Taking the Bite Out of Food Storage

“Taking the Bite Out of Food Storage,” Ensign, Mar. 1992, 72

Taking the Bite Out of Food Storage

“How long would your food supply last if there was a disaster?”

My stake president’s words hit home, and I left stake conference eager to store a year’s supply of food and other necessities for my family of nine. But when my list of needed supplies ran seven pages long, I became discouraged. Sixty bags of diapers for my twins? I envisioned my family going bankrupt.

I’ve since learned the value of building up my year’s supply one step at a time. The following four-part plan can help any family get off to a good start toward becoming prepared—without feeling overwhelmed in the process.

Step 1: Learn the basics of home storage. Doing so will save you time, money, and effort. An excellent primer is Essentials of Home Production & Storage (booklet, 1978), available at Church distribution centers.

Step 2: Acquire an emergency supply of life-sustaining foods and water and store them properly. (See Ensign, June 1989, pp. 39–42, for details.)

Step 3: Build up your storage gradually. It’s amazing how fast storage shelves can fill up when you buy commodities in double quantities—for example, one can of beans for regular use, the other for storage. I buy some sale items in quantities to cut costs and to add a variety of familiar foods to my storage. Bulk buying is a money-saver too, and you can get even better deals by sharing the cost with someone else and buying larger quantities. Be sure to check the expiration dates on bulk items so they won’t spoil before use.

Step 4: Eat what you store. You can become ill by eating foods you’re not used to eating. Give your body time to adjust to storage foods by supplementing your regular diet with recipes such as the following:

  1. Popped wheat: Fry wheat kernels in oil in a frying pan until they pop like popcorn. Season with garlic or onion salt.

  2. Wheat cereal: Put one part wheat kernels and two parts water in a slow cooker. Turn setting to high and cook all night. Add milk, honey, or butter as desired.

  3. Cracked wheat cereal: Blend 1 cup wheat kernels in a blender until they crack. Bring 4 cups water nearly to a boil and stir in wheat slowly to avoid lumping. When water boils, add butter and salt to taste. Let cereal simmer 15 to 20 minutes.

  4. Add cooked pinto beans to baked beans.

  5. Sprout wheat or beans and use in soups and salads. Alfalfa sprouts are easy to grow and are a good substitute for lettuce. Soak the seeds overnight in a quart jar of water with a clean nylon stocking as a lid. Drain the water and rinse the seeds twice a day until the sprouts grow high in the jar. Keep the jar of growing sprouts in a dark place.

  6. When you make bread, add dry powdered milk to the dough to improve flavor and increase nutritional value. You can extend your supply of milk by adding reconstituted powdered milk to whole milk at a one-to-one ratio.

  7. Dehydrated foods can be added to your regular diet in several ways: mix powdered eggs or dehydrated diced potatoes with your scrambled eggs or hash browns; use powdered cheese on popcorn, with or as a substitute for butter; eat snacks of dried fruit; substitute dehydrated vegetables for regular vegetables in soups and stews.

  8. Try homemade chocolate candy snacks for dessert: Bring 1 cup honey to hard boil. Remove from heat and add 1 cup powdered milk, 1/2 cup cocoa or carob powder, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Stir mixture and form into a roll on a buttered cookie sheet. Cut into sections.—Pam Taylor, Salt Lake City, Utah