Tuesday, September 27, 2016

September Week 4: Sugar, honey, etc.

This week's food storage items are:

September Week 4: Sugar (white, brown, powdered), honey, Karo corn syrup, molasses


It may be hard for you to know what your family consumes in sugar every year. One helpful thing is that sugar (granulated, powdered and brown) has an indefinite shelf life, and the same goes for honey, as indicated in this post from stilltasty.com:

Does Pure Honey Ever Go Bad?

Question:  I have a bottle of pure liquid honey that’s starting to get thick and sugary on the bottom. Does this mean it has gone bad and I need to replace it? 
Answer: No — your honey should be fine, provided you’ve been storing it properly.
From a safety standpoint, commercially produced pure honey has a practically indefinite shelf life,says the National Honey Board. It’s not unusual for honey to crystallize over time —  but that doesn’t make it unsafe to use, adds the Honey Board.
That said, prolonged storage can potentially take a toll on the taste and appearance of honey. Besides crystallizing, your honey may also start to darken, change aroma and lose flavor after a couple of years. So it’s a good idea to check your honey from time to time, to see if it’s still satisfactory for your tastes.
As for honey that’s already crystallized, you can revive it by placing the opened honey jar in warm water and stirring until the crystals dissolve. Another option is to transfer the honey into a microwave-safe container, with the lid off. Microwave on medium-high power, stirring every 30 seconds, until the crystals dissolve.
To help keep honey at its best, be sure to store it in a cool, dark area and keep it tightly capped after each use.

So, you can feel good about buying whatever you can, and knowing that if you buy too much, it will stay on the shelves until you need it. I like to pick up sugar at case lots sales once in a while, and keep extras on the shelves. As you go through this system for a couple of years, you'll be able to see how much of each product you use in a year, and then you will know how much you need on the shelves. I keep way, way more granulated sugar than I need, but that is all to be saved for a rainy day!
Decide how much sugar and sweeteners you'll need this year, and write them on your shopping list. In the next day or two, when you're out on errands, stop by the grocery store and pick up the items from your shopping list. Bring them home, get them on your shelves, and update your inventory sheets. And think how happy your family will be that you will have something sweet for them in the years to come!

If you would like the full info on the Week-By-Week Food Storage Plan, just click on the tab at the top of the page. You can then click on any single week and it will take you to the most up-to-date post that featured that week's items. It also has the information as to how you can get a copy of the weekly schedule as well as the complete inventory sheets.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

September Week 3: Dry Beans and Legumes

September Week 3: Dry Beans and Legumes


Depending on what your family uses of these items, this week should be pretty easy and straight-forward. I have white beans, black beans, pinto beans, and dehydrated refried beans that are in cans and will all last for 20+ years. Those, I generally don't open and use during the year (though I could, if needed). I have bags of beans (lentils and split green peas) that I do use throughout the year, so I will decide what our yearly need is, and be sure that I have that on my shelves.

With the Week-By-Week plan, you will decide on your family's needs for the year, and enter those numbers on the Inventory Sheet. Subtract what you already have, and then you'll be left with the amounts of each item that you need to purchase this week. Next time you're at the grocery store (within the next few days), pick up the beans and legumes you need, put them on your shelves, and update your Inventory Sheet. There. Done for the week. Smile at what you have done for you and your family, and then relax til next week's items come up!

If you would like the full info on the Week-By-Week Food Storage Plan, just click on the tab at the top of the page. You can then click on any single week and it will take you to the most up-to-date post that featured that week's items. It also has the information as to how you can get a copy of the weekly schedule as well as the complete inventory sheets.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

September Week 2: Veggies - canned, bottled, dehydrated and frozen

This week's food storage items are:

September Week 2: Veggies - canned, bottled, dehydrated and frozen


What canned or dehydrated vegetables do you consume in a year? We generally use fresh or frozen vegetables, but I do like to have some canned veggies on hand. I have recipes that call for cans of vegetables, and I definitely like to have some on hand for emergencies. I don't use my dehydrated vegetables regularly... those are kept for the long-term food storage. So far, I only have dehydrated carrots and chopped onions, but I think I'll add a few different dehydrated veggies to my shelves. If you bottle your own vegetables, obviously you will have to do this when the veggies are ripe and ready for bottling, but include the updates and information in this week's inventory. This is also a good time to stock up on frozen vegetables (whatever you can store in your freezer).

