This week I’m going to keep things brief. The topic is food–which I’ve spoken about many times before: here, and here, and here, and a dozen or so other posts. You know my basic opinions: Figure out what you eat, how much of it, and store more of that. If you go “outside your comfort zone,” and get things you don’t normally eat, learn how to cook them, and learn to like them. Use up the older items in the pantry first, and rotate through your stock.
I won’t go into a list–the Family Survival Planning guide has about seventeen pages worth of list, and there are a myriad of others online–but I will go into a couple of “extra” bits that they go into.
First, the shopping list. A fairly standard pantry storage recommendation is for three months of food; this is quite a large stash, and can be difficult to keep track of. A list is really the only way to manage it–and “playing” various sales and coupons and the like will help keep costs down. Make your list–or print one from somewhere–and keep it with you. Note how much you need or plan to (eventually) have on-hand of each item. When you see the things on sale, jot down the prices–for comparison, later. If you purchase something from the list, make a note as to how much you got, for reference. (If you’re feeling really organized, set up an inventory binder at home, and transfer all of that information when you get back.) Keep the shopping list with you any time you’re out and about, because you never know when you’ll be somewhere you can pick a few things up. (Also, when doing your “normal” shopping, buy extras of some items, and add them to your storage; if you do this over time, you’ll amass a decent backup surprisingly quickly.)
Second, expiration dates. Another good use for the inventory binder is to keep track of the expiration dates of things. If you’re careful with it, you can stay on top of your inventory, and not have to throw things out, saving money in the long run.
The next thing in the guide book is cooking and fuels–but I think that’s really worth a post all its own. And so, in the interest of getting things done around the homestead (hey, it’s springtime–there’s always something that needs doing), I’ll end here, and save that for next time.
In the meanwhile, how is everyone’s garden doing? Here in the mid-Atlantic states, we’ve had an extremely unusual spring so far, with things seeming to go “backwards” from warm weather to cooler; I anticipate summer will begin to rear its ugly head in the near future, though. Most of our plants are in the garden, with the direct-seed varieties (summer squash and the like) sprouting nicely. Let us know what’s going on in the comments!