“Don’t Just Store Your Food …” Ensign, Oct. 2007, 74–75
For more than 15 years, I have worked as an extension educator for a university’s agricultural county extension office in the United States. From questions and comments I often hear, I know a lot of food storage is ultimately wasted. That’s a shame since food-storage staples are so healthy for us and are often more cost-effective than processed items. To better use the food, I recommend the following basics.
Rotate. Remember the first-in, first-out rule, and try to use your food storage regularly. Though some items can be stored for years, keep in mind that their nutritional value diminishes over time. For instance, dry beans used within a year or two cause less gastrointestinal distress than old beans. Eating them several times a week also helps your body adjust to them.
Whole grains. The highly processed foods we tend to eat often contain a lot of sweeteners, salt, and unhealthy fats. And much of the product’s cost can be for packaging. It’s healthier and less expensive to use oatmeal, brown rice, whole wheat, and other grains for nutritious meals, especially breakfast cereals.
Dried milk. You can improve the taste and consistency by using 1/3 cup of dried milk to 2/3 cup of water. Add a little vanilla, and pour it on cereal. Or use it in your recipes as a cost-effective substitute for regular milk.
Healthy oils. Olive and canola oils are examples of healthy options. Shortening and hydrogenated vegetable oils, on the other hand, are especially unhealthy as they raise the bad fats in our blood and lower the good fats. Keep in mind that oils need to be used within six to nine months, or they will go rancid.
5. Cool, dark, and dry. Remember to store your food in good conditions to ensure optimal storage life.
Audrey Liddil, Idaho
Note: More information on food storage can be found at www.providentliving.org.