Looking for a ways to put together a solid food storage plan? Try these ideas.
I find it’s best to constantly evaluate my food storage plan. I evaluate it for overall cost, making sure I get the best deal on my purchases. I am also open to new preservation techniques (I’m trying my hand at fermenting these days) and I’m making purchases from companies that have the same level of quality I do when I preserve.
I’m also looking for time cutting alternatives for my food storage. We spend quite a bit of time in the kitchen cooking and preserving.
While these are also a part of our daily life, lets face it, when the garden is in full swing there isn’t much time for anything else. If I can get quality food at a reasonable price, I’m on board!
There are 4 paths you might take with your food storage plan
You might be a complete do it yourself type. Purchasing food in bulk and then learning to dehydrate, freeze, and can the food you need for an entire year. It is hard work but worth it, since you will have control over all the food you grow and purchase, and how fresh it is when you preserve it. Your hard work pays off with the satisfaction of knowing you’ve stored the best food you can get.
This is a rotating plan and your food will have a shelf life of 12 to 24 months. Next year you start it all again.
Time commitment = large
Money commitment = medium (if you purchase right or grow your own)
Local Grocery Supplies – You may purchase canned and processed food from the local grocery store and use it as the foundation for a 3 month rotating pantry or as a basis for longer term meals. These are things like canned soups, stews, meats, vegetables, beans and salad dressings. Include boxed mixes and frozen fruit or veggies as part of the purchases, and you will have a combination of ready to grab ingredients to create meals with little effort.
This plan easily stores for 12 to 24 months and allows you to pull items from the pantry to create individualized meals. This is perhaps the most cost effective way to get your food together and diverting just $20-$50 of your grocery budget each month can make a big impact.
Time commitment = small
Money commitment = small
Related: The 10 Laws of Food Storage
Prepackaged Plans – If you have the money for it, you can purchase a year’s worth of prepackaged food. There are advantages to this system and if you are looking to have an emergency supply of food, easily prepared, this is the best way to go. These meals are easy to rehydrate and usually have a short cooking time. You are familiar with them from the hiking food aisle. This is not really a sustainable solution if you are creating a food storage plan to feed your family daily, but is excellent for bug out bags, camping trips and occasional quick meals.
In the past I have not been a big fan of prepackaged food storage. There’s something about getting a big box of food, all sealed up tight, that makes me not want to break into and use it. I have recently re-evaluated my ideas. These items often have a long shelf life of up to 25 years. Be sure to take a look at the preservatives that are being used to accomplish that long shelf life and decide if you want those products in your food storage plan.
Time commitment = small
Money commitment = medium to large
A hybrid plan – You can create your own custom plan from the solutions above. Purchasing and/or growing fresh food in season then canning and freezing extra items at home. This can be supplemented it with bulk purchases of grains, some canned goods, plus dehydrated and freeze dried meals. In my opinion a your food storage should be rotated into your weekly meals, not set on a shelf waiting for hard times or TEOTWAWKI to hit. I think that you are setting yourself up for wasting all that money that you’ve saved if the food is not rotated. That’s why I use a hybrid plan for my food storage.
The shelf life for the items in this plan will have a wide range, from 1 year to 25 years, and gives you the most flexibility of your purchasing power. You can purchase fresh food in bulk when prices are low and packaged food when it’s on sale. Saving money overall on your grocery budget – and who doesn’t like that!
Time commitment = large (it’s really more of a lifestyle!)
Money commitment = medium (averaged out)
Valley Food Storage
I recently had the opportunity to try a sampling of food from Valley Food Storage and I have been quite happy with its quality. Each meal comes hand sealed in Mylar pouches with a 25 year shelf life. We tried Mango Habanero Chili, Chicken Teriyaki, and Irish Style Cheddar Potatoes.
Taste: Excellent. There were no complaints from my family at all. They knew I was cooking prepackaged, freeze dried meals and were ready to pounce on my purchase decisions if the quality was not up to par. They loved the flavor and texture of the food.
Preparation: This is perhaps the easiest part of storing dehydrated and freeze fried foods. A meal from Valley Food Storage comes prepackaged and only requires boiling water and a bit of cooking time to rehydrate it. Anyone can do it, even kids.
Meal Size: Most packages serve 5 people. Really what that means is 1.5 cups per serving. I guess we are big eaters because a package of Mango Habanero Chili or Teriyaki Chicken only served 3 people in my house and did not leave leftovers. If bigger portion sizes are important to you, plan your purchases accordingly.
Cost: If purchasing individually, lunch & dinner entrées are $11.95 each. Most items have 5 servings in a package. That turns out to be between $2.50 and $4.00 per serving. I consider that a great price for an all natural meal with no preservatives. For as little as $50 per month you can create a individualized monthly plan, with the foods you want, and that fit your budget.
Related: Top 10 Food Storage Posts of 2015
Considerations for purchasing freeze dried meals:
- These are prepackaged, ready to go meals. If you like to create your own custom meals, this is not your plan.
- Is your family used to eating freeze dried food? There can be a bit of texture trouble for those expecting their food to look and feel just like fresh food.
- How will you incorporate and rotate this food into your weekly meal planning? Consider starting a food storage meal day at once a week. This gets your family used to eating the food and gets you rotating.
The benefits of Valley Food Storage Meals
Ever the skeptic, I was pleasantly surprised to find that these meals have –
- No MSG
- No trans fats
- Made with sea salt
- No cholesterol
- Just add water
- No preservatives
- Gluten free and dairy free food is available
That’s about as natural as you can get. Your next question will be “Ok, sounds good but how do they do it?” A 25 year shelf life for natural foods!
The simple answer is they got together with food scientists to come up with recipes and and processes that will give the product they wanted. The next step was to go out and source the individual ingredients to ensure quality, not just buy them wholesale from the biggest factory. Then they go through the long process of freeze drying and/or dehydrating the foods and combining them into an amazingly high quality individually nitrogen flushed Mylar bag.
If you would like to give Valley Food Storage a try, they are offering my readers a 10% discount on any food on their site. Just click the banner below abd enter MAMA10 as the discount code at checkout.