After my son was born, my husband and I decided it would be the best fit for our family if I quit my job and stayed home full-time with my son. Yes it would mean a lot of sacrifice, but I wanted to be the one to take care of my son 24/7 (though that decision was and still is easier at some times than others). Three weeks after I quit my job, the company my husband was working for went bankrupt. Now we had no income, a new baby and a pile of bills. Good times. One thing that really got us through that time was our food storage. We were both raised in homes where we were taught to have enough non-perishable food (or slow perishing food) in storage to keep you fed in times of emergency or times of financial struggle. Even though we had moments when we weren’t sure how we’d pay our bills, we never wondered if we’d go hungry.
After than experience 8-years ago, we’re firm believers in food storage. But now it looks different. It used to be bags of sugar and white flour, boxes of crackers and cans of condensed soups. When we first gave up the processed junk, I really worried how we’d maintain our food storage. At this point, I’m happy to say we’ve found a way to maintain our food storage in healthy ways. Here are the things we keep on hand.
- Wheat – Rather than buy bleached all-purpose flour, we keep buckets of whole wheat berries on hand and grind them as we need wheat flour. This keeps more nutrients in the flour and lasts a lot longer in food storage. This is the wheat grinder we have and LOVE it. But if you’re looking for a cheaper option, there are several hand-winded wheat grinders available that grind smaller portions of wheat.
- Honey – Honey is a superfood. It’s nature’s perfect sweetener, is the only food that is non-perishable and is full of nutrients. Honey has completely replaced granulated sugar for us.
- Almond and Coconut Flours – Because we don’t eat a lot of gluten in our house, we do a lot of baking with almond and coconut flours. This is the best almond flour I’ve found. It’s much finer than the almond flours I get in the grocery store and the price is better than most places. I buy this in increments of 25 lb to make it a little cheaper. That lasts me about a year.
- Meat – Since we don’t eat a lot of packaged pasta, we need main dishes to keep on hand. We decided to do this by buying half a beef from a local rancher. This supplies us with enough meat to last about a year. Plus, we can get grass-fed local beef which is better for you and tastes amazing. You can also buy shares of pork from most ranchers. If you’re not up to buying that much meat, stock up on meal when it goes on sale.
- Jerky – Jerky is great for on-the-go snacks and in an emergency. Plus you can store it in the freezer to make it last even longer. Cave Man Jerky is our personal favorite. The price here on Amazon is a bit high. We buy it at Sprouts Famer’s Market and stock up on in when it goes on sale.
- Canned Vegetables – While I don’t like canned food generally, I make an exception for vegetables, particularly tomatoes. Living in Colorado, I can’t exactly grow them in January. We buy canned diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, crushed tomatoes, whole tomatoes and tomato paste. We use this to make our own marinara sauce, to add veggies to soups, and to add to ground beef to make taco salad and sloppy joe lettuce wraps.
- Dried Fruit – We always keep raisins on hand along with a lot of freeze-dried fruit. Regular dried fruit generally has added sugar (I won’t rant about this… today), but freeze-dried fruit is generally just fruit. We buy cherries, strawberries, apples and mangoes in freeze-dried versions.
- The right kind of crackers – Let’s face it. I have kids and have accepted the fact that they’re going to rebel if I get rid of their crackers completely. But rather than buy Cheeze-its and Ritz crackers, we try to keep it healthier. Our favorites are Blue Diamond Nut-Thins, Annie’s Cheddar Bunnies, and Back to Nature Harvest Whole Wheat Crackers. Do NOT buy any of these full price. We always wait for them to go on sale and stock up. I refuse to pay more than $2.50 for a box of crackers.
- Nuts and seeds – This is another power house food. We wait for them to go on sale and buy them in bulk. We keep all our nuts and seeds in the freezer. Because of the oils, they don’t freeze, but stay fresh that way. We always keep pecans, hazelnuts, almonds, macadamia nuts, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds on hand. If hazelnuts go on sale, I stock up on those as well. Mix together nuts and freeze-dried fruit and you have a great trail mix without having to add candy.
- Coconut anything – Clearly, I love coconut. We keep coconut flour, canned coconut milk, coconut oil and unsweetened shredded coconut on hand. Coconut milk is a great replacement for regular milk, and is a great addition to soups and chicken dishes. We add shredded coconut to all our granola or to fruit as a sweet treat. Coconut oil works in place of butter or olive oil for cooking.
- Nut Butters – These have a shorter shelf life, but we always keep several on hand. We always have peanut butter, almond butter and sunflower seed butter (not a nut) in the house. Store them in the fridge and they last much longer.
- Frozen Fruit – It’s winter here in Colorado. In fact, we’re home today with over a foot of snow! The point is, the blueberry bushes aren’t exactly springing forth fruit. When fruit goes on sale, we stock up in freeze it in individual zipper baggies. Wash fruit and slice it up before freezing it (if it’s fruit that needs to be sliced). You can stick blueberries directly in the bag to freeze them, but I recommend freezing other fruits spread out on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper. Once the fruit is frozen, it’s easier to put in individual baggies and have it still keep its shape.
Hopefully this will help you be prepared for anything from financial struggles to the Zombie Apocalypse. Either way, you won’t go hungry.