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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
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.

6,764 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
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.
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