couple of extra cans each trip and then put them in a closet. Slowly building up.

  • You have some interesting tips and have made me realize I need to do more about my foor storage. Thanks for the information.
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  • Some great tips here. We do stretchy meals very often since we’re only two. I do need to work on a food plan that makes sure we shop right.
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  • I have my sprouts in the fridge, my sourdough bread in the oven, and I am going to buy a yogurt starter soon! I like your train of thinking! 🙂

  • I grew up eating a LOT of beans. We don’t eat them now because neither of my kids will eat them. My older son has Asperger’s and some food textures are a problem for him. The younger one used to love beans until he realized that his big brother doesn’t like them. 🙁 Anyway, even if you don’t sprout the beans or soak them just right, when you eat them often, your body adapts and it doesn’t take long for the “side effects” to go away.
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    • Millie

      Hi Amanda,
      Beans aren’t for everyone. My sister really does not like them because of the amount we ate growing up. Funny that I do still like them.

  • great suggestions – gotta work on them…. 😀
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  • Love this post – and you’ve earned yourself a new follower! We eat a lot of beans/legumes, too. I have to admit that I often envy the pantries I see on blogs – even when they are full of junk. We eat whole foods and don’t buy much that can be stored in bulk. We have bulk rice, oats, and hopefully beans soon (just getting started with Azure). We do buy beef in bulk and got a great deal this year – so thankful for a deep freeze! One tip I’d say is to recognize that lots of things we don’t regularly buy in bulk can be stored longer than we think. We buy eggs 15-20 dozen at a time sometimes. We eat a lot of eggs, but the fact of the matter is that eggs last a LONG time in the fridge! When we see the price go down, we snatch them up!
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    • Millie

      Hi Anjanette,
      Thank you for the kind words! I love Azure! I’m sure you will too. The bean prices are very good compared to what they cost in the store. The egg tip is eggcellent 🙂

  • So jealous! I would love to have an herb garden!I’m going to have to find collapsible containers! SweepstakesMama.com
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  • I wish I had more storage space and freezer space so I could take advantage of sales.
    Deedra recently posted..Check your drawersMy Profile

    • Millie

      Hi Deedra,
      I hear you! Storage space has been an issue for us also. You would be surprised the places that I’ve stashed things! On my previous food storage post someone mentioned putting 500 jars under their queen sized bed! That is good use of space for sure 🙂

  • I agree that food costs are going crazy, especially recently. I try to make as much as I can at home instead of relying on highly processed foods from the store. Last year I had a batch of sour dough and made a lot of bread from it. I slacked off this winter– I need to get back on track. Thanks for all the ideas!
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  • Jeanette

    Great tips, thank you!

  • Thank you for the interesting tips in food storage! I definitely will be putting some to practice!

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  • When I grow up I want to be just like you!!! This is amazing info!!!
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  • Wow…very informative. I must come back and re-read!
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  • I saw from your 8 ways to increase storage list that you mentioned canning. This is my newly found love. Okay, it’s not new, my grandmother cans, but this is the first time that I have gotten into it. Meal Planning certainly doesn’t fir the topic of food storage – real food style, but we do that in addition to canning and freezer cooking. Great post! I’m following on Twitter!!

    • Millie

      Hi Jaime,
      I’m just learning to can but really see lots of opportunities with it to build the food storage we want. Meal planning and other money saving methods help us afford our food storage. It all kind of meshes together 🙂 Hope to see you again!

  • What great suggestions! I’m pinning your site to visit later.
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  • These are some great tips – thank you!
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  • I have no food storage. Something I need to work on.

    • Millie

      Hi Katie,
      We didn’t have any food storage until just a few years ago. There are some great tips in the comments on starting slowly by buying a few extras each time you shop.

  • Great post! We are always trying to figure out how to increase our food storage and not just fill it up with junk!

    Around My Family Table
    Wendy recently posted..Amazing Key Lime PieMy Profile

    • Millie

      Hi Wendy,
      Real food storage does look a bit different than ‘typical’ food storage. But there are some great cross-overs. I try to store things that are as close to their natural (from nature) state as possible.

  • You have some fascinating ideas!
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  • I like the stretchy meal idea. I need to start doing that. I might cook more often if I did. One of the reasons I don’t cook all the time is because meat is so expensive. I think this idea would help with that.

  • As a prepper I am always looking for ways to store more “real” food! These are great tips. I guess I would add storing seeds as a way to grow your own food. Your list is so thorough I can’t really think of much else.
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  • Vegetable seeds! Love this post. Great job.
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  • I think using coupons is a good idea to help save on grocery bills, and give you the ability to have more food to store.

  • We had to go almost a week without power last summer when Hurricane Irene went through. It was so tough…you don’t realize how much you rely on electricity for everyday needs. That waterbrick looks like a good solution for water storeage. Thanks for sharing!
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  • Last weekend, our part of northern Michigan received 2 feet of heavy snow. There were several thousand people without power. Some are still waiting for it to come back on. Food and water storage would be very important in times like this, especially since travel was virtually impossible for awhile, too. Thank you for sharing your tips and pointers!
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    • Millie

      Oh wow Carrie. That is hard especially in the winter. I do think about what would happen here is the power went out in the winter. It would get cold very fast. I like the idea of back up heat -we have propane and a pellet stove both of which need electric. Food, water and heat are my three big things.

