Starting your food prep—
So you have decided to start storing food. Maybe you have not made a long term commitment but it sounds reasonable to move away from living from one grocery store run to the next. Inflation and possible job loss are enough to get you moving. So you start to add a little extra to the kitchen cabinets. Once you get past the obvious what do you buy?
Begin to make a list of the food and nonfood items you regularly use and how much you use each week or month. This is your guide to stocking up. It does no good to buy things you or your family will not eat. Buy what you normally eat. Also start listing prices so you can learn when a sale is really a good sale.
Where do you shop? Discount groceries, closeout stores, salvaged stores are all good sources but you need to know how to spot a good price. Then go for the loss leaders at the major stores. You absolutely need to learn to control impulse buying. If I go into the store and there is a cart full of discounted items, it is smart to look and see if there is anything you use and if the price is really good. Buying ice cream that is not on your list is not a good buy but it is your choice.
Balance in your storage is important. Fifty bottles of ketchup is not good storage. As you begin, start an inventory in a spreadsheet or notebook. As you prep, think in terms of meals. Canned chunky soup over rice can be a pretty good meal without much prep so several meals worth these two items can go a long way. There is also great variety. If you purchase spaghetti sauce you must also have the pasta. Meat is actually optional, good but optional.
In addition to maintaining an inventory, it is important to rotate your food so it is used by the expiration date. When I bring home new storage items, I write the expiration date on the lid or label with a fine magic marker. This makes it easier to find and read. Slide the previous purchased items to the front of the shelf and put the current ones in back. I have several can rotators in my kitchen cabinets. This makes it easy to rotate. It handles the rotating – first in first out. I must admit that I skipped this step for the first three months because my mind was still in the normal shopping mode. It was a lot of work to go back and write all of the expiration dates on the containers and organize them. So if your new to prepping, learn this one.
Finally, as your storage begins to grow, you need to set goals. My initial goals were six months of regular food and six months of long term storage. I have to admit I had very little idea of what long term storage was at this point but I continue to research and educate myself.
Warning: food storage, water storage, equipment, etc can become overwhelming. I started a list of other topics to explore so I could stay focused on whatever step I was on but not forget the passing idea.
Until next time
Ida from the Urban Kansas Prairie