I had an article written and ready to go for this week but then several things happened.
First, I watched a video that outlined all the reasons we may experience food price increases and food shortages. While the information was mostly accurate it left the viewer with little hope. At the end it encouraged those watching to store long term foods, dehydrated and freeze- dried foods. This is awful advice and I am alarmed how far this video has been seen and how many will prepare in that way and think they are ready only to find out later they made a big mistake. These foods require a great deal of water, more than you could store. Storing some freeze dried and dehydrated foods is fine in a long-term plan but never store anything you don’t use and rotate. I love storing freeze dried and dehydrated foods as ingredients and I use them on a regular basis.
Second, since I wrote my articles on rising prices and the drought more oil leases have been canceled forcing oil prices to a new all time high and drought conditions have worsened.
Third, I have seen very few people where I live, caring about food storage even though we live in the middle of the most productive food producers in the country. Maybe that is the problem, they can’t see a time when farmers will choose not to plant. That is already happening.
Fourth, I am hearing more and more from people who are feeling panicked about preparing, like it may be too late. It is not too late.
Fifth, where are all the gardeners? During World War II 44% of food was grown at home due to shortages. Where are all the canners? Another thing that disturbed me about the video was no mention of helping people learn skills to grow and preserve food.
Sixth, food prices have gone crazy, and shortages are rampant. Stores are limiting purchases of meats, they run out of meats and shelves are empty. I checked beef prices yesterday and the price has doubled.
Seventh, there is a severe shortage of truck drivers. Right now, drivers are being offered bonuses and pay increases, in some cases more than doubling their wages.
I could go on but as you listen to the news reports about the drought and food prices and inflation ask yourself “how prepared am I, am I really ready”? I have been warning about this for months, have you listened?
Food storage is often characterized by worldly critics as eccentric — just steps away from building a nuclear bomb shelter under your house and stocking it with guns, ammo and dehydrated rations.
If you have held back from applying your imagination and effort to storing some necessities for a rainy day, let me ask this: Have you ever saved for your child’s education? Have you ever hurried to buy airline tickets a month in advance of Christmas, because you knew that available seats would disappear if you waited longer?
Do you pay for health, disability, auto, or life insurance, even though you are healthy and able, you don’t plan to be in an auto accident, and you are indeed alive and well? Then you are a candidate for food storage and a provident lifestyle.
Even if you never use your food storage for an emergency if you store what you eat and eat what you store you will always be eating at last year’s prices. You will never have to pay full price for food in the future. Even food goes on sale. It is really that simple. Who wouldn’t love that?
Store What You Eat and Eat What You Store
Begin to create a plan, if you don’t already have one, or update your present plan. Watch for best buys that will fit into your supply. We are not in a situation that requires panic buying, but we do need to be careful in purchasing and rotating the storage that we’re putting away. The instability in the world today makes it imperative that we prepare for the future.
Far too many throw away their storage because they do not use it and are tired of it taking up space or having to move it every time they relocate. There are a large number of people who are tired of wasting food they have stored, who want practical alternatives to storing foods they don’t know how to use.
My recommendation is to be careful when storing commercially dried foods, because they are often thrown away. Commercially dehydrated foods require a great deal of water for reconstitution and are inedible unless they are reconstituted. Foods that are not properly reconstituted will cause dehydration when eaten. Many commercially dehydrated foods are high in salt, thus increasing thirst. This food also takes a much greater time to prepare. Many foods need to be soaked first and then cooked before they can be eaten.
Dehydration is a process through which the use of heat removes moisture from foods. This retards the growth of molds, yeast and bacteria. Because heat is used in the process, foods can be burned, and the nutritional value and taste destroyed.
A few years ago, I was given several cases of dehydrated foods from a commercial food storage supplier to be used in teaching a class. Upon opening a can, and after 45 minutes of preparation I discovered the food had been burned during processing and tasted awful! I repeated this process with the other meals I had been given and I had to throw away every case. There were several foods, and they were all burned.
Freeze dried foods are processed differently and are slightly more nutritious. Fresh or cooked foods are placed in a dryer where they are frozen to -40° F or colder. After the food is frozen, the dryer creates a vacuum around the food. Foods are warmed slightly so the ice crystals begin to turn into a vapor and they are vacuumed off. Freeze-dried foods are then sealed in moisture and oxygen proof packaging to insure their freshness and stability.
If you decide to add dehydrated or freeze-dried food to your storage plan, be wise. Purchase just one can, incorporate it into your normal meal planning and make sure it is a product you will use.
Some have said that dehydrated and freeze-dried foods will keep indefinitely. That is not true. Like all foods, they have a limited shelf life. In fact, certain chemical reactions proceed at a much more rapid rate when water is removed from a food substance. Foods can become rancid and darker in color. Flavor and, in some cases, nutritional quality, are affected when these chemical changes occur. To minimize these changes, opened foods should be packaged in an airtight container. A cool, dry place should be selected to store them.