  • Great post and awesome site. I am a huge advocate for whole natural foods. I will bookmark your site for your instructions on sprouting.
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  • I can relate with that stretchy meals but we call it as recycle meals
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  • Thanks for sharing all of your ideas. I really liked the food storage. Making notes here. Best wishes on your blogging.

  • I think this is one of those things that one could jump right into, but maybe they shouldn’t. YOu can read all about storing and spends lots of money doing so. but will Way A work better for you or Way B? You have given some good tips. so maybe the last one I would add is just to take it slow and try a few things. see what works for you. Not really sure that is a storage tip, though it might be if it keeps you from haveing a store of something and not using it.
    See You In the Garden recently posted..Weekly Goals – March 4, 2012My Profile

    • Millie

      One thing we always try to follow is the saying ‘store what you eat, eat what you store’. That really helps me when I’m thinking of things to add.

  • I agree – must never forget the spices!!!

  • Very interesting article. Sprouting sounds like something I should try.

  • I am so fascinated by emergency preparedness. I am not prepared at all unfortunately for an emergency, so I really enjoyed your post. We live in the Pacific Northwest and severe wind knocked down our power for about half a day on Monday. Not fun! Thanks for these tips. I appreciate them.
    LaVonne recently posted..Leading Lady GiveawayMy Profile

    • Millie

      Hi LaVonne,
      A power outage is what got us interested in emergency preparedness (also in the Pacific Northwest). It is a huge eye opener!

  • Well, deviating a bit from the subject of the post (food), to voice my concerns about what you mentioned in the intro. Please, be sure that I do not intend this comment to be aggressive or political or anything of the sort; just exposing another one of the many sides of an issue — sthg to ponder over, if you like.
    I can certainly identify with the horror of finding that the gas prices are… exploding every day. We all have to deal with this reality.
    I live in Greece. If you heard the news, you might know that the country is close to defaulting (yet the “markets” won’t let it). Prices of assets for foreign investors are dropping, and everyone is hurrying to get a piece of the pie. Injurious deals are closed, our national wealth is sold out and the interests of the people (who are growing poorer every day) are not taken into account by trusts.
    In the midst of this turmoil, foreign governments and oil companies have their eyes on the liquid treasure hidden under our beautiful, blue Aegean Sea. The Greek islands, you might have heard… Mrs C. was here the other day, closing or trying to close oil deals.
    I guess everyone’s trying to benefit his/her own country (some are very concerned about their own deep pockets too, but I won’t get into that). And I guess you and most American citizens will be relieved to see gas prices stabilize for a short while.
    My concern is (besides the crappy deals), What if a new “Mexico Gulf” happens in this beautiful, yet closed sea (meaning that there are no currents to help clean the mess)? Will the blue Aegean become the black Aegean? Will I never be able again to dive in the Endless Blue? (Btw, have you seen the movie with Rosanna Arquette? Beautiful, I suggest you do)
    Please, believe, I understand your concern about cost of living and driving. I just wanted to share another point of view… Be well 🙂
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    • Millie

      Hi Eleni,

      Thanks for your comment.
      I do know some about the financial situation in Greece. And I think your statement that the people are “growing poorer every day” is another good reason (in my opinion) to have food storage. Putting on my tinfoil hat, I am not sure our financial situation is that much more stable than yours. People growing poorer every day would have less money to spend on food (and how are your food prices? have they increased?).
      My example with the cost of fuel is just that, an example that we may have less money to spend on food and our food prices will increase (they do when fuel costs go up and, for the most part, they really don’t come down again). And truth be told, fuel costs are probably something most Americans can relate to. We drive. I know where I live, it is pretty much necessary. We don’t have much of a public transportation system in this town (we do have a couple of buses but not like in major cities). Yes. I will be relieved to see gas prices stabilize. No, I would not like to see that at the cost of your sea. I have some pretty strong opinions about oil/gas and drilling but I’ll save those for another day. 🙂

  • Kassia

    Hi Millie,
    I was wondering if you have any tips or know of any fellow bloggers who have tips for building up moderate food storage in a suburban city in northern CA (or a similar type city)? It seems like I can never find coupons for items I actually need, they’re usually for junk food. I would like to buy more online and in bulk, but am worried about not having room for it all. We are not allowed to have any animals besides dogs and cats because of our city’s ordinance. We do have a small garden and would like to expand it. We have a very small pantry. We do have a large garage with some storage space and are planning to get a large freezer in the future. Help and advice would be welcome!

    • Millie

      Hi Kassia,

      One site that I love for food storage is The Prudent Homemaker. She doesn’t follow a real/traditional foods diet but they live in Las Vegas so are limited on what they can do. She has some great storage tips plus shows her amazing garden. Here is another example of an amazing city garden.

      Getting creative with where to store things is a challenge for us too. We do buy almost everything in bulk through Azure Standard. Those bulk bags are emptied into 3 or 5 gallon buckets that we buy from the local bakeries (we pay anywhere from a quarter to a dollar per bucket). For items that will be very long term stored we seal in mylar bags inside the buckets. Some things we buy in smaller amounts due to them not keeping as well and those are stored in gallon glass jars. To hold everything we’ve bought several shelving units. We put these up against the walls in various rooms in the house and cover with a curtain that attempts to match the rooms decor. It doesn’t look too bad with the curtain closed. We also take advantage of other spaces for items; under beds, under couches, in chests, behind books on bookshelves, closet floors, hidden corners, etc. If you do a search on Pinterest for Food Storage Organization you’ll see lots of nifty ideas. Hope that helps.

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