I'll bet you're here because you have a pretty good supply of food storage — or you don't — and either way, you don't know what to do with any, some, or all of it. It's a nice feeling though, to have food storage, isn't it?
My "journey" with food storage actually began in my childhood — not because we were preppers or felt the need to store food long term. It was simply a way of life.
We lived on a 1/2 acre that included apple, plum, peach, pear, cherry, and apricot trees, a large raspberry patch, and, at times, a small garden. My parents would purchase 12 dozen ears of corn from a local farmer every Labor Day, and my siblings and I would "shuck" the corn while mom and dad cut and prepared it for freezing.
With all that food just "hanging" around on the trees, we couldn't very well waste it — so we canned and froze it and made all flavors of jams and jellies. We bought beef by the 1/2 or 1/4 cow just because it was less expensive in bulk. We could buy chickens, rabbits, and raw milk from the farm up the street.
Fast forward to the time when my children were small and things were very different — no farms close by in my suburban neighborhood and no fruits growing in my yard. But it was already ingrained in me to plan ahead. So I filled my pantry and freezer with the same canned or frozen fruits, vegetables, and meats as my parents did — sometimes traveling many miles to farms in rural areas to buy produce by the bushel.
Why did I bother when bulk food was not nearly as convenient as when I was a child?
The answer: Bottom line — having our own food storage has helped us to be more self-sufficient. Having a pantry and freezer full of food made it possible for me to create healthy meals for my family and be able "shop" in my own pantry instead of running to the grocery store every time I needed something. It has helped me stretch my family’s income in tight budget months, pack easy meals for those wonderful camping trips, and the food was there for us in the event we might have a long-term emergency, whether that is a power outage, natural disaster, or a personal emergency such as illness or job loss.
Since now there are freeze dried foods available, it's just too easy, right? Well, it is — and it isn't. Yes, I still have canned and frozen foods, but what do I do with all that freeze dried food?
Why am I asking this? As we start putting recipes together, it will be easier for you if you already have a pantry full of short term foods, such as baking powder, salt, sugar, powdered milk, beans, rice . . . you know, the basics. So that partially answers the question of "what kinds of foods to buy"?
It's not imperative that you have everything before we start because a list of products you need will be included with each recipe. (If you downloaded the free 3-Month Pantry Supply List when you signed up, you have a pretty good idea of what you need. If you didn't download it, you can still get it here.)
I guess all recipes where you throw in a meat, a vegetable, rice, and spices could be classified as "cooking from scratch", but it's so easy when using already cooked food, as freeze dried, dehydrated, and canned foods definitely are. What I call cooking from scratch are things like cakes (not using a package mix), or a recipe that uses raw foods. So, if that worries you — not to worry.
We'll cover the next five questions in the appropriate places in our recipe pages.
So now let's get into the business of creating recipes!