So, determine what your family's needs will be (for the coming year) as far as vegetables go, whether canned, dehydrated or frozen. Write them down on your grocery list, and next time you're at the market, pick up what your family needs. Get the items on your food storage shelves, and then sit back and feel really good about what you've just accomplished for you and your family. Update your inventory sheet with the information, and relax til next week! 

If you would like the full info on the Week-By-Week Food Storage Plan, just click on the tab at the top of the page. You can then click on any single week and it will take you to the most up-to-date post that featured that week's items. It also has the information as to how you can get a copy of the weekly schedule as well as the complete inventory sheets.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

September Week 1: office supplies, contact info, copies of documents

Since we have wrapped up August, I always go back through my comprehensive inventory sheets and check to be sure I've had a chance to update each of the items for August, which would be the light purple color. It's easy to scan the list for that color, and check to make sure each item is current and inventoried. Now, on to September...

This week's food storage/emergency supply items are:

September Week 1: Back to School -- 12 pencils with erasers, pencil sharpener, rubber bands, Super Glue, copies of important documents, contact information for family, friends, doctors, etc.


This week is pretty basic, and inexpensive. Once you have it gathered, you shouldn't have to do too much when this same week comes around next year. You might need to update the contact information, or documents that you have gathered, but that is about it. Easy stuff.

Keep the pencils, sharpener, rubber bands, Super Glue, and documents in a bin on your emergency supply shelves.

There are many resources online on what to keep track of as far as important documents go. Since I haven't done a really stellar job of gathering important documents in the past, that's what I'll be doing this week to complete my "September Week 1" items.  As far as what to gather for important documents, I like the list I found on iwillprepare.com (the list is shown below). It is pretty comprehensive and may take a while to gather each of the items, but I think it will be a worthwhile project. One thing I would add to the list, is to make a note next to the information that may need to be updated from year to year so that I can run down the list in the years to come, and know exactly which things I need to update. The author of the original website says that they keep their documents in a fire-proof safe, which is an excellent idea, if you have one in your home. You can buy these fairly inexpensively at office supply stores, Amazon, and I have seen them at Costco, too. If you don't have a safe, keep it in a very safe place. With all of the information you have in the binder, it could be detrimental for it to get into the wrong hands!

You can go to their website and download or print off the pdf version.

Also, you may think it unnecessary to make a list of the contact information of family and friends. If your cell phone was incapacitated (maybe out of batteries, or ruined because of fire or water), would you have the phone numbers of family members, friends, doctors, police, fire, etc? Think of anyone you might need to call during an emergency, and write their names and numbers on the list. Keep the list with your emergency supply items and also keep a list posted inside a cabinet door in your kitchen for emergency reference.

If you would like the full info on the Week-By-Week Food Storage Plan, just click on the tab at the top of the page. You can then click on any single week and it will take you to the most up-to-date post that featured that week's items. It also has the information as to how you can get a copy of the weekly schedule as well as the complete inventory sheets.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Week-By-Week Plan: Bye Week

This is your week off! You've earned it, so go ahead and relax a bit. Or, use the time to catch up on any weeks that you are behind on. Or.... straighten up your food storage shelves.

Since this plan is scheduled for four weeks every month (48 weeks per year), there are 4 times in a year that don't have anything scheduled on it. But we'll be back on the schedule next week!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

August Week 4: Canned or Bottled Fruits

This week's food storage items are: 

August Week 4: Canned or bottled fruits - mandarin oranges, pineapple, peaches, pears, etc.


