Food Storage Review

Discussion in 'General Preparedness Discussion' started by UncleJoe, Aug 12, 2010.

  1. UncleJoe

    UncleJoe Well-Known Member

    This is copied, with permission, from another forum. It is slightly edited to fit in 1 post.

    Although there is just the 2 of us at this time, I'm going to take another look at our food stores. I felt that we were in good shape for a year. Now I'm having second thoughts. :dunno:

    Feeding entire extended family for a year

    How we fed 10 and sometimes 16 for a year.

    Many of you have read my other threads where I shared that we have fed my daughter, SIL, grandkids and my parents for a year. That is 10 people. We also garden with the older daughter and her family of six. The younger daughter and family are moving out Friday after saving every penny and finally being able to buy a house after his job loss. SIL has worked two jobs and daughter has helped with our small farm.

    1. We have stored large quantities of food for years and canned most of our meats, vegetables and fruits that we raise ourselves and scrounge from sales, etc. That helped a lot with the learning curve.
    2. We always thought we had enough of everything stored for a year for all of us. We did not.
    3. We used the usual LDS tables, etc. to calculate food storage and prepare for a disaster. I also had my own tables of what we eat and how much we needed. My own tables were a life saver. You must know what you eat and store plenty of it.
    4. The economy and having to buy food at increasing prices really took a cut into our budget.

    Results of a year:
    1. We used 200+ pounds more wheat than we had planned or thought we would need. That comes to around 600 pounds of wheat, maybe more because I did not count the wheat we bought from a local feed store. My record keeping must improve.
    2. Extensions of rice, beans and noodles are absolutely essential to stop the budget buster. I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to store beans, rice and noodles and LEARN to COOK them in hundreds of different ways. Having to work on this for variety took way too much time. Now, however, we are better equipped and have a notebook of recipes to help us. Everything from Pinto Bean soup to Louisiana Hot Beans. Beans take practice. You must remember to soak them the night before to avoid the usual issues with beans. When we forgot, then we had to come up with something else to fix. Rice became the fall back. I'm beginning to hate rice.
    3. Buy an extra Crock Pot. We kept two going most weeks just to keep up. There is just not enough room on the stove to can as much as we needed to and cook meals at the same time. We are exploring building an outdoor canning area.
    4. Learn to make simple breads. I had a colon tumor several years ago and grinding my wheat has been a part of my life for years. I had no idea what to do, however, when children could not handle the wheat. We learned to soak the grains and sprout the wheat. It was a learning curve, however, that wasted precious time....... We are either soaking or sprouting most of the time. My main source for this was the book Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon. It was essential.
    5. Counter space in the kitchen. This seems stupid to most of you, but when you are cooking for so many and canning at the same time.....this becomes essential and saves lots of broken dishes and insanity. We learned to have everything in zones and broke things down into small chunks. Everyone had a different job, but the same job all the time. DD was responsible for soaking grains....I dehydrated the sprouted grains....she made the specialty breads.....I kept the bread machine going. Four preschoolers really slow things down here. It has to be streamlined. I can only imagine how difficult this would become without electricity and no bread machine. I've done it, but with this many would be tough.
    6. Fruit.....we vastly underestimated here. I use it for granola and oatmeal and eating. We dried 4 bushels of apples and canned peaches and blueberries. We ran out of apples by the end of December. I had to buy fruit.....A BUDGET BUSTER!! We are buying twice as many apples when they are in season this year to split among us and have dehydrated and canned six bushels of peaches for the year. I have also done 3 bushels of blueberries and we are working on the melons now.
    7. Vegetables....You cannot have enough tomatoes. (I know this is technically a fruit.) We underestimated on pizza sauce and over estimated on tomato soups. I did not save enough for vegetable soups during the year. It takes a lot of planning to get this right. I should have thought it through better. I wound up having to either buy picante sauce or make my own after January or so when the salsa ran out. Green things.....broccoli wasted precious freezer space and needs to be dehydrated instead, green beans get old every meal, lettuce bolts when you have a really hot April. All kinds of storage here is essential.
    8. Herbs.....I could not believe how much basil and oregano we went through. This was an area I had only guessed at how much we would need. This was a major shock! I used almost all of my cinnamon reserves and we ran out of garlic and thyme. I purchased a huge supply of dehydrated onions and separated it into jars. I have some left, but we need a very large amount. We use garlic for everything and lots in medicinal treatments. I planted three times as much garlic this past year and have some in the dehydrator now for garlic powder. We have gone through everything I had and have bought more during the year.
    9. Medicinal need a lot for kids.....more than I had stored. Thyme was an issue as was the garlic as already mentioned. We used a lot more chamomile than I thought we would.
    10. Meats. With so many people, we could never fix them plain. They were always fixed with an extender. We went through the meals I had canned very quickly. There were many days where we were exhausted from canning, taking care of children and dealing with my father with dementia. I can only imagine how difficult it would be to have an extended difficult period without having instant meals to fall back on. After this year, I plan to have half a cow canned in various ways on my shelves just to reach for when things are impossible. Given the cost of everything, we just could not run to the local fast food restaurant when we were too tired to cook. Being able to heat stews, soups and roasts to serve over rice and noodles was a life saver for me.
    11. Medicines, etc...I overestimated on bandaids, underestimated on poison ivy fighting supplies and have been working on the jewel weed soap and salve when time permits. We had plenty of headache type products, but need tons more lotion. I had no idea how much we would need with all of us doing manual labor. Pain medication and those wonderful stick on pads for sore muscles.......I now buy those most every time they are on-sale.
    12. Paper products. You can live without paper towels. It sure saves a lot of money, but it means you must wash more often. We did a mix of both. Some days paper towels were the greatest thing ever for wiping up spilled milk etc. Other days we had time for the towels and washing. When kids are sick, forget trying to use towels and wash.
    13. Soap. I had exactly enough stored for a year. I usually make my own, but that was tough in the middle of everything. I have made some for fun in the last several months, but I made enough again to last for awhile. Dishwashing liquid and washing machine powders.......this was terrible. I was a total failure in storage here. This is an area that I need to stock LOTS more. I thought I was doing great but forgot how many times that kids have to change clothes and diapers need to be washed.

