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Food Storage

There are many possible problems that can occur in which having a supply of food on hand will allow for life to continue in a relatively normal manner. Such circumstances as a trucker's strike, famine, drought, or other natural catastrophes could prevent food from being readily available. By having your own supply of several months of food, such circumstances will not have as great of impact on you and your family. This article will address what to buy, how to store it and how to rotate it effectively.

Whole grains, rice and legumes are the most nutritious, easy long term storage items. However, the foods bought for storage should not only be used in emergencies. Whole grains incorporated into your daily diet will have health benefits as well as allow for your food to stay fresh. Using, or rotating your bulk foods is a method that will also be economical as foods bought in their whole form are less expensive. You will also save money preparing your own foods instead of buying things ready made or commercially processed. Along with saving money, it is better for your health, as commercially processed foods contain preservatives, additives, refined sugars, extra fat and lack the nutrients found in whole grains. Wheat, in its whole form and unrefined is very healthy and easy to store. Wheat is one of the best sources of nutrition, containing Thiamine, Niacin, Iron, Zinc, and Riboflavin. More and more people are trying to incorporate whole grains into their diet. Whole wheat berries (the wheat grain before it is ground) have a shelf life for several decades, if stored properly. Wheat berries can be soaked, cooked, cracked, baked, sprouted, and ground into flour. It is best to grind wheat when needed, as this will allow for the most nutrients to be available for the body. Legumes are an under used food that is also very easy to store long term and full of healthy nutrients. Other than used for baked beans, soups, casseroles and with rice legumes can be used by pureeing them or grinding them into flour. They are also excellent for making baby food. Grains can also be bought rolled, oatmeal is the most common rolled grain, but barley, rye, red and white wheat can also be purchased rolled. Rolled grains can be served as a breakfast cereal, made into granola or blended up into flour for cookies, bread and cakes. Rolled grains can be served individually or mixed in any combination.

Food should be stored in a cool, dry and dark place in sealed containers that keep out moisture and insects. Only food grade containers should be used, or those properly sealed in cans or jars. Food should be kept off the floor and away from concrete. It is not enough to have it on carpet, it needs to be on shelves or set on boards to raise it off the ground. Date items when they are purchased so older items may be used first and it is known how old food is in case it is not used in the time frame that is suggested.

Although having these whole grain items on hand is a great way to prepare for emergencies, knowing what to do with them is equally important. Often products are purchased in grocery stores and markets ready made. However, if it is not possible to get them from markets, for whatever reason, the skills to make them your self will be vital. Practice making items that you normally buy. Although this does not have to be a daily occurrence to allow you to rotate your storage, done consistently, over time, it will accomplish that goal as well as save money. Tortillas and bread are two useful products to start with. Also helpful is making pancakes, cookies, cakes and other baked goods from scratch. It is also possible to make your own mixes, like those you would buy in the store, to have "convenience" items on hand to save time and effort.

Recognize that problems can be personal as well as those far reaching situations that effect many. Such things as a job lay off, disability, medical problems or other things that might be unexpected which take your financial resources, can all be reasons to have a small food storage on hand. Preparing for emergencies before they happen takes the fear out of them and gives a plan and method for which to successfully cope with such problems.

About the Author
Francesca Black has worked in the emergency services field for more than 10 years. More information available at Prepare for Emergency

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