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People often ask me why I talk about preserving and storing food so much. I think that is a great question and a great topic for a blog post. So here’s my answer.
There are several reasons I talk about food storage. The first one is it saves you tons of money. I absolutely understand that everyone is in different stages of life with different circumstances and different priorities,. Canning can sometimes take a lot of time and make for some long days. I will tell you this, though, it is absolutely worth it to carve out some time to can the things that your family eats most often. And if you can grow a lot of it yourself that’s any even more significant savings.
I feel the same about dehydrating and fermenting. When you buy fresh produce at the peak of the season it’s a lot less expensive and you save even more. I think it also cuts down on waste. You can get really tired of corn or green beans or tomatoes at the peak of the season. Canning the extras is a wonderful thing. And when there’s snow on the ground that jar of corn is a little taste of summer heaven. You absolutely don’t have to can stuff in huge batches like I tend to do. I only do that because 1. I love to can, and 2. I really really like not having to run into town all the time to pick up things for dinner.
An important part of home preserving is knowing what’s in your food. Because when you do it yourself you get to decide what’s in the food you feed yourself and your family. And I think we’d all agree that’s something we’d like more control over.
Another reason I’m a food storage advocate is because I like having food in the house all the time. Because you just never know when you might not be able to get to the store. Where I live we have tornadoes, lightning storms, floods, hail storms, ice storms, blizzards, and recently started having earthquakes. Any of those things can knock out power, which happens at least twice a year, and/or keep you at home, which also happens once or twice a year. Not having to rush to the store like everyone else when they‘re forecasting a major storm makes my life much less stressful. Having chili and soups and even meat all ready to just heat up (on the grill when there’s no power) gives me a very secure feeling.
Let’s talk about bulk buying for a minute. I like to grind my own wheat for flour. I know. I’m crazy. But there’s so much more nutrition in freshly ground flour. 🙂 And I find it oddly therapeutic.
I go through about 5 pounds of flour a week baking for family and some friends. More during the holidays. That’s close to 300 pounds of flour a year. I can buy organic wheat berries online (if I could buy it locally I would, that’s always my first choice) in bags ranging from 5 pounds to 50 pounds. The 50 pound bag has a significant per unit savings over the 5 pound bags. And often I can get free shipping, and who doesn’t love that? It makes sense for me to order it in the 50 pound bags.
Even at my farmers’ market I can usually get some kind of deal for buying larger quantities. Especially tomatoes. Especially if I’m looking for canning tomatoes. Cause those don’t have to be perfect. They can even be a little soft. Same with apples. U-pick places will often be priced much less than the store as well. So don’t forget to check out those if you have any nearby.
My final reason has to do with being more self-sufficient, but also with another kind of security. We live in an economy that leaves a lot of people feeling uneasy. The financial gurus tell us we should have 3 to 6 months worth of money in the bank to pay your bills in case of job loss. If, God forbid, that should happen, you’d be in much better shape if you also had 3 to 6 months of food stored. In an incredibly stressful time that would alleviate a lot of the stress. I just believe in being prepared.
So, those are my reasons. The biggies at least. I’m not gonna lie, it does take some time and some planning, but it’s totally doable. You have to plan for the bulk purchases and sometimes you can go a little over budget when you’re first starting. But I encourage you to have a plan. Pick 1 item to stock up on each time you do your grocery shopping. And check out food delivery services like Azure Standard and Zaycon Fresh. I don’t live near an Azure Standard drop point so I’ve never used them but I’ve heard nothing but good about them. Zaycon Fresh is beef, pork, poultry, and seafood. There’s a minimum order amount, but the meat is great, and the pickup is well-organized and fast.
In fact, I just recently picked up my order of chicken breasts. I canned some of them and froze some of them. For the canned ones I did about half of them plain and the rest I put a teaspoon of homemade bouillon in the jar. Wonderful! For the frozen ones some were plain and I put some marinades in the packages with the rest.
Here’s a great quick meal idea. I sliced up some of the breasts and froze them with sliced onions and bell peppers. Added some fajita marinade and sealed in my Food Saver. I can take a package out of the freezer, open it up, plop it all into a skillet, add a little water, cover and turn on the heat. After a few minutes it will be thawed enough to come apart when you stir it. Dinner can be on the table as soon as you get everything else out.
Love fast. Love easy. Love Mexican. 🙂