*Starting a Food Stock*
I know that over and over, one of the very first things you hear about survivalism is the fact that you need to build up your food supply.
For the many new folks here, you'll hear many opinions about how much food is needed (usually in months) and how to do it. If you don't already have a plan in place, just thinking about it can be very overwhelming.
Some will want to plunk down a big chunk of money and order cases of food that is freeze dried and touted as a years worth of "survival food", or maybe start buying cases upon cases of the military MRE's and stacking them out in the garage or storage room.
While there are some good things about doing it this way, I'd like to point out that if you are not used to preparing and eating these types of food, your body may not like it (read that as lots of gas and BM problems) until it gets used to it. Plus, you may find out that that big stack of food you just bought, just doesn't taste as good as you would like, and you might even not want to eat it after trying it.
Ok... so what do you do now, you might ask. Well, here's what we did and it worked very well for us and didn't take that long or cost too much at any one time.
First off, decide what it is that YOU like eating. What do you have everyday? These are the types of foods that your body is used to and you are already used to preparing. Why not stick with what you already know works for your family right now?
Let's say that you get paid every two weeks. If you don't, just fill in your own payday schedule and it will still work. Ok, when you get paid, you sit down and decide what you want to eat for your meals until next payday, and you fill out a shopping list.
You head on down to the grocery store, with list in hand and buy what you need to last until next time. ANNNNNNNNK! Wrong answer. That's is what the sheeple do (actually, they more often go almost everyday to get dinner for tonight either at the store, or at some fast food place-YUK!) and that just won't work for us now will it?
We want to start stocking up on what we eat, so we'll be increasing our food stock over what we'll eat until the next time we go grocery shopping.
Let's say, for the sake of this argument, that you would normally buy 14 to 20 cans of assorted veggies for side dishes for two weeks. Instead of just buying those, try and double that number. If you can, catch stuff on sale and get even more.
Then, when you get home with your purchases, take a Sharpie marker and write the month and year on top of the cans (example 12/04) so you'll know when YOU bought them. This date is NOT when the food would expire past date. Then, place this food in your pantry but place it behind any other food of the same type.
You ALWAYS want to rotate your food items and eat the oldest first. By writing that date purchased on top, you can easily see what is oldest and need to be eaten first.
Use this same system for all food supplies you buy and not just for canned goods. If your food budget won't allow you to double everything, do what you can because even just a few things here and there will really start to add up quickly and by having what you already like and eat and by rotating your food stock, you know that it will get used before getting past that expiration date for the product.
Canned goods are easy to stock up. They are easy to find and sales are found often. Meats are what many find are harder to stock up on. Sure, you could have a deep freeze filled with hundreds of pounds of meat, and that would be a great thing too, but what happens if you lose power for many days? All that meat will thaw out and you'll either be having one heck of a bar-b-que, or you'll be having to dispose of all that rotting, stinking meat. (unless you have sustainable alternate power to prevent that from occurring)
Finding meat products that you can stock up on that don't require refrigeration is easier today than ever before! You can find beef, chicken, tuna, bacon and more that is fully cooked and sealed in vacuum sealed packages that will store for months. For beef, Jack Links brand can be found for around $3.50 a package that equals one pound (pre-cooked weight) of beef and is seasoned in either Lightly Seasoned, Italian or Mexican flavors. We easily find it at Wal-Mart in red packages. Look for it and try it in a few of your own recipes to see if you like it before buying a bunch.
You can store grains and other things needed to fill out your menu. Get creative, but do stick to the things that your family likes and will eat. If they could live on beans and rice, you've got it made. These things store very well and are cheap!
Do this for awhile, and if you're like us, you'll be well on your way to having a great food stock that you can use everyday and be comfortable with what you have, and how you got it. Now... finding a place to store this is another problem, but lets take those first small steps first and get the ball rolling.
Don't forget to watch for those sales and buy more when you can, but make sure that those bargain brands are ok for you too. Stringy green beans that are tough to chew may not be what you want for that meal.
It's not that hard and doesn't have to put a big crunch on your budget because you're doing it in small easy steps. Like I said, you'll be amazed at how quickly it starts to add up.
Good luck, and I hope this helps someone.
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