Planning Ahead

As I was waking up this morning Joe had the TV on and the first thing I heard was about how bad the economy still is and how it is predicted to get worse. We haven’t been directly affected by the economy but I know many, many have and I do think about it. One thing I really think about is how can we be prepared for a continual downturn because eventually, it would affect us directly.Preparedness is something that I have been working on for a couple of years off and on after experiencing a major storm while living on the Oregon Coast. We were without power from Sunday until Friday¬†Wikipedia states that “preparedness refers to the state of being prepared for specific or unpredictable events or situations”. The storm we had certainly qualified as that. The economy qualifies also. As does numerous other real or imagined scenarios. To be quite honest, I have a habit of driving myself a little bonkers thinking about all of the things that we want to be prepared for. ūüėČ

I thought that I might share a few of the food related preparedness ideas/thoughts that I have and maybe you all could share your ideas with me.

Food Storage is a popular preparedness topic. Brandy, The Prudent Homemaker, has a great food storage website. Her family has been living on their food storage off and on for years. She also gardens and preserves food from her garden. While her family does not necessarily follow a traditional foods diet, I have adapted many of her recipes for our use. She also shares her seasonal menus which show what a great variety of foods they enjoy.

What might a Real/Whole/Traditional Foods pantry look like when focusing on Food Storage? Cheeseslave had an article on this a few months back guest posted by Kim Knoch (The Nourishing Cook). The article had some good ideas and the comments really added to those ideas.

I have some ideas what I would like my food storage pantry to look like. The top thing would be we only store foods that we eat and we know how to cook all of those foods. It would do me absolutely no good to have 500 pounds of wheat berries if I did not know what to do with those wheat berries. So as I ‘stock my pantry’, I’m making sure to educate myself (and everyone else in the house) on how we use those items.

Another thing I’ve been working on is a rotating menu based on food storage items. If you have read here before you may have noticed that my weekly menu plans often include beans of some sort (this week we are enjoying black beans). Beans store very well and provide excellent nutrition. Another ‘qualification’ that my rotating menu will have is Simplicity. I do mostly enjoy preparing meals for my family each day but I try not to spend all day in the kitchen. For quite some time I’ve been doing Planned Overs in which I’ll make a large amount of something (like beans:-) and then we will enjoy that item in different ways for two, three or sometimes four meals. This works well for me because I can do the main cooking on one day and then minimal cooking on other days. I also believe that this style of cooking helps to keep our food budget in check and having a full pantry that I can ‘shop from’ before shopping elsewhere also helps.

In addition to food storage, being somewhat Self Sustaining is also important to us. I’ll admit we are very new to this concept. We moved to Wyoming a little over a year ago and have 2 acres. When we bought this land we had no plans to have the land do any real providing for us. I figured we would get a few chickens for eggs (since we had those in Oregon) but beyond that no plans. Now things are quite a bit different. We do have a ‘few’ chickens for eggs (18 laying, 4 at point of lay, and 9 that will be laying Octoberish). We also raise and process chickens for meat. We are talking about adding goats for milk and meat and also bees. Plus we have planted a few fruit trees with plans to add more next year and I attempted a garden this year (the grasshoppers thought I planted it just for them and they loved it). I know not everyone has two ‘lovely’ acres of sand in the high plains to grow food on but there are many things that can be done even in the city. Annette at Sustainable Eats is my hero with her amazing city lot (scroll down the right side of her blog for a virtual tour of her garden) and Michaela is doing an amazing thing on her 1/10 of an acre lot town lot.

Education is also something I have been focusing on. I mentioned that I want to know what to do with those 500 pounds of wheat berries (no, I do not really have 500 pounds) so now is the time to learn. The internet is an amazing tool for helping with education. I’ve taken the GNOWFGLINS Fundamentals eCourse which really expanded my basic (fundamental) traditional food cooking knowledge (there are even two lessons focusing on beans, one for soaking and one for sprouting) and I’m currently taking GNOWFGLINS Sourdough eCourse. Learning to cook with sourdough is a wonderful thing to be able to do. Can you imagine producing wonderful and tasty breads, tortillas, pancakes, etc without commercial yeast? What a huge cost savings that is (not to mention superior health wise). The GNOWFGLINS courses are now based on a Pay What You Can system and has open enrollment enabling you to start the courses at any time. Plus they fit into my schedule very well since I can view the videos and read the material at whatever time is convenient for me.

I’m also participating in the Preserve the Bounty Challenge hosted by Jenny at Nourished Kitchen. It is a five week challenge focusing on preserving food using traditional techniques such as salt curing, oil curing, sun drying, fermenting and freezing.

The library has been a regular stop for me on errand day too. I have a long list of books that I want to read on goats, gardening, rabbits, etc. I like to borrow them from the library and then decide if I want to add them to my home library. If I do, I try to get them from Paperback Swap first before I look at retail outlets.

What are your thoughts on Preparedness and how it fits with a Traditional Foods style of eating? Have you given much thought to stocking a pantry? If so, what would you make sure was in your pantry?
 
This post is a contribution to Simple Lives Thursday Blog Hop.
Millie

Comments

  1. The Mom

    >It sounds like you're getting a good handle on things. Wheat berries can be used for lots of things. They can be cooked whole and used as a type of cereal or ground and used for flour. I've seen them used in salads as well. My food storage has changed over the years, depending on what we eat. The best way to store is to look at what you eat on a daily basis and get the most basic forms of those foods. I also think that a garden can be the best thing in the world for preparedness.

  2. Millie

    >We sometimes have the wheat berries whole as a cereal. Soak them for around 12 hours and then cook overnight in the crock pot. Yummy. And sprouted wheat is very versatile.
    I agree about the garden. I'm hopeful that one of these days my gardening attempts will be successful.

  3. Sustainable Eats

    >Love this post Millie! I think about this all the time too – if we have an earthquake all those lovely jars will likely break and anything that was dried and stored in jars willl have glass in it anyway. I try to dry fruits and put them in the freezer so I have some leeway there, same with beef jerky. I'm hoping I'll be able to GET to the freezer with the house down on it but you never know. We have a water filter in case we need to drink lake water, dried coconut milk powder from WFN to flavor it and add fat, hand crank radio and flashlights, portable latrine, etc. It's definitely something to think about.

  4. Millie

    >Annette,
    You are so right about the glass and a quake not mixing. I'll be honest that living here (WY) a quake isn't high on my radar but maybe it should be since there was a small one near Yellowstone last week or the week before.
    We do have some of the other things you mentioned in place too. My BIG worry is water. We are on a well and no power=no water.
    I've been thinking about the dry coconut powder. Does it mix up well? Do you kefir it or just drink it plain?

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