5 Reasons Beans Should be Part of Your Food Storage

Dried beans can be an intimidating food storage item for many people. In our experience people typically either do not like them, do not know how to cook them properly, or do not know what types of foods to make using them. We want to share with you FIVE reasons why beans should be a staple in YOUR food storage (if they aren’t already) and hopefully give you some tips along the way that will help you overcome some of those common challenges.


beans-in-food-storage

photo credit cookbookman

1. BEANS ARE HEALTHY

Beans, peas, and lentils are the richest source of vegetable protein and are a good source of both soluble and insoluble dietary fiber. If you don’t have any stored meats or nuts you will definitely need to include beans in your food storage. Here are just a few reasons why beans are so healthy. You can learn more about the health benefits by reading the book Country Beans by Rita Bingham. We highly recommend it if you are storing beans at all.

  • Low Calorie Food: The amount of nutrition you get for the amount of calories is quite significant. When used as a thickener for soups or a substitution for meat beans can be very beneficial
  • Great Protein: Beans are an excellent source of protein, forming a complete protein when combined with rice, corn, and many other foods. Getting protein this way can help you avoid some of the fatty meat proteins.
  • High in Fiber: One cup of beans provide the same amount of fiber as 3 standard doses of Metamucil.
  • Low in Fat: Nearly all beans contain only 2-3% fat! You can used mashed beans as a replacement for butter or oil in many baked goods to reduce the fat content.
  • Lower Cholesterol: Not only do beans contain NO cholesterol, “they actually help the body get rid of what is considered bad cholesterol.

2. BEANS CAN BE STORED VIRTUALLY INDEFINITELY

When stored in a cool, dry place, beans will basically stay good forever. If you have an older supply of beans they may require more time to soak and more time to cook. We have found that using an electric pressure cooker will help your beans to turn out great every time, regardless of their age.

Ideal conditions for long term food storage are to store your legumes sealed in mylar pouches inside of 5 gallon buckets. Using oxygen absorbers can also help maintain the freshness of the items. We also recommend keeping smaller containers in your kitchen or pantry so that you can use them in your daily cooking to practice and rotate.

3. BEANS ARE VERSATILE

Beans are not only good for eating as part of a Mexican dish or in soups and chilis. There are many other ways beans can be used that you may not have thought of.

  • Mash up cooked beans to replace butter/oil in recipes. Cook up dry beans and then add a little of the water used for cooking and puree them in a blender or food processor. Use cup for cup to replace the oil or butter in a recipe. Start with only replacing half the fat and gradually move up to the entire amount.
  • Grow into sprouts for a fresh “vegetable”. Legumes are a great item to sprout and can then be eaten fresh, thrown into soups, added to sandwiches, or pureed and snuck into many different foods. Older beans may have a more difficult time to sprout. Click here for a post we shared about sprouting lentils.
  • Grind white beans into bean flour  to make white sauces, homemade cream of chicken soup, or to use as a thickener for soups and stews.

4. BEANS ARE CHEAP

There are many varieties of beans or legumes that you can buy. You will find different uses for different types so it never hurts to just buy whatever ones are on sale. You may find dried beans in small 1 lb bags at the grocery store for $1. Pick up a bag or two every time you go to the store and you will quickly have a large supply. You can also buy them from many long term food storage companies already packed in 5 gallon buckets and ready for your storage. Some of the varieties of beans and legumes you may see are as follows:

  • Split Peas
  • Lentils
  • Lima Beans
  • Dry Soy Beans
  • Chick Peas
  • Regular Dry Beans (black, pinto, navy, red, white, etc.)

5. BEANS ARE DELICIOUS

One of our favorite recipes that uses beans in two different forms is a delicious Enchilada Pie. You use dried beans and also make homemade cream of chicken soup out of bean flour. Give it a try and you just might fall in love with your food storage beans!

Food Storage Do-Over Week 9: Legumes and Meats

We are excited to be starting week 9 of our Food Storage Do-Over 2015! If you didn’t catch last week’s post which included an index of recipe for using grains you can see it here.

Remember this is a 17 week process that we will be going through together. If you want to join in with the group on Facebook click here. If you’d like to receive email notifications of each week’s do-over assignment you can join our mailing list here. Or you can always post in the blog comments with your progress as well! It is so much more fun and motivating doing it as a group so find a way to connect!

WEEK9FACE

In BabyStep 6: Legumes we discuss storing and using legumes. We also briefly touch on meats as an alternative to getting more protein into your food storage. We feel like it is very important to USE the foods you are storing so we focus on that a lot.

startingfromscratch

If you are brand new, we will walk you through the process of buying and starting to use your legumes this week. We will also briefly look at freeze-dried meats. Here are the tasks you will need to accomplish.

  1. Review the inventory list you worked on two weeks ago to get the total amount of legumes you need for your complete food storage plan
  2. Start purchasing legumes according to your budget – review our post on Best Ways to Purchase Traditional Food Storage for recommendations on where to buy
  3. Learn more about dry beans, lentils, split peas, and legumes.
  4. Look at our Recipes page and our Pinterest boards for ideas of recipes to try using legumes
  5. Learn more about incorporating meat into your food storage and decide how much and what types you would want to store.
  6. Purchase some canned or freeze-dried meats to start experimenting on what you prefer. You can learn to can your own or buy bulk freeze-dried meats later as you determine what will best meet your needs and price range.