This could be a fairly easy week or not, depending on how much canned fruit your family consumes in a year. If you bottle your own fruit, then obviously you will bottle this week's items whenever the fruit is ready to bottle. Either way, you will need to decide how much canned fruit your family consumes in a year's time. If you are buying the cans (as opposed to bottling your own), write those amounts and items on your grocery list, and in the next couple of days, go to the grocery store and pick up the items. When you bring them home, update your list and get the cans on your shelves. Done. Easy as that. It literally could take you a matter of a few minutes time to get this week's food storage items completed. Unless of course you are bottling your own, and then it definitely will not take a few minutes time.


If you would like the full info on the Week-By-Week Food Storage Plan, just click on the tab at the top of the page. You can then click on any single week and it will take you to the most up-to-date post that featured that week's items. It also has the information as to how you can get a copy of the weekly schedule as well as the complete inventory sheets.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

August Week 3: Tomatoes - salsa, sauce, whole, diced, paste, pizza, spaghetti sauce

This week's food storage items are:

August Week 3: Tomatoes - salsa, sauce, whole, diced, paste, pizza, spaghetti sauce

It's amazing how often I use some sort of canned or bottled tomato product. We love Mexican food and also some Italian food, so it's important for me to always have some on hand. 

For the most part, these are the items (from the list) that I keep in my food storage:


As with most of the other weekly items, I try to estimate what I might use of each of the items in a year's time. And then I pad my numbers. At the end of the year, I want to still have a few on my shelves that I can rotate through. I really try to plan it so that I never truly run all the way out.

After deciding how many of each of the tomato items I will use this year, I update the totals on my inventory sheet, then check that against how many I actually have on my shelves. The difference is what I will go shopping for.

Now, case lot sales are a good place to pick up many of these items. Whenever our grocery store has a case lot sale, I check my shelves to see what items I might need a whole case of, and then buy the case and keep it in the rotation. You can decide which you would like to do -- wait for a sale, or buy the items you need now and move on. The problem with putting too many items on the "waiting for a sale" list, is that that list can get pretty long, and your shelves can stay empty for a while.

After I pick up my items for my food storage, I'll update my inventory list with the new totals, and I will be done for the week.


Remember, this is a rotating food storage plan, which means you will actually be using many of your food storage items so that there is very little wasted, expired food. I used to keep cases of cans on the shelves, never rotating through and using them, and every time I would clean out my shelves, I would end up throwing a lot of old food away. This plan should resolve that problem.

I've had a few people email me with questions this week, and I thought I'd share the questions and answers here so that maybe some of your questions will be answered also.

Q: I would be curious to know how much you budget for each week, how much are you spending to create this supply?

A: Since each week will be varied as to how much you will spend, I would recommend implementing a budget in which you set aside a certain amount from each paycheck for all food storage and emergency supplies. Then, when you go to purchase items, you can take from the money you have budgeted for it. As you get established, you’ll notice that some weeks you literally won’t have to spend anything, while other weeks will still require purchasing items. The money you set aside will also depend on how many you have in your family. Look at the monthly lists and estimate what a month might require as far as budgeting, and begin setting that aside. You may have to adjust that as time goes on.

Q: I have a couple of follow-up questions, if you don't mind. I recognize that this plan is to build a food storage and emergency supply. I have never really had the time or extra money to do such a thing and have always shopped week to week for the things we need right then. That being said, my first question is for each week's list do you intend to purchase enough of that item(s) to last until the following year's shopping? My second question is, how often do you shop for fresh items? Thanks again!

A: To answer your first question, when I first started out, I was not able to purchase an entire year's supply of every item. Sometimes (depending on the item) I would purchase only 3 or 6 months worth. After a while, I was able to get my storage to a year's worth of the items, so now I do try to purchase an entire year's worth of what I might use of each item; and, for your second question, I'll answer it two ways, since I'm not entirely sure what you mean by "fresh items". If you mean fresh produce, I usually pick those items up twice a week, or whenever I need them. I don't include any fresh produce in my food supply. If you mean items to refresh my food storage shelves, I am generally successful in only having to shop for them once a year, whenever they come up on my list.

If you would like the full info on the Week-By-Week Food Storage Plan, just click on the tab at the top of the page. You can then click on any single week and it will take you to the most up-to-date post that featured that week's items. It also has the information as to how you can get a copy of the weekly schedule as well as the complete inventory sheets.