The Food Storage Law of 3’s
I learned a valuable food storage lesson a few weeks ago by a Master Food Preserver. It has me rethinking my whole food storage plan. It’s this concept – to think about HOW you store your food and not just WHAT you store. For example, if you live in an area where storms frequently knock out the power, then relying on your freezer as the only source of food storage could be asking for trouble.
Grandma’s adage, don’t put your eggs all in one basket, rings true even today. The Law of 3’s in food storage is this:
Always have your food stored in at least three ways.
We all have our food storage comfort zone, our favorite method – and mine is definitely buying in bulk and using the freezer. There is a big hole in this system, though and my master preserver friend has convinced me to really diversify.
Since rule #1 of food storage is use it or lose it, then it’s important to use all varieties of stored food as part of your diet. When your food storage is an extension of your pantry you are rotating efficiently and practicing how to cook with many kinds of preserved foods.
Rethinking food storage – Canning: Water Bath and Pressure
I recently went to a class and learned how to pressure can. I’ve had the water bath method covered for years, but not having the pressure canning piece has definitely left a hole in my overall plan. We recently found that the electrical plug for one of our freezers when out. Luckily we caught it in time, but having all my meat in the freezer is not following the Law of 3’s and opens me to losing a big part of what I have stored.
Rethinking food storage – Dehydrating
Another method that I need to utilize more is dehydrating. I used to have a dehydrator processing continually all summer long, but I got out of the habit. I pulled it out of storage after talking with my friend and dried 20 pounds of asparagus.
Rethinking food storage – Freezer
I haven’t given up my food storage plan to use the freezer! It’s just about diversity now. The freezer is really good for all kinds of food, so make sure it is part of your plan too.
Rethinking food storage – Buy it at the grocery
Does your local grocery have a semi-annual canned food sale? This is a great time to stock up on some of the regular items that your family might use. We always purchase a years worth of tomato sauce and tomato paste in pre-packaged cans.
Even purchasing at discount stores, like Grocery Outlet, will give you a quick way to get your three month supply finished. Be careful with the expiration dates and take a look at this post to see when you should pay attention to them.
Rethinking Food Storage – Freeze Dried Foods
One of the newer methods for food storage is freeze dried foods. They boast 25-year shelf life and the convenience of “just add water” for a fabulous source of nutrition. These companies, like MyFoodStorage.com, offer food with 100% of the RDA of vitamins and minerals. This shelf life and nutritional value are extended up to 10 years.
Freeze dried foods also require