Don’t forget to come over and share your progress in our Food Storage Do-Over Facebook Group!

updating

If you have some legumes and meats already stored and feel somewhat comfortable with them step outside your comfort zone and try something new:

  • Review your inventory list from two weeks week and replenish any items from the legumes section that you don’t have your full supply of.
  • Try using 2-3 legumes you never have before this week.
  • Print recipes you use often if you only have them on the computer.
  • Make sure you have 2-3 recipes that use each legume in your food storage and store all the necessary ingredients to make them.
  • Try sprouting some of your legumes to make a healthy snack
  • Try grinding some dry beans to make a bean flour useful for thickening soups or making homemade cream of chicken soup.
  • Try using some of your food storage meats as substitutions in your favorite recipes.
  • Consider purchase a bulk package of freeze-dried meats to supplement your current storage.

Don’t forget to come over and share your progress in our Food Storage Do-Over Facebook Group!

products

ELECTRIC PRESSURE COOKER: You will use your dried beans much more often if you have a good (and fast) way to cook them. An electric pressure cooker allows you to skip the soaking step and fully cook them in 1-2 hours (depending on the variety and age of the beans).
ALL-AMERICAN PRESSURE CANNER: You can use a pressure canner to take dry beans and bottle them to use as regular canned beans. You can also pressure can meats as a way to preserve them for your long term food storage.
WONDERMILL GRAIN MILL:  An electric mill will enable you to easily grind up legumes to use for bean flour.
FREEZE-DRIED MEAT PACKAGES:  Thrive offers some amazing deals on meat packages available only through consultants. You can order directly from our unadvertised specials page.

helpful

Here are some resources both from us and all over the web that can help you if you want more depth on any areas or are looking for even more ideas of items to include in your plans. It’s always a good idea to look at multiple approaches and decide what will work best for you! And don’t forget to check out the discussions on our facebook group to catch anything we are missing or see what others are doing!

PINTEREST BOARD ON BEANS/LEGUMES
Beans the Magical Fruit (bean flour cream of chicken soup) – from Food Storage Made Easy
How To Cook Dry Beans  – from Food Storage Made Easy
Dehydrating Beans to Make Quick Cooks Beans – from Are We Crazy or What?
How to Can Beans the Nourishing Way – from Traditional Cooking School
Let’s Talk About Dried Beans – from Food Storage Made Easy
Let’s Talk About Split Peas – from Food Storage Made Easy
Let’s Talk About Legumes – from Food Storage Made Easy
How to Grow Sprouts – Lentils – from Food Storage Made Easy
Country Beans: How to cook dry beans in only 3 minutes! – by Rita Bingham
Ways To Use Freeze-Dried Meats – from Food Storage Made Easy
Incorporating Meat Into Your Food Storage  – from Food Storage Made Easy
How to Pressure Can Ground Beef – from Food Storage Made Easy
How to Pressure Can Chicken – from Food Storage Made Easy

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WEEK9PIN

Using Grains: A Recipe Index

GRAINSINDEX
This week in our Food Storage Do- Over we are working on incorporating some of the grains we are storing into our everyday cooking. Here is a resource for you on recipes using grains we have done on our site over the past number of years. Pick a grain you need to use or rotate and give a recipe a try!

WHEAT
Blender Wheat Pancakes
Whole Wheat/Multi-Grain Waffles
Whole Wheat Tortillas
Best Wheat Bread Recipe – Yup We Said BEST!
Food Storage Enchilada Pie
Homemade Whole Wheat Noodles and Lasagna
Peanut Butter Bread
3 Pizza Dough Recipes
Pumpkin Cake
No-Knead Bread
Sourdough 101: Part 2 of 2 (Bread)
Homemade Whole Wheat “Rhodes” Rolls
Boxed Cake Mix Extender
Best Sugar Cookies EVER!
Whole Wheat Bread (start to finish)
Honey Whole Wheat Bread
Bread Making Tips
Cookie Clay Dough
Soft Pretzels
Buttermilk Biscuits

CORNEMAL
Corn Cakes
Buttermilk Cornbread
Cornbread
Cornbread II

RICE
Rice Flour Crepes
Homemade Rice-a-Roni
Swedish Beef and Rice
Curried Lentils and Rice
Pantry Jambalaya
Chow Mein
Raspberry Almond Thumbprint Cookies
Rice Pudding

PASTA
Chicken Tortellini Soup
Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup
Homemade Macaroni and Cheese 1
Homemade Mac ‘N’ Cheese 2
Tuna Noodle Casserole
Mexican Casserole
Beach Street Lemon Chicken Linguine
Chicken Tortellini Soup
Tarragon Chicken Casserole
Shelf Stable Poppyseed Chicken Recipe
Julie’s “Healthier” Pasta Salad
Spaghetti Salad

OATS
Honey Granola
Baked Oatmeal
Apricot Oatmeal Bars
Homemade Granola Bars
Honey Granola
Apricot Oatmeal Bars
Energy Bites

MULTI
Multi-Grain Pancakes
Corndog Muffins
Fast and Easy Chicken Quinoa Soup
Chicken Barley Chili
Sweet and Sour Chicken from Scratch (+ Quinoa)
Whole Grain Banana Muffins
Ezekiel Bread
Cream Cheese and Jam Cookies made with HEALTHY White Flour

Save this for later on pinterest:
RECIPEPIN

Food Storage Do-Over Week 8: Grains

We are excited to be starting week 8 of our Food Storage Do-Over 2015! If you didn’t catch last week’s post on revisiting your long term supply you can see it here. Also Julie did a post on how she revisited her long term supply plan here.