As with all stored foods, these foods should be rotated. If they are part of your storage plan they should be consumed as part of the regular diet. Regular use of dehydrated foods will help your family become accustomed to them and help when they need to become a more prominent part of your diet.
Your Food Storage Could Make You Sick
If you don’t normally cook with wheat and beans and are forced into a position where you have to eat your storage to survive, you and your family will likely become very ill. If your body is not used to processing these foods, they may do you more harm than good. I have a wheat grinder and store some wheat but definitely rely more on the other foods I have stored to provide the needed vitamins and calories required to remain healthy during a time of crisis. Concentrate now on introducing more fiber into your family’s diet so they are more prepared to survive on whole grains and beans, if that is your food storage strategy.
Children and the Elderly will Starve
Children and the elderly will starve before they eat foods they do not like. Numerous studies have been done by government and relief agencies that confirm this. We have all had the experience of being hungry and after several hours that hunger goes away. When children or elderly persons reach this point they will refuse food, while not understanding they are starving themselves. Why? Because they no longer feel hungry.
When my elderly German grandmother lived with our family she would often refuse dinner, saying she didn’t like what I was serving and wasn’t hungry. This from a lady who was a great cook and loved to eat when she was younger. When I would serve her a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, which she loved, she would eat. If you are living on your food storage I guarantee you that your family will be undergoing some serious stress. Whether this is due to a national crisis, family crisis, or natural disaster, familiar foods will be a comfort to your family.
Don’t let anyone, including me tell you what to store. Store what your family eats!
Always Eat at Last Year’s Food Prices
I mentioned this before, but it is worth repeating. You never have to purchase food that is not on sale so you are always saving money that can be used to help you prepare in other ways. With so many of us recognizing the wisdom of becoming debt free, food storage should be a serious part of achieving that goal.
Where to Start?
This is a great time to decide which new skills you may need to learn. Do you know how to bake bread or make tortillas? This may be a great time for you and your family to discover some new talents together. I bet you have a friend or family member who would enjoy learning with you.
What are our family’s favorite menu items? You will want to ask them for their input with this.
Which foods do you have access to for free or nearly free? Is there a farm where you can glean? Do you, or a friend or family member have fruit trees? Are the vegetables and fruits available to you good candidates for preserving, canning, drying, freezing?
What if you plant a garden and harvest your own foodstuffs? Not much room to plant? Do you have friends you can share a garden with? Perhaps you will grow the tomatoes and they will plant and harvest the green beans. Now you are learning the skills of provident living. Caring for your own needs while helping others, strengthens both giver and receiver.
Is there a food co-op in your town or nearby where you can purchase meats and grains more cheaply?
Have you checked out the food available through store.lds.org? Items can be purchased and picked up at local storehouses or ordered and shipped to your home. Food purchased through the church are great quality, always fresh, packed for long term storage and a great price. We will talk more about this when we get to long term storage but I purchase all my oats, rice and a few other things through this avenue and use them as part of my three month supply.
Ask friends their opinion on purchasing food inexpensively.
What is your budget? Are you willing to eat breakfast for dinner and other inexpensive meals to free up more cash for storage?
Get started now and by July 1st make a list of your favorite meals, create a list you have brainstormed of where you can obtain food either for free, there are lots of free fruits and veggie available right now, or to purchase inexpensively, and you will be able to create your weekly budget.
After you have completed this step, what is left? You now have the beginning of a plan. We will begin by getting a one-month supply of foods from each of the food groups. Financial resources are limited for all of us and most of us cannot just purchase a three-month supply of food. Follow the plan at Totallyready.com and Facebook.,com/totallyready every Monday if you need a guide to help you begin.
“Our Heavenly Father created this beautiful earth, with all its abundance, for our benefit and use. His purpose is to provide for our needs as we walk in faith and obedience. He has lovingly commanded us to ‘prepare every needful thing’ (see D&C 109:8) so that, should adversity come, we may care for ourselves and our neighbors, and support bishops as they care for others.”
“We encourage members worldwide to prepare for adversity in life by having a basic supply of food and water and some money in savings. We ask that you be wise, and do not go to extremes. With careful planning, you can, over time, establish a home storage supply and a financial reserve.” Providentliving.org
Emerson said, “Most people would rather die than think. In fact they do.” Together we will think and succeed.
Visit TotallyReady.com and Totally Ready on facebook for tips and answers to your questions. Message Carolyn at: [email protected] or on facebook messenger to ask a question, make a suggestion for a future article or schedule a zoom class for your ward, family or community group.