One thing I always find interesting when I teach classes, or even talk to others about food storage, is that they don’t get the difference between 3 month food storage and long term food storage. They just think food storage, and lump it all together in one category, and that is where so many people get stuck and shut down. They are stuck on the thought that all food storage is wheat, beans and powdered milk, and while that is a vital part of the long term food storage, it is not on the list of 3 month food storage, unless you regularly grind wheat and make your own bread or are like me and eat beans instead of meat.
So what the heck is the difference you ask? Well…… there is a huge difference!
Do you know the different purposes of a 3 month food storage vs long term food storage?
A 3 month supply of food storage, is made up of foods you eat every day. It is your pantry foods, the ones you go to when you create a meal. The ones your family goes to when they want something to eat. When you ask what someone wants for dinner tonight, or breakfast, or for a snack – that is your 3 month supply of food. When you go to the grocery store and spend $300 on food, that is your 3 month supply of food. Food that you regularly eat, on a daily or weekly basis, that you wouldn’t want to do without. Does that all make sense?
Now I know there are some of you keeners out there – like myself – who are going to say that their long term supply kind of melds in with the 3 month supply, and I agree that it can and eventually should, but for all intents and purposes to help me explain the difference, we are going to pretend that it doesn’t, okay? But, I totally get where you are coming from!!
Your 3 month supply of food, has a specific purpose. It is to keep life as normal as possible, while your family is going through an emergency, a disaster, or economic hardships. Job losses, sickness, death of a home provider, a truckers strike, a storm, a power outage, some natural disaster, whatever the challenge may be, this is not the time to try to live off your wheat and beans. This is the time to keeps some semblance of normalcy in your home. If you as the provider, or the mother of the home, if one or both of you were sick, your family could continue on eating for 3 months. If dad all of a sudden looses a job, which happens all the time now, you know you have 3 months of food to sustain you through while he finds another. If there is a natural disaster in which the store shelves empty, or worse – are destroyed – you know your family will be able to eat for 3 months, without much difference, and hopefully by then the disaster will be somewhat fixed and back to normal. 3 month supply of food is also a fantastic way to save money on your grocery bill. Sure it might take a little extra in the beginning to start gathering, but once you have it in place, and have the plan in place, you just replenish when things come on sale, or as needed.
3 month supply of food, is not the same as long term food storage. Long term food storage, consists of foods that will last a long time sitting on your shelf under the proper conditions, and will sustain life if the time comes to that. Yes, it is the wheat, beans, powdered milk, sugar, salt, and things like that.
You need to have both!!! There is brilliance in the storage of long term foods like these. When one learns how to use them properly, they will sustain life for a long time, providing all of the necessary vitamins and nutrition needed. You won’t be fat and sassy eating them, well maybe the sassy part, haha, but you will be healthy, and you will be alive. I incorporate these into our life right now, because I have determined that if the time ever comes – or I should say when the time comes – because I believe it will, my family will already be familiar with these food items, and we can roll with whatever is thrown at us.
I actually was asked by a friend the other day if she should throw out her powdered milk because she has many cans full of it, but it is old and she says she will never use it. She can’t stand to drink the stuff. Well neither can I, but I don’t drink store milk either, or any milk for that matter. But – don’t think of yourself – think of the little ones in your life, whether they are kids or grandkids, or neighbors or whoever, and I guarantee they will drink it. I worked hard at getting my kids used to using powdered milk when they were little. I would often mix up a jug of milk when we ran out of store stuff, and they drank it. They used in on cereal, or with chocolate, and sometimes even added a little brown sugar or something with it, to make it taste just a tiny bit better. Now, I am confident they would make do as adults, with powdered milk if need be, and so would their kids. It just takes finding the right ways to use it. So, my answer is NO, don’t throw it out, because even though you may never drink it, you have grandkids that will. You can even make home made baby formula with powdered milk, so NO don’t through it out!!
You may say you will never eat wheat, because you are gluten intolerant, but I guarantee there are ways to cook with wheat, that will make it usable for you. There are ways to cook with wheat that makes it really quite delicious! If you sprout your wheat just a bit, then dry it, grind it, and cook with it, most gluten free people can eat it this way. You can sprout your wheat and use wheat grass to gain super vitamins, including vitamin C! And maybe you will never eat wheat, but dang it your kids will, and your husband might like a nice hot piece of bread with butter and honey on it. Don’t throw it out! Store it!
You don’t know how to cook with beans, so why would you ever store them? Figure out how to cook with them I say, because it really isn’t hard, and they will provide you the proteins and vitamins you need to stay alive. These with wheat, or other grains, provide most of the vitamins and minerals you will need to keep healthy and alive. Add in a little milk, a little sugar and honey, and you can sustain life for a long time. Will you be living the high life? No, but then again maybe you will – it’s all relative right??
So to wrap it up – 3 month food storage is just that! Pantry foods, regular every day foods, sitting on your shelves, to keep life as normal as possible during emergency situations. They help you ride out the storms of life by helping bellies stay full and hearts stay happy. Long term food supply, is meant to sustain life, if or when the time ever comes, and when you have the knowledge to use these items, you can sustain life for a long time with it actually tasting pretty good!
Quit mixing up the two ways of storing food – for they are meant to be used very different from each other. Once you understand their purposes, and why you should have each, then you are well on your way to having a well rounded out storage!