Remember this is a 17 week process that we will be going through together. If you want to join in with the group on Facebook click here. If you’d like to receive email notifications of each week’s do-over assignment you can join our mailing list here. Or you can always post in the blog comments with your progress as well! It is so much more fun and motivating doing it as a group so find a way to connect!

WEEK8GRAINS

In BabyStep 5: Grains we discuss storing and using grains. We feel like it is very important to USE the foods you are storing so we focus on that a lot.

startingfromscratch

If you are brand new, we will walk you through the process of buying and starting to use your grains this week. Here are the tasks you will need to accomplish.

  1. Review the inventory list you worked on last week to get the total amount of grains you need for your complete food storage plan
  2. Start purchasing grains according to your budget (if you don’t have a grain mill/wheat grinder you may want to purchase flours instead of whole grains for now) – review our post on Best Ways to Purchase Traditional Food Storage for recommendations on where to buy
  3. Purchase or start saving up for a wheat grinder (see our recommendations in the product section below)
  4. Learn more about wheat, oats, rice, corn/cornmeal, and barley by reading our posts on those topics
  5. Read 7 Ways to Use Wheat Without a Wheat Grinder and try some of the ideas
  6. Look at our Recipes page and our Pinterest boards for ideas of recipes to try using grains
  7. If you have (or buy) a wheat grinder, read 17 Ways to Use a Wheat Grinder and try out some of the ideas using your newly purchased grains

Additional Things to Consider

  • The standard recommendation for storing grains is to store 300 pounds of grain per adult per year. Half that amount for children 7 and under.
  • Wheat is the most common grain to store, but you don’t have to store only wheat. The amounts on standard calculators can be swapped out pound for pound with other grains.
  • If you have wheat allergies check out the additional resources at the bottom of this post for alternatives.
  • Try making things like pancakes or pizza dough before jumping into making bread if you’re new at this
  • Consider purchasing different kinds of grains and flours and try them before you store hundreds of pounds of something you may not like or tolerate very well
  • Don’t switch to 100% whole grains overnight, do half and half at first to allow your digestive system time to adapt.

Don’t forget to come over and share your progress in our Food Storage Do-Over Facebook Group!

updating

If you have some grains already stored and feel somewhat comfortable with them step outside your comfort zone and try something new:

  • Review your inventory list from last week and replenish any items from the grains section that you don’t have your full supply of.
  • Try using 2-3 grains you never have before this week. Good places to use new grains are in pancake mixes.
  • Print recipes you use often if you only have them on the computer.
  • Make sure you have 2-3 recipes that use each grain in your food storage and store all the necessary ingredients to make them.
  • Try making sourdough with your wheat and a sourdough starter.
  • Try making bread without electricity at all. How well would you do?

Don’t forget to come over and share your progress in our Food Storage Do-Over Facebook Group!

products

WONDERMILL GRAIN MILL:  An electric mill is an important tool for rotating and practicing using all of your grains, not just wheat.
WONDER JUNIOR DELUXE:  A manual wheat grinder is useful for powerless emergencies and also to grind oily items like nuts and seeds.
BOSCH MIXERS:  If you are planning to get into bread baking with your wheat, a Bosch mixer will be a great tool to add to your kitchen.

helpful
Wheat / Wheat Grinders
Let’s Talk About Wheat – from Food Storage Made Easy
7 Ways to Use Wheat Without a Wheat Grinder – from Food Storage Made Easy
Wheat Grinder Overview (Pros and Cons) – from Food Storage Made Easy
Wheat Grinder Video – from Food Storage Made Easy

Breads / Cooking with Wheat
BREADS PINTEREST BOARD
Grinding Flour + 6 Fresh Flour Baking Tips – from Melissa K Norris
Top 5 Reasons to Grind Your Own Wheat – from The Bread Geek
BEST Wheat Bread Recipe – from Food Storage Made Easy
Top 12 Questions About Baking Bread – from Food Storage Made Easy
Bread – No grinding, no kneading, no electricity … no problem – from Food Storage Made Easy
Sourdough 101 – from Food Storage Made Easy
17 Ways to Use a Wheat Grinder – from Food Storage Made Easy

Other Grains / Wheat Alternatives
GRAINS PINTEREST BOARD
Grains Overview Page – from Food Storage Made Easy
How to Soak Grains and Why We Should – from Whole New Mom
Alternatives to Wheat – from The Survival Mom
Sources for Alternative Grains – from Food Storage Made Easy
Let’s Talk About Oats – from Food Storage Made Easy
Quinoa in Food Storage – from Preparedness Mama
50 Quinoa Recipes – from Your Thrive Life
Let’s Talk About Rice – from Food Storage Made Easy
Why I Prefer Kamut (ancient grain) – from Mom Prepares
Let’s Talk About Cornmeal – from Food Storage Made Easy
Let’s Talk About Barley – from Food Storage Made Easy
How to Cook Rice Without a Rice Cooker – from Food Storage Made Easy

Please pin and get your friends joining in too!

