If I show you a picture of my dirty, filthy, unorganized and disgusting closet – will you judge me?
Oh you will? Perfect.
Well, I decided to buckle down this weekend and get to work on my Food Storage Project. Remember Food Storage, Part One? From like seven months ago? Well, after hearing of the horrible devastation in Japan, I thought heavily about the need to be prepared for the unexpected. While I believe that all is of the Lord, I am thankful that he has given us the means to be as prepared as possible for such horrible events (whether natural OR financial).
Stuart and I gleaners/food preservers anyway, but we are going about it a different way this year. Last year, we knew that we wanted to put up more produce for the winter and try to utilize more of what we grew/could grow all year round. Because we are in a short season climate, we only have a limited window of time to harvest and store away our bounty. We have re-planned the gardens more efficiently, as well as planned out succession planting plans, in order to stretch our space and seeds as far as we can. We are hoping to put up a bountiful harvest this year!
So, we have a few goals in mind:
1. Store up enough food for roughly three months of meals.
2. Utilize as much of our own space and produce as possible.
I had to clean out this horrible closet in order to begin my storage journey. It was, well, horrible. It was the place we stashed things that we didn't know what to do with: beer making supplies, guitars, a wedding dress shoved in a diaper box, scrapbooking supplies, and fly fishing rods.
So in my fifteen minute burst of energy, I packed it all up…
And down to the cellar it went. Organizing THAT disaster is another story for another day.
After the initial clean out, I could envision the beautiful closet in all it's storage glory. I could see buckets of beans and jars of lentils. The shelves were full of canned peaches, soups, and jams. Extra herbs were in storage containers, awaiting their tasty destiny. Ahh. I am so organized and productive!
But, it was just a dream. Because I've eaten all but 5 quarts of my peaches. And so far, I only have wheat berries, sugar, oats, and rice. But hey, at least it was clean.
I don't know how many of you have prepared a food storage system, but it's sort of overwhelming. What do you store? And how the heck do you know how much to store in the first place? I've decided to not let this project overwhelm me. Instead, I've simply decided to add one food storage goody to my closet each week (whether that means ordering a bag of grain or purchasing extra baking soda from the store). Little by little, I will chip away at it.
See that jar on top there? That's my one jar of canned pumpkin. It's the only can aluminum can of food that I own. Guess I will have to work on that, as well.
This food storage closet shall not get the best of me.
Oh no it won't.
Because we have signed up with a local food co-op (Azure Standard) and are able to buy much of our storage food in bulk, we will be able to save significant money in the long run. I'm only going to stack up on item that we actually use and eat so that when we do need to draw from the storage, it will be palatable.
More than palatable. It will be delicious!
The summer will bring with it the chance to stock up on canned fruit (apricots, pears, peaches), dehydrated fruit (apricots, pears, plums, peaches, apples…), canned vegetable soup (we make this from our garden veggies), various pickled vegetables, and even some dehydrated vegetables and herbs (tomatoes, chilies, green onions, parsley, chives…). We will be like little worker ants, slavin' away under the sun. Basking in the bounty the Lord will bring!
So until that bounty arrives, I'm going to be slowly stocking up on the less exciting, but important, items. This will include:
– Baking soda
– Baking powder
– Vanilla (1 homemade bottle)
– Peanut butter (3 jars)
– Coconut oil (1 gallon)
– Honey (2 gallons)
– Wheat (soft white and hard white – 50 lb. bags)
– More rice (20 lbs.)
– More lentils (10 lbs.)
– More beans (10 lbs.)
– Quinoa (5 lbs.)
– Salt (1 lb.)
– Shaved coconut (5 lbs.)
– Nuts (5 lbs.)
– Seeds (Sunflower and flax – 2 lbs. each)
– Whole corn for popping (3 lbs.)
– Millet (5 lbs.)
– Barley (5 lbs.)
This is a list that is specifically tailored to our family's tastes and eating habits. While it is by no means exhausted, it is a start to our storage journey and one that I can slowly work on fulfilling.
All is of the Lord – and I cannot stress enough how much we need to rely on Him for every breath, every moment, every hardship, and every blessing in our lives. Storing food for rough times, financially or otherwise, will by no means ensure safety, security, or health. But it just may help in times of trouble. And it does help to be able to afford nutrient-dense, high quality, whole foods by being able to buy them in bulk. Which is a win-win, as far as I'm concerned.
So, follow along with me, as I grow my wee-little, empty, pathetic storage closet into a closet full of goodness!
Goal One: Clean out the closet.
Goal Two: Get Stuart to like beans.
Well….it's a work in progress.