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.