    How to stay sane:
    1. Clutter will be everywhere with that many people in a house. Get used to it and ignore the toys.
    2. You can never have enough storage bins. Buy more.
    3. De-clutter closets and organize the long term storage. I thought I was organized, but not enough. When the power fails and you have this many people in one house, stumbling for blankets and having to move food buckets is the pits!
    4. Glasses. Buy lots of extra at yard sales or use the plastic throw away type and re-wash them for the long haul. We tried to keep up with everyone's cup to avoid washing, but that is really a job.
    5. Keep the refrigerator free of left overs. Feed them to the chickens instead and keep things rotated well. We needed so much space just for produce as it came in from the garden. Some things ruined because there were just not enough hours in the day to can them.
    6. We built a pea sheller. Time involved in shelling peas just was not worth it for us. Time was the real problem. There just is not enough time to keep cooking and working from scratch without cutting steps to the bare minimum.
    7. Have a universal calendar for everyone. At no time should everyone have their own calendars when this many people are together. Everything went on my phone and my phone stayed in my pocket at all times. The alarms went off to check chick feed, broiler water, plant seeds, water the garden, turn off the water, check the canner, check the dehydrator. Alarms went off constantly, but there was no other way to keep up with everything.
  2. Emerald

    Emerald Well-Known Member

    Is it ok to post a link to the uncut portion? I would love to read it.
    While I agree on most of the whole list there are a few things that I must say I don't agree with. I am the youngest of 6 girls and we have one baby brother, add the parental units and we are almost 10! (well were, we are all grown now) sure lots of work, but not the never ending grind. Dinner and laundry did take quite a bit of concerted work.;):D We did go and buy at the pick your own places and did much canning and freezing. let's not forget the communal shower with the other sister due to small water heater and only one bathroom!(I know TMI:eek::eek:)
    But to sing the praises of that book"Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon" :scratch Total let down and most of the recipes and preserving techniques are plain nasty.( I do lacto-ferment many pickles and my own sauerkraut.
    better to buy Sandor Katz book "Wild Fermentation" and "Charcuterie" by Brian Polcyn.
    But just my opinion.

  3. UncleJoe

    UncleJoe Well-Known Member

    I only edited out a few sentence's that didn't affect the general review. It was mostly comments on how a particular child reacted to different situations. All of their food storage experiences are in there.
  4. Emerald

    Emerald Well-Known Member

    Well I'm hoping that they had more to life than the never ending grind, it sure seems from the post.. But then they are just posting about food storage and they do have tiny ones. Little ones always add more to the work load. They do sound more organized than my family, getting ready for school was quite the mad house. (Picture 6 girls all trying to get ready and only one bathroom and the fights over who's gonna wear what!)

    The dearest darling Grand daughter helped me clean green beans Tuesday-being two she didn't quite grasp that Amma was trying to make sure none of the ends got in with the cleaned beans, of course when Amma wasn't paying as close attention as she should have, DG dumped the small bowl with end bits back into the big bowl with cleaned ones and also would grab one here and there and take a bite or chew on it a bit and then try to add it back to the main pot!:eek: Not a big deal, and she had the biggest smile, how could I scold that face!:D Thankfully I was only about halfway done with the bowl and it was pretty easy to pick those ends out.
    Once we got them cleaned all I heard was Yum, Amma? so I had to stop and cook up a small pan full, and darned if she didn't sit there and eat almost every one and even some of the ones I put in a bowl for myself! lol
  5. Genevieve

    Genevieve I'm done - gone

    I'm sorry but it sounds like these people were wasting a lot of time IMO.
    You can't do everything every day. That is why for generations, women had certain days that they did certain things. One day totally for laundry. One for baking for the whole week. One for cleaning the house,etc. You can not do it all, all the time!
    They started a good thing in the kitchen with the separate chores for people, but they needed to extend that to the rest of the household chores.
    One person who's responsibility is the laundry, or the cooking, or the sewing and mending, or the childcare, etc.
    This place sounded like mayhem.Sounded like everybody was in the kitchen getting in the way.
    You can't work like that.
  6. Emerald

