National Preparedness Month: Planning Your Pantry
by Daisy Luther
It’s National Preparedness Month, and the Professional Prepared Bloggers Association is celebrating by providing you with tons of information from some of the best writers in the niche in our 30 Days of Preparedness round-up!
One of the most important things you can do to celebrate this is to take some time to plan your pantry, so today, on Day 18, we will discuss this important aspect of preparedness. Whether you are brand new to a prepared lifestyle or have been working on it for years, it’s important to assess where you are to figure out how to get where you want to be.
With crises ranging from our crumbling economy, an encroaching police state, the devolution of civilization, possible grid-down scenarios and cyber attacks, and the risk of natural disasters, a one year preparedness pantry is no longer just something that Mormons and those crazy preppers do. It is a logical answer to the threats that we face every day. As prices escalate, the time to get it together is NOW.
The goal for many preppers is a pantry that will sustain them throughout a year. But don’t panic! You don’t have to do everything all at once – very few of us have the spare cash lying around for that. When you thoroughly understand the process, you can streamline the acquisition of your one year pantry. Last year, after a move across national borders and the continent, I had to rebuild my one year pantry from the ground up. I documented it in my series, The Pantry Primer. Following, you’ll find a summary of the steps I took.
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1.) Getting Started
Every journey starts with a single step, as they say, so I began by making a list and going on a shopping trip. I purchased enough basics to get us through a week, and made a few purchases that would increase my ability to cook from scratch (like flour, dried beans, baking powder, and peanut butter). Because I started out with no pantry basics, I had to get a few things I wouldn’t normally purchase, like boxed cereal, some canned organic soups, and ready-made crackers.
2.) Meal Planning
While building a stockpile, meal planning takes on a different focus. You have to break down your shopping into two categories: the stuff you need for the week and the additions to your stockpile. So, that bag of rice might serve both purposes, but the green pepper you’re getting will only serve one. Also remember that the meals you make right now can add to your stockpile. Take, for example, a roasted whole chicken. After you enjoy a couple of meals from that, you can take the remaining meat and bones and make a homemade stock, then can that stock to add to your pantry. The same holds true for a huge pot of chili or soup. Be sure to stick to your budget! I used the envelope method to keep myself on track.
3.) Stretch Your Budget with Home Preservation
Lots of times you can find better deals on items that are fresh, but marked down. I often purchase meat and produce this way. By using simple home preservation methods like canning and dehydration, you can add these high quality items to your stockpile at a much lower price. Combine the bargains into soups and stews and pressure can them. Dehydrate vegetables and fruits to reconstitute for a boost of vitamins and minerals in your freshly made casseroles.
4.) Adding Larger Purchases to your Stockpile
Weekly grocery shopping is not the best way to build your stockpile. Once you’ve established a base of groceries, you can eat from this small stockpile for a few weeks to save enough money to make some larger purchases. Not only do larger purchases add more quickly to your supplies, but generally speaking, they save a great deal of money from those smaller packages that come from the grocery store shelves. Look at Amazon or Azure Standard to find high quality items at a good price. The bonus to those two outlets is that you don’t always pay for shipping for bulk items. Those 50 pound bags can really rack up the postage!
5.) Building the Ultimate Pantry
People create food storage stockpiles for many different reasons, and because of this, there is no “one-size-fits-all” formula for doing so. You must figure out what your goals are and develop a road map towards achieving them. There are three basic types of food supplies: the Bunker Pantry, the Agrarian Pantry, and the Bargain Hunter’s Pantry. Learn about these food storage ideologies and then take the most applicable strategies and combine them to create your own version of the Ultimate Pantry.
6.) Building Your Protein Stockpile
Because meat is so perishable (and also expensive) protein is often the most neglected frontier of the one-year pantry. Particularly in a disaster situation, you may be called upon to perform much harder physical labor than you are accustomed to. It is a necessity to provide your body with the building blocks it needs to repair itself and become stronger. Consider vegetarian sources of protein, buy in quantity, and learn to preserve meat to build up your protein stockpile without resorting to all of the storebought canned minced bits and pieces..
7.) Stocking Your Supply of Fruits and Vegetables
A major challenge when living from your stockpiled foods is getting enough fruits and vegetables. Without produce, your family can be at risk for nutritional deficiency diseases like scurvy and their immune systems will be compromised. A minimum of 5 servings per day is recommended. Supplying your family with produce that will provide the necessary nutrients that their bodies need to thrive is a twofold process. Not only should you preserve the summer’s bounty for the winter ahead, but you should also come up with ways to add fresh greens outside of the growing season. Sprouting is an excellent option, so stock up on seeds to sprout, as well as the equipment you need to do so.
8.) Stockpiling the Basics for Scratch Cooking
To be efficient, every pantry requires certain basics that allow for scratch cooking. A good pantry should have everything you need to whip together a pie, a loaf of bread, or a batch of biscuits with no trip to the store required. Many of these basics, like baking items, sweeteners, fats, and other miscellaneous staples, can be purchased in large quantities.