WEEK8PIN

Julie’s Long Term Food Storage Planning Check Up

In case you haven’t been following along, this year Jodi and I have decided to do a complete Food Storage Do-Over and go step-by-step re-evaluating our entire food storage plan. We are working on one topic each week and this week is our long term food storage planning week. When we started our food storage journey, I had one little guy who was 18 months. Now I’m about to have my fourth son and I can certainly tell you my family eats more NOW than they did 6 years ago. It was nice to have a chance to really take a look at my plan again and make sure it’s meeting my current needs.

When you are making your long term food storage plan, PLAN on it changing.

So here is what I did now that we have another boy on the way. Making the plan for what I still need is where I always start. Today I’m going to share with you how I determined what I still need to buy in my basic long term food storage.


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1. First I re-downloaded our food storage calculator. This calculator contains the standard “food storage” foods that typically have long shelf lives. It’s basic life sustaining foods. My goal is to store a year supply of these foods and supplement with fruits, vegetables, meats, and cheeses. This actually gives me longer than a year supply, but I also have boys who eat more than regular boys so I figure it evens it out. So this is what it looks like when I say 2 adults and 4 kids.

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2. Second I altered the calculator right in the spreadsheet to work with my family’s needs. For example:

  • I added in quinoa and take out a lot of cornmeal. With grains you can exchange pound for pound. I mess around with the pounds of grains until it’s a make up that suits more of what my family eats. You can do this percentage wise if you don’t know it pound wise.
  • I replaced some of the vegetable oil requirements with coconut oil and olive oil since that is what we eat more often.
  • I also replaced some of the sugar with honey and pure maple syrup. I know those items are more expensive but again, we don’t eat much white sugar so I feel like it’s wasteful to store and I don’t rotate it.
  • I increased the amount of powdered eggs I store because I know I use them a lot in pancakes in daily life, let alone an emergency, and it’s simply not enough.
  • I did a few other minor changes taking out/replacing foods we don’t eat.

3. Next I printed my spreadsheet and brought it with me to the food storage room. I inventoried what I had with a pencil right on the paper. Since I have a lot of my food storage already I didn’t worry about the cost and cost per units for now because I’ll only look into it on the items I need to buy when I need to buy them.

4. With my printed paper I updated the spreadsheet and watched all the numbers fill in for what I still needed to buy. It was as “easy” as that!

This has gotten easier and easier each time. Over the past 6 years our diets have changed but we are in a pretty consistent phase right now. We eat from our food storage foods and rotate fairly easy. If anything this do-over week has taught me investing the time into learning about food storage foods and getting comfortable using them has been well worth it.

Food Storage Do-Over Week 7: Long Term Supply Planning

We are excited to be starting week 6 of our Food Storage Do-Over 2015! Last week we saw more great progress from all those participating in the water do-over and we are excited to keep going. If you didn’t catch last week’s post on revisiting your 3 month supply you can see it here. Also Jodi did a post on how she revisited her 3 month plan here.

Remember this is a 17 week process that we will be going through together. If you want to join in with the group on Facebook click here. If you’d like to receive email notifications of each week’s do-over assignment you can join our mailing list here. Or you can always post in the blog comments with your progress as well! It is so much more fun and motivating doing it as a group so find a way to connect!

WEEK7FACEBOOK

In BabyStep 4: Long Term Supply Planning we discuss the process of coming up with a plan for your long term storage. Whether you plan to purchase just-add water meals, get traditional long term food storage, or a combination it’s important to have a plan.

startingfromscratch
If you are new and haven’t started on your long term food storage yet, there are several tasks you’ll need to do to get ready for this. Don’t get overwhelmed, remember this week we are focusing on making our PLANS, not actually buying anything.

Determine which type of long term storage you want to purchase

Read our What Can You Do With YOUR Food Storage article for ideas of the kinds of foods you can make with traditional food storage (wheat, beans, rice, etc.). Then determine what is more your style for your family’s food storage plan.

Method 1: Traditional food storage (calculator-based)
This type of food storage includes a bulk of grains and legumes and other life-sustaining foods but can also be supplemented with fruits and vegetables, meats, etc. You store a certain quantity of food and learn how to cook with those types of foods. You don’t stress about having exact meals planned, you just have the core ingredients to make a variety of foods. It will be important to collect recipes and practice different cooking techniques for this method.

HELPFUL PRODUCT: Our Food Storage Made Easy eBook Set can help immensely with the traditional food storage approach. It walks you through your purchases and education in a series of 26 checklists. You can purchase it at a discounted price (just $14) during the Do-Over and use whatever parts are relevant for what we are working on.

Method 2: Traditional food storage (recipe-based)
This type of food storage is similar to above, except you use a simple meal plan using simple foods with a long shelf life and calculate out exactly how much to store based on your recipes. Many people will come up with a 7 day rotation and multiply that by 52 weeks. This gives you the confidence to know you have all the additional ingredients required to make complete recipes/meals. For example you don’t to store 300 pounds of wheat but none of the ingredients needed to make bread.

HELPFUL PRODUCT: Our cousin put together an entire Can’t Fail Food Storage Plan which includes shopping lists, meal plans, and recipes for a SIMPLE full year supply of basics. It takes the guess work out of creating your own plan. It’s exactly what I have wanted to make for years. I love it!

