Sunday, June 15, 2008

Long-term Storage - what's that???

Only a few short months ago, I hadn't a clue was the phrase long-term storage REALLY meant. We have a large family and have traditionally several food items on hand but come to find out long-term storage means ideally having enough food on hand to feed your family for a year. I don't necessarily have such visions of grandeur of having a year's food supply on hand - but with the cost of gas, I have really made significant improvements to my home food storage. It helps to have most ingredients on hand to cook most meals or goodies from scratch. That was another big part of our family changes, was to cook more meals from scratch using as healthy and wholesome ingredients that could be had. Processed foods are mostly a thing of the past for us. So, I decided I would share a few tips on how to build up your own food storage.

  • Know the rock-bottom prices of the food items that you use the most. So when things are on sale, you will be able to know if it is a good price or not.

  • Get weekly circulars from your grocery store and buy ONLY things that are on SALE. Plan your weekly menus around what's on sale.

  • Wal-mart will match advertised prices, but I decided months ago to stop shopping at Wal-mart. What if everyone shopped at Wal-mart and the small local grocery store went out of business? Our Wal-mart is 40 miles away and I want my local groceries to thrive so that if and when gas is 8.00/gal., I can pick up groceries in town, when I am there for work.

  • If something is at a rock-bottom price, stock up. There are certain items that go on certain times of the year. For example, around Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, almost all of the baking items are on SALE.....stock-up. At the before Easter sale, I stocked up on both brown sugar and powdered sugar for .68 cents a bag. If you know your rock-bottom prices, you know that is a GREAT price. I bought six bags of each. Memorial Day and 4th of July is a great time for out-door BBQ fixings.

  • LOSS-LEADER. That means an item that is marked down so so so cheap just to get you in the door. I make it my stock-up extravaganza. I recently got flash-frozen chicken breasts in the 4 lb. bag for 3.96. I bought 6 bags. Recently I got pork-shoulder roast for .69 a pound and put them up in the freezer.

  • Shop your grocery outlets or Amish grocery stores. They have items significantly below grocery store sale prices and is a great time to buy case-goods. I just bought 40, 32oz. Gatorade for $24.00 (.60 cents a piece).

  • Buy in Bulk. You can either buy from a food coop, wholesale club (Costco), or from the whole food grocery. Recently I was buying dehydrated red bell pepper by the ounce and they were getting a little spendy. I spoke with the store owner and ordered a large bag for 17.00. GREAT price and with our short growing season, I could never grow enough red bell peppers to even fill a small ziplock sandwich bag.

  • Finally, now is a good time to start gardening. We put in a nice garden last year and we were able to can both veggies and fruit from our fruit trees. Canning has some start-up costs the first year, but once you have the jars and canner, you are set for the next time. is also a Homesteader's best friend. I was just able to pick-up an upright freezer for $25.oo. It was a great find and I was able to fill up with meat, will help me not have to stand on my head, digging out a roast from the bottom of the chest freezer. Also, I just picked up a 22 QT. Presto Canner (in the box) for $35.00.

Hope these hints help to stock your pantry and feed your family well. If I missed a tip or you have a good one to share, please post in the comments. We can all learn from each other.....