9.) Stockpiling Grains
Food storage calculators recommend 300 pounds of grains per person for a one year supply. For a family of four, that is a whopping 1200 pounds of grains that you should store if you are trying to build a one year pantry! That sounds like a really daunting number until you remember that it is divided over many different items. Most grains can be purchased in very large quantities at a greatly reduced price.
10.) Where to Stash Your Stockpile
A very common question for preppers is, “Where on earth do you store all of that food?” Unless you have a pantry the size of a master bedroom suite, it won’t take long to exceed the limits of your available kitchen storage. But don’t despair! There are lots of little nooks, crannies, and storage areas around most homes that will allow you to discreetly put away a year’s supply of food for your family. It’s equally important to devise a system to help you find the items that you’ve stashed away.
11.) Maintaining Your Stockpile
Once your stockpile is built, you must maintain it. You don’t want to end up back at square one a year from now. You must rotate items into use in your kitchen, store them for the longest possible lifespan, and replenish them at the best prices available, which will entail tracking of sales cycles, couponing, and bulk purchasing. A careful inventory should also be maintained, so that you don’t drop too low in any one item.
If you’ve followed these steps you should be well on your way to acquiring a one year supply of food by now. This is your key to maintaining your independence in the midst of a crisis, whether it is economic, natural, or man-made. Whatever happens, you can feel confident that you will be able to nourish your family without waiting for a handout.
You can easily apply these principles to acquiring other preparedness items that you need. You’ll save money, prepare for crisis, and ensure your family’s independence.
Those of us who prepare for the difficult times ahead are the ones who stand between the total domination of the powers that be and the freedom that they would take away from us. By understanding how hunger can be used against us, and then taking the initiative to prepare for that grim day, we can’t be controlled as easily as those who have spent years accepting the handouts and trudging along with the herd.
By making intelligent choices to ensure our survival and that of our children, we can resist. Every meal that you put away keeps you a little bit safer from tyranny. Every seed you plant hardens you against threats and bribery. Your self-sufficiency is what will keep you free.
Want to learn more? My book is now available!
Thanks for joining the Prepared Bloggers as we work our way through 30 Days of Preparedness. September is National Preparedness Month so you will find everything you need to get your preparedness knowledge and skills into shape.
Take one post each day, learn as much as you can about the topic and make it a part of your preparedness plan.
Day 1 – Ready, Set, Get Prepared! Welcome to 30 Days of Preparedness from PreparednessMama
Day 2 – The Family Meeting Place and Escape from Laughingbear Adventures
Day 3 – I’m Safe! How to Communicate with Family in an Emergency from PreparednessMama
Day 4 – Does Your Family Have a Fire Escape Plan? from Home Ready Home
Day 5 – Preparedness For Pets from The Busy B Homemaker
Day 6 – The Escape Exercise from Laughingbear Adventures
Day 7 – It all Falls Apart Without Mental Preparedness from PreparednessMama
Day 8 – It’s a Matter of Emergency Kits from A Matter of Preparedness
Day 9 – Nine Great Emergency Light Sources Other Than Flashlights from Food Storage & Survival
Day 10 – Cooking Without Power from Mama Kautz
Day 11 – The Importance of a Shelter & Staying Warm and Dry from Trayer Wilderness
Day 12 – The Importance of Having The Right Tools In Your Pack from Trayer Wilderness
Day 13 – Practice Living Without Electricity from Food Storage Made Easy
Day 14 – How We Choose The Right Gear – (including the MultiFlame Tool) from Trayer Wilderness
Day 15 – Water Storage & Purification from The Busy B Homemaker
Day 16 – Food and Water for a 72 Hour “Go Bag” from Homestead Dreamer
Day 17 – 8 Foods You Should Be Storing and How from Melissa K Norris
Day 18 – Planning Your Pantry from The Organic Prepper
Day 19 – Stocking Up on Non-Food Items from Living in Rural Iowa
Day 20 – Dutch Oven Cooking: Off-Grid Before Off-Grid Was Cool from The Backyard Pioneer
Day 21 – Pressure Canning the Harvest from Timber Creek Farm
Day 22 – Personal Protection & Awareness from Living in Rural Iowa
Day 23 – KISS First Aid from Herbal Prepper
Day 24 – Mommy, I have to go Potty! from Mom With a Prep
Day 25 – Fire Starting 101: The Why and How of Lighting a Fire for Survival from Food Storage & Survival
Day 26 – How to Filter and Purify Water from Prepared Housewives
Day 27 – How To Make A Shelter from Trayer Wilderness
Day 28 – Put Your Preps to the Test with 24 Hours Unplugged from The Organic Prepper
Day 29 – What Is Char and Why You Should Have It To Start A Fire from Trayer Wilderness
Day 30 – How To Utilize Bushcraft Skills and Forage From The Wild from Trayer Wilderness
Daisy Luther is a freelance writer and editor. Her website, The Organic Prepper, where this first appeared, offers information on healthy prepping, including premium nutritional choices, general wellness and non-tech solutions. You can follow Daisy on Facebook and Twitter, and you can email her at [email protected]
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