Now I understand you must have high expectations on this blog post. I mean the word “easiest” is pretty heavy in expectations. But I suppose it all depends on what you consider easy. Easy and quick aren’t always the same thing.
For me (and what I hear from soooo many people) the most difficult part of food storage planning is “I don’t know where to start”. I mean think about it. I’m supposed to just magically know what quantities and variations of food to buy that will sustain my family’s physical and psychological needs for an entire year. Just based off of intuition?!
No longer my friends! The process for building your food storage that I’m going to share with you, truly is the easiest method I could come up with. As I said before, it’s by no means the fastest way. But I believe it’s the most sensible and cost effective way to go about things. So let’s get started.
Step 1: Figure Out what Your Family Eats – Today
Come up with either 14, 21 (or any other multiple of 7) meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner that your family currently enjoys eating. Keep in mind ease of preparation. You want these meals to require fewer ingredients (less items to store) with little preparation (less fuel/energy to make).
Also keep in mind the assets your family may have at your disposal. For example, if you have chickens – include as many egg dishes as you can think of. If you have a garden, include recipes with the produce you normally churn out every year. You get the point.
Step 2: Write Down Ingredients and Instructions
If you’re like me, you have most of your recipes floating out in cyberspace for you to access when it’s time to throw dinner together. Unfortunately all your favorite online recipes are going to be obliterated when you either lose power or an EMP wipes out all technology across America (Debbie Downer you say?). So below your menu, type up the ingredients it takes to make your meals and directions for cooking them.
Step 3: Make It Last a Year
Go back through all your ingredient lists and multiply the quantities needed for a year. For example: I added 21 recipes for my menus for breakfast, lunch and dinner. That’s 3 weeks worth.
There are 52 weeks in a year. So if I divide 52 weeks by 3 weeks, I get 17.333.
So I just rounded it up to 18. That means I’m multiplying all my ingredients by 18 – meaning I can make each meal 18 times.
And with 3 weeks worth of meals that means I’ll have 54 weeks worth of ingredients (email me if that made no sense whatsoever).
As you can see in the example above, the ingredients have what’s needed for a single making of the recipe and in parenthesis what’s needed for 18 preparations worth (1 year).
Tip: If you don’t have a handy measurement converter for things like tablespoons to ounces you can always Google “18 tbsp to ounces” and it will convert it for you.
Step 4: Combine Ingredient Quantities
Now copy and paste all your ingredients to a single document. Use the “find” option to find like ingredients and combine the amounts. For example, you’ll more than likely have water as an ingredient in several of your recipes.
Cut all of the “water” ingredients and quantities out of your list and put them in a new document. Add all the quantities together and you’ll know how much total water you’ll need for a year for all of your recipes. Do this for all of your ingredients and put them into categories (Basics, Fruits, Veggies, Grains, Condiments, etc.)
Step 5: Put into a Spreadsheet
Simply copy and paste your final list into a spreadsheet and create three additional columns – How much you need for a year, how much you have stored, and how much you need to still purchase.
Step 6: Print it!
What is the point of having all of this glorious information if you don’t have it on paper. When you’re power goes out, you’ll be left wondering how the eff you’re going to incorporate the ketchup, raisins and quick oats into your breakfast. Get it on paper.
Benefits of organizing your food storage this way:
- You know exactly how much of every item you need. You no longer will have to guess what to buy in order to come up with a year’s worth of food.
- Cost effective. Because you have a list with specific items and quantities, you don’t have to worry about “over supplying” on certain things. Or wasting money on things you won’t use.
- Organized meal plan. When chaos is surrounding you, it will be comforting having a plan.
- Personalized. One of the several things I hate about all-in-one year food storage packages, is the fact that they aren’t personalized to your family. They are simply cans of calories sufficient enough to keep you all alive. Nothing more.
- Psychological benefit of knowing you’ll be eating familiar foods. You already enjoy these meals currently, having that familiarity will keep the balance in an emergency (especially with kids)
So there it is folks. The “easiest” way to plan out your food storage. Happy prepping!
The editor of Resounding Earth, and pursuer of relatively interesting information, Simon has a Masters Degree in Creative Writing and Journalism from the University of Wales, and is a photo-journalist and writer whose written and photographic work has been represented by the AFP news agency and appeared in newspapers across Europe and Asia.