Method 3: Regular foods
Some people choose to just store extra of their regular foods rather than learn how to cook with traditional food storage. Instead of the typical 3 month’s worth of regular foods that we recommend, they would multiple that by 4 and not bother with wheat, legumes, etc. Shelf life will be a major concern with this method so rotation is critical.

HELPFUL PRODUCT: Our Meals-in-a-Jar eCookbook can give you some ideas of great shelf stable, kid-friendly, regular meals that could be incorporated into your plans. Since they are made using freeze-dried foods with a longer shelf life they can be great for this method of planning.

Method 4: Just add water meals
This food storage does not require a lot of education. These meals typically come in mylar pouches inside plastic buckets or in #10 cans. They have a long shelf life so rotation is not much of a concern. These meals are more expensive but also much more convenient. Taste and quality can vary widely between companies. You will need to store more water if you plan to use this method.

HELPFUL POST: There are a few different considerations when storing just add water meals. We created a post on What to Know When Buying Just Add Water Meals that may help you as you research this topic.

Calculate how much of each food you need for your family size

If you are Use method 1 or 2, our food storage calculator will help you to determine how much of the basic foods you need to store depending on your families needs and goals for long term food storage.


Excel Spreadsheet
Tutorial Video

The Food Storage Calculator is also available in printable pdf format

If you are using method 2 or 3, you may find our three month supply calculator helpful as it can help type in individual recipes and come up with a shopping list for all supplement ingredients, not just the basics.

To determine how much food you need for Method 4, we recommend you come up with a calorie goal per person per day and use that to determine how much to store. Many companies sell packages based on “servings” but servings are only 150-200 calories. So 3 servings a day could only be around 500 calories and would not be life sustaining.

Consider individual dietary needs

Allergies
If you have food allergies in your family, you will need to modify your food storage plan to reflect your own needs. Read our post about Food Storage and Allergies for ideas on how to adjust your long term food storage to meet your needs.

Health concerns
For those interested in a more healthy food storage you may want to make adjustments to a traditional food storage plan as well. We have a whole section of the blog on healthy food storage which you can explore including alternative recommendations and some healthy recipes to try.

Personal Preferences
Do you have picky eaters in your family? We sure do! Make sure to make recipes in advance or try out “just add water” meals BEFORE you have an emergency. It won’t do much good to have tons of food that no one will eat.

Make a purchasing plan

Now that you know how much you will need to store, look at your family’s budget and determine how much you can set aside towards your long term storage goals each week/month. Make a goal to get a full 3 months worth, and then move up to 6, 9, and then a full 12. It’s better to have 3 months of everything than a full year supply of wheat and no salt, oil, or yeast to make bread with it.

Consider saving up and purchasing when there are big sales. Most food storage companies do large Black Friday sales and periodic smaller sales throughout the year. If you can stock up when items are at their cheapest it will be the most cost-effective way to buy all your food. Consider reading our post on Best Ways to Purchase Traditional Long Term Food Storage for more ideas.

Learn to use your long term food storage

There are lots of sources to go for great information and recipes on using your long term food storage. Make sure to review the “Helpful resources” section below for ideas.

Don’t forget to come over and share your progress in our Food Storage Do-Over Facebook Group!

updating
If you already have a start on your long term storage but need to update it consider doing the following:

Jodi’s 3 Month Plan Revisited

This week we are going over building a three month supply as part of our Food Storage Do-Over 2015. I have been needing to do this for a while so I sat down and REALLY “did over” my entire plan. I’m going to share my thought process with you and how I actually implemented everything. It may feel a bit ramble-y but that’s the way my brain works, so go easy on me :) Here we go!

3-month-facebook

Step 1. What is my current system?
Several years ago I made my 3 month plan using our excel spreadsheet. I basically just took my regular family recipes and pumped them in, planning to use freezer foods as necessary. I had all the pantry items purchased and put in the basement. Well over time I would start using them for my regular meals because we are supposed to “rotate” right? Sometimes I would remember to re-stock. Other times I would be sure I had things in the basement and then when I needed them I would discover I HADN’T restocked. ARGH! So at the start of this week I realized this system wasn’t working. I don’t ever have a FULL three months in my basement if I’m always stealing from it for regular meals.

Step 2. Create a new plan
I decided this time that I would use most of my regular meals but they would be ones that could easily be replaced with freeze-dried cheese and meats and powdered equivalents for milk, sour cream, eggs, etc. I don’t have enough freezer space to store a full three months worth of those items for my family any more after having a few more kids :) So I did the meal plan using a week of breakfasts and lunches just repeated multiple times, and thirty dinners that will multiply three times. I used all shelf stable ingredients in the plan.

3 Month Shopping List

Step 3. Shopping time
I already had a lot of these items on hand, so I cleared off a shelf in my basement food storage that will be exclusively for my three month supply items. I made a grocery list using my excel spreadsheet and logged in to my deals to meals account to find where the cheapest prices were for the items I needed. You could also search your local papers for coupons and deals. After buying everything I loaded it all up into box on the newly cleared out shelf space and labeled them “THREE MONTH SUPPLY – 2/23/15″. I listed the items in each box so if I DO need to steal” from them ever I can easily find them.