    Emerald Well-Known Member

    She also talks about how hard it is to cook for that many people- well, maybe because I worked in restaurants for so many years, or even cooking for the family from quite an early age(If you cook you didn't have to do dishes! I HATE doing dishes:eek:) I do not find it that hard to do. There are many tricks and things that can be done that makes it so much easier to do.
    But she is spot on with the crock pot thing-when I was younger it was Mom's job to put the meat and seasoning in and when I got home from school I added the veggies and by the time everyone was home it didn't take long to make up salads or pasta or rice to go with the crock pot stuff.
    We did one to two loads of laundry a day tho, and it seemed to never stop coming. I also seemed to never have clean undies!:tmi:
    I live in the same house I grew up in and the kitchen is the size of everyone else's bathrooms! My mom had us help gather the produce from the garden and weed it but we usually didn't get to help can, it was easier for dad to take us away and my mom and grandmother would do the canning.
    But Me myself, would love to have an outdoor screen room with a range in it for my canning- it always seems like the hottest day of the year when I do jams or beans and sometimes tomatoes.
  7. lotsoflead

    lotsoflead Well-Known Member

    I think he had a good system, nothing becomes a grind if you know doing your job depends on whether the party survives or even eats, you do it and like it.
    yrs ago hte women of the house did different things on different days because she done it all, he had plenty of help.

    the thing that i would do different is make sure that everyone knew everyone elses job, so if someone got sick, another person could step right in.
  8. NaeKid

    NaeKid YourAdministrator, eh?

    My grandmother grew-up in a household of 13 children, my grandfather in a household of 12-children. I have heard all the stories of farming, canning, drying, cleaning, washing, etc.

    We live in a "now" society where we have twenty-pairs of pants, two for each day of the week and then a couple spares. 80 T-shirts, 60 pairs of socks. We, as a generation, toss out the old socks instead of repair them to wear them another day.

    Back then, a woman wore an apron, because it was easier to wash a small apron and hang it out to dry than to wash the whole dress. An under-shirt was worn, not to keep you warmer, but, to keep the over-shirt seperated from the body (sweat). A napkin was tucked into the shirt collar to be used as a bib to keep the shirt cleaner, longer. A closet was small due to the fact that there was only 3 or 4 items that would be hung up in it.

    Now, in the new homes you find a closet the size of a bedroom and a bedroom the size of a living room.

    Laundry doesn't need to be difficult, we just need to decide how much clothing we really need.

    Emerald, just like you, I spent lots of time cooking professionally. My first cooking job was preparing 3 meals a day, 7 days a week for 1,000 mouths. My second job was at a fancy restaraunt where I did everything from preparing the ingredients for the day to cooking (baking) when it was ordered in. My third was as a short-order cook whippin' out breakfast, lunch, supper for hundreds of customers. Cooking for 10 people? That is a simple feat after cooking for a thousand.

    The biggest suggestion I have to the person who wrote their experiences that UncleJoe shared with us is to streamline the processes, to make things simpler. Re-organize everything in the house to make the processing of people, items, food, etc faster and there will be more time to enjoy the little things in life. Take note of how a good restaraunt has things organized and copy that plan.
  9. HarleyRider

    HarleyRider Comic Relief Member

    All I need is my "Tennessee Tuxedo"... flannel shirt, overalls, and a pocket full of nickels. :cool:
  10. Emerald

    Emerald Well-Known Member

    I have decided that if and when I get to redo my kitchen, we are going to take the huge dining room and just put a big stainless steel bar down the middle and my kitchen will be on one side and the family on the other!( they all want to be in my kitchen with me anyway. The old kitchen will be the new laundry room.) Plus, I am planning on making it more restaurant style with a pantry (where the old laundry room was)with the stainless shelving and the nice bins for the silverware, kitchen utensils. I already have over $400 worth of high grade 18/10 stainless steel pots and pans on a rack and each year(for my holiday gifts) I add one or two high grade/restaurant quality things to my cooking arsenal! I had to learn the hard way that buying cheap is buying new almost every year, while buying expensive well made, heavy duty lasts a life time.

    I have been where they are tho when it came to harvest time- grew way too many pole beans one year and too many tomatoes one year- they came in hot and fast and I just ran out of room to process and get them ready for the canner/freezer. I resorted to just taking the best of the best and letting the rest go to the chickens. * Lucky for me tho, with pole beans I just let them all go and make seed for next year. The best seed beans were picked out of the all the dry ones and saved for planting, and the rest were made into soups and refried beans, baked beans.. etc...
    *I do have to say tho, I tried to get folks to come and get the extra produce and most of them said "if you pick it and bring it to me I will use it" OhhhhWhaa?:eek: I can't believe how lazy folks are now days, I have had offers of you pick it and it's yours and I jump on it!
    Even the food pantries would not take it--"we don't take fresh stuff, folks don't want it!" I guess most folks have never heard the old saying "beggars can not be choosers".:scratch