Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Food Storage

Feelings become strained, quarrels more frequent and nerves frayed when excess debt knocks on the door. Resources channeled to make payment on debts do not put one crumb on the table, provide one degree of warmth in the house, or bring one thread into a garment. Many more people could ride out the storm-tossed waves in their economic lives if they had their year's supply of food and clothing and were debt-free. Today we find that many have followed this counsel in reverse: they have at least a year's supply of debt and are food-free.
President Thomas S. Monson, “That Noble Gift—
Love at Home,” Church News, May 12, 2001, 7.

ProvidentLiving.org has put up a recent article from the Ensign about rethinking some of our ideas about food storage.
Family Home Storage: A New Message

This is something that Julianne and I have to strategize about. We live in an apartment, and it's not exactly a large one (the San Francisco Bay area is not known for affordable housing). Because of this, we have had some difficulty storing extra food. Julianne has developed a number of tricks in the three different apartments we have lived in over the years.

Many apartments have extra space above the kitchen cabinets. In apartments where this is the case, Julianne stacks canned goods as far back as she can. Since she used to work in a grocery store, she has to constantly remind me to keep them sorted with all of the labels facing forward, for the best aesthetic effect. Any LDS member who sees it is immediately impressed at the innovative decorating scheme (non-LDS friends may just wonder why you have so much food).

We also have large buckets right in the kitchen filled with flour, beans and rice. We use them as chairs whenever we have too many guests for our four chairs.

In our current apartment, where we have very little extra space, we actually push our couch about a foot and half out from the wall so that we can store food behind it!

For water storage, we reuse various beverage containers (and periodically buy large bottles of water from a local warehouse store). We then put as many of them as we can fit into the fridge - since fridges are more efficient when full.

We certainly don't have a year's supply of food yet, but we have quite a bit - and are looking for innovative ways to store more.

The article at Provident Living also has some great new information about how long various foods can last. Based on recent research, many foods can last for a very long time without taste or nutritional degradation.

Based on personal experience, however, I can say they really don't last forever. For example, the 15-year-old canned turkey we inherited from my mother-in-law's food storage may have been nutritionally acceptable, but we never could find a way to make it taste good. And then there was my grandmother's apple juice. Perhaps not sealed as carefully as it should have been, and left a little too long in the basement, Grandma's home-made juice led to one particularly exciting family gathering. Parents poured their kids a glass, poured themselves some, and then catching a whiff of the juice, ran around the table grabbing it back from the kids.  You don't want to serve hard cider. I believe there is something in the Word of Wisdom about that... 

Read the article from Provident Living for more advice about how to store foods, and to learn which foods can last a very long time when stored properly. 

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