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Step 4. Rotation plan
So since all of these foods are my family’s regular meal foods anyway, it will be easy to rotate. I don’t need to rotate through the long shelf life items like freeze dried meats and cheeses, I will just keep them in my can rotating shelves and use as part of my long term plan. But for the pantry items I will plan to bring them upstairs after one year and incorporate them into my meal plans for the next several months. I can use the money saved on needing to buy those groceries and just replenish the whole three month supply with fresh items at that time. This way I will ALWAYS have a full three months downstairs (that I’m not in the middle of depleting) but I will also be rotating and using the food so it doesn’t go to waste. I created a chart for my 3 month plan that lists each meal and how many times I can make it based on what’s in my storage.

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Step 5. Meal planning
I have 30 dinners on my list, but there are a few other family favorite recipes that we like to make each month. So I worked out a plan to use/rotate my three month supply ingredients regularly and also still get eat our other family favorites. I made a list of my 30 dinners plus about 10 other favorites and printed it out. I wrote down all the groceries I need to buy to make those 40 dinners. So now I do a big grocery shop about every six weeks and know that I have all the ingredients I need to make those 40 dinners. As I make each one I check it off the list, and don’t make a duplicated until I have made all 40. Then I simply rinse and repeat and go shop for it all again. It’s also helpful for nights when my hubby needs to make dinner because he can just look at the list and know that we have everything to make those meals and he can just pick what to make. I did this before and it worked great, I’m excited to do it with my specific 3 month supply meals to make for easier rotation/replenishment.

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Step 6: Recipe binder update
I figured this was a good week to do a little update on my recipe binder to make sure that all of the recipes included in my three month supply plan are included in it. There were a few that were on websites or in random cookbooks that I didn’t have in there. I added them all and also updated the recipes to include food storage conversions in case I am using my shelf stable foods instead of fresh. To see how I organize my recipes view our post on How to Create a Recipe Binder.

How is YOUR three month supply planning going? Come on over and share your progress on our Food Storage Do-Over Facebook group. We’d love to hear your approach!

Food Storage Do-Over Week 6: 3 Month Supply

We are excited to be starting week 6 of our Food Storage Do-Over 2015! Last week we saw more great progress from all those participating in the water do-over and we are excited to keep going. If you didn’t catch last week’s post you can see it here.

Remember this is a 17 week process that we will be going through together. If you want to join in with the group on Facebook click here. If you’d like to receive email notifications of each week’s do-over assignment you can join our mailing list here. Or you can always post in the blog comments with your progress as well! It is so much more fun and motivating doing it as a group so find a way to connect!

WEEK6DOOVER

In BabyStep 3: 3 month supply we discuss the importance of having a three month supply of foods you regularly eat. We also give you lots of tools to help you plan and build up your supply.

startingfromscratch
If you are BRAND NEW with little to no extra food stored, you have four tasks for this week:

  1. Ask yourself these five three month supply questions to get started with the planning process.
  2. Make a list of foods you eat on a regular basis and determine how much you would go through in three months (our spreadsheet will help if you prefer a detailed plan).
  3. Inventory what you already have and fill in your spreadsheet or your notes with the quantities on hand.
  4. Purchase your three month supply foods using the shopping list from your spreadsheet or your notes. If you can afford to do it all at once you can feel very accomplished at GETTING THIS DONE! (The Deals to Meals website can help you get the best prices for a big grocery shop). If you need to spread out your purchase over time, see some of the tips below to help.

Month Supply Tips

  • Plan your recipes for your three month supply and have them readily accessible in a binder or recipe box (see resources below for tips on recipe/meal planning)
  • Gradually purchase these foods in bulk as they go on sale if you can’t afford to get them all at once (understanding store sale cycles can be helpful).
  • Combine sale prices with coupons for even more savings as you stock up
  • Use and rotate these foods in all your daily cooking.
  • Constantly replenish the stocks of these foods as they go on sale again (check out Deals to Meals for help on finding items at the best prices).

Don’t forget to come over and share your progress in our Food Storage Do-Over Facebook Group!

updating

If you already have a pretty well-stocked pantry full of foods you normally eat, here are a few ways you can participate in the Do-Over this week. It’s always a good idea to re-evaluate, update/rotate, and add to your preps.

Assess any changes to your three month supply needs
Have you been counting freezer foods but would like to switch to all perishables? Have your family’s dietary needs changed? Are all of your recipes ones that your family enjoys? Make any necessary changes to your three month supply planning sheets.

Inventory your food supplies
Take stock of all the food you have that is on your three month supply list. Make a note of the items you need for your full supply versus items you already have. Make a shopping list of all items needed.

Replenish any necessary supplies
Take your shopping lists and hit the stores to fill out your complete three month supply of food. If you can’t do this all at once, try to purchase the items when they are on sale or combined with coupons. The Deals to Meals program and this sale cycle link can help you out!

Don’t forget to come over and share your progress in our Food Storage Do-Over Facebook Group!

products

Deals to Meals: Compares prices of the major grocery stores to Costco, Sams Club, and Walmart. Tells you where the best deals are to stock up your food storage and freezer. Offers a two week free trial with no obligation, no contracts to sign, cancel at anytime
CanSolidators: Sturdy plastic can racks perfect for storing your three month supply canned goods in. Can be adjustable for any width of small to medium can. Available in three sizes and will fit on a regular shelf or in a pantry.

helpful
Here are some resources both from us and all over the web that can help you if you want more depth on any areas or are looking for even more ideas of items to include in your plans. It’s always a good idea to look at multiple approaches and decide what will work best for you! And don’t forget to check out the discussions on our facebook group to catch anything we are missing or see what others are doing!

3 Month Supply Planning Tools
3 MONTH SUPPLY PLANNING SPREADSHEET – Recipe based planning guide
3 MONTH SUPPLY SPREADSHEET: Basic Tutorial Video – Learn how to use the basic worksheet
3 MONTH SUPPLY SPREADSHEET: Advanced Tutorial Video – Learn how to use additional features
3 MONTH SUPPLY PDF WORKSHEETS – for those who don’t have excel or prefer paper
3 MONTH SUPPLY PDF WORKSHEETS: Tutorial Video – Learn how to use the paper worksheets
List of Spreadsheets and Inventory Lists – from Prepared Housewives
3 Month Supply Overview Video – from Everyday Food Storage

Couponing/Savings on Groceries
PINTEREST BOARD ON COUPONING/GROCERY SAVINGS
Understanding Sale Cycles – See what is on sale during different months of the year
Deals to Meals – Program to help find the best deals at multiple grocery stores
Saving Money on Groceries Made Easy – Julie shows how she uses Deals to Meals
Pinching Your Pennies Forum – Great forum for money-saving tips

Meal Planning / Recipe Organization
PINTEREST BOARD ON MEAL PLANNING/RECIPE ORGANIZATION
How to Create a Recipe Binder – from Food Storage Made Easy
Using Meal Plans to Prepare for an Emergency – from Mom with a Prep
Menu Planning with Inventory Tracker – from Endless Crafting
FREE Shelf Stable Recipe Book – from Food Storage Made Easy


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WEEK6PIN

Food Storage Do-Over Week 5: Water

We are excited to be starting week 5 of our Food Storage Do-Over 2015! Last week we saw more great progress from all those participating in the shelves and organization do-over and we are excited to keep going. If you didn’t catch last week’s post you can see it here. You should also make sure to check out our Tutorial: How to build a rotating rack in case you missed it.

Remember this is a 17 week process that we will be going through together. If you want to join in with the group on Facebook click here. If you’d like to receive email notifications of each week’s do-over assignment you can join our mailing list here. Or you can always post in the blog comments with your progress as well! It is so much more fun and motivating doing it as a group so find a way to connect!

WATERFACE

In BabyStep 2: WATER we cover the basics of how to properly store water, how much to store, and what to do when your stored water runs out. water is critical to your preparedness plans as you can survive much longer without food than you can without water.

startingfromscratch
If you are BRAND NEW with no water stored yet, you have four tasks for this week:

  • Determine how much water to store (we recommend 1 gallon per person per day for 2 weeks)
  • Buy or obtain water storage containers. (This post lists pros and cons of different containers)
  • Fill your water containers
  • Purify your water. The easiest way is using bleach but you may use other methods as desired.

If you are feeling ambitious, look through the helpful links at the bottom of this post to get a feel for some additional ideas for more longer term water storage plans (purification, finding other water sources, conserving water, etc.)

Water Storage Tips

  • Store water in “FOOD GRADE” or PETE plastic containers (stay away from milk jugs, but soda and juice bottles are suitable).
  • Store water away from too much light or heat.
  • Clean, sanitize, and rinse all containers prior to use.
  • Do not use containers previously used to store non-food products.
  • Store water in multiple sizes of containers to suit different emergency needs
  • Do not store water containers directly on concrete. Place on cardboard, carpet, wood pallets, or other materials.
  • Rotate your water storage at least once every year

Don’t forget to come over and share your progress in our Food Storage Do-Over Facebook Group!

updating
If you already have your basic water storage needs met, here are a few ways you can participate in the Do-Over this week. It’s always a good idea to re-evaluate, update/rotate, and add to your preps.

Add more containers:
Since you have the basics down, now is a great time to look at other water storage containers that might be useful for different situations. Is all your water in 55 gallon buckets? Maybe you could add a few waterbricks or juice bottles in an upstairs closet or under a bed. We challenge you to add an additional gallon or two per person to your actual stored water this week.

Rotate that water:
This is always something we INTEND to do, but don’t get around to doing it as often as we’d like. There is some debate about whether this is necessary, but after opening a water container and finding algae in it, I’ve decided I’d rather rotate once a year than face having to drink that in an emergency. Yes you can purify it when you need to use it, but rotating seems so much better! Don’t forget to read our tips on how to rotate water so you avoid wasting it.

Research longer term water storage solutions:
Very few people have an actual YEAR SUPPLY of water. The recommendations are normally only a 3-14 day supply. So what do you do when that runs out? Where is the nearest source of water to your home? Do you have the supplies needed to collect rain water? How will you make sure the water is safe to drink? How can you use the least amount of water necessary for non-life-sustaining activities? We address MANY of these topics in the helpful links section below. Spend some time this week doing a little research and perhaps invest in a high capacity water filter/purifier.

Don’t forget to come over and share your progress in our Food Storage Do-Over Facebook Group!

products

Boxed Water Kits: 5 gallon mylar pouches that store inside cardboard boxes. Stackable up to three high. Only need to rotate every 5 years.
WaterBricks: 3.5 gallon capacity bricks that can stack. Durable plastic that can store inside or outside. Great for storing in small spaces like closets or under beds.
Berkey Water Purifiers: High quality filters that both purify and filter water. Useful for emergency water storage as well as every day drinking water.
Sawyer Bucket Filters: These filters have a Manufacturer’s 1 million gallon guarantee. They offer protection against bacteria and protozoa, and are the first portable filtration devices to remove viruses mechanically. You can purchase either a one bucket or two bucket system depending on your needs.
Lifestraw Personal Water Filter: This portable lightweight water filter is perfect for emergency kits. It is a filter not a purifier so it will not get out viruses. weighs only 2 ounces and will filter 1000 gallons of water.

helpful
Here are some resources both from us and all over the web that can help you if you want more depth on any areas or are looking for even more ideas of items to include in your plans. It’s always a good idea to look at multiple approaches and decide what will work best for you! And don’t forget to check out the discussions on our facebook group to catch anything we are missing or see what others are doing!

Water Storage Series FAQ @ Food Storage Made Easy
How Much Water Should You Store? @ Your Own Home Store
Water Storage Containers: Pros and Cons @ Food Storage Made Easy
DIY Double 2 Liter Bottle Tote @ Food Storage and Survival
Water Filtration Versus Water Purification @ Food Storage Made Easy
Emergency Water Filtration Solutions @ Homestead Dreamer
Water Purification @ Food Storage Made Easy
Water Pasteurization and the Wapi @ Food Storage and Survival
How to Make an Evaporation Still @ Food Storage Made Easy
How To Deal With Long Term Water Loss (Water Saving Tips) @ Food Storage Made Easy
DIY Rainwater Catchment System @ Survival Prepper Joe
Water Rotation Ideas @ Food Storage Made Easy
Alternate Water Sources @ Food Storage Made Easy
How to Keep Water from Freezing in Your Vehicle @ The Survival Mom
WATER STORAGE BOARD ON PINTEREST


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WATERPINTERST

TUTORIAL: How to Build a Rotating Can Rack

One of our most popular posts is the rotating can rack tutorial we created back in 2009. We updated the instructions after we’ve made a few more of them and included the new and improved version in our Food Storage Made Easy eBook program. However, we never got around to updating the blog post with the new info. So as a special treat for you as part of the Food Storage Do-Over WEEK 4 we are giving you brand new instructions and even including the pages from our ebook so you can have a handy printable, yay! So if you are organize your food storage areas and planning your shelving needs this week, hopefully this will help you out a bit.

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Instructions

Step 1
Print out the shelf diagram and determine what size of shelf you want to make. Click below for printable diagram and instructions.

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Step 2
Take a large cardboard box and measure out the pieces. The easiest way with the least amount of cuts and gluing is to measure for the entire length of both sides and back. For example, the vegetable can length would be a total of 31-1/8” by 10”. We recommend using a carpenter’s square to measure, mark, and cut, but any ruler will work.

   

 

Step 3
Cut out all of your pieces using an exacto-knife or other sharp blade. We couldn’t find our exacto-knife so that’s why we used this pocket knife. It didn’t make perfect smooth edges but it worked just fine. You could actually even use scissors if you want. If you used a long piece for the side/back pieces then you’ll need to bend the side pieces in to the right shape. We used our carpenter’s square (ruler) to help bend a straight line.

   

 

Step 4
Take the side and back pieces (or the one large piece) and make sure the can fits properly. If not, back to the measuring board! Mark the shelf lines on the side pieces so that you will know where the shelves need to go when you glue them on. All measurements will vary with the size of unit you’re building, so make sure to get them right!

   

 

Step 5
Glue the pieces together. Hot glue is fabulous for this step! We used a low temp craft gun and the glue started to set a little too quickly, but it was still workable. With the big piece open, glue each shelf in place. Then glue them to the back. Don’t forget to put in your wedge, and make sure a can will still pass between the wedge and shelf 2. The other side is the hardest part, because with our gun the glue started to set before it was all in place. After the other side is on, take the front pieces, with the edges bent in ¾, and glue them into place, one side at a time.

   

 

Step 6

Cut some little notches out of the side pieces near the bottom to enable you to pull the cans out more easily. At this point you can paint the whole thing with white latex paint if you want to strengthen the cardboard and have a nicer looking shelf unit.

 

Other Shelving Options

In case this task seems a little daunting, we do recommend a few options for rotating shelves that you can purchase. These are worth a look at if you don’t have a lot of time or you want something a little sturdier.

CanOrganizers: The cardboard rotating racks fit on any shelf in your cupboard or pantry. Three sizes available to best suit your needs. These come in large sheets and you fold them into shape and use tabs to hold them together.
CanSolidators: Sturdy plastic can racks from Thrive Life that can be adjustable for any width of small to medium sized can. Available in three sizes and fit on a regular shelf or in a pantry. These are a little sturdier than the cardboard options.
Deluxe Food Rotation Systems: Thrive Life (formerly Shelf Reliance) produces high quality shelves are customizable in any shape and size to fit everything from tuna cans to #10 cans and more!

 

Here’s a pinnable image if you want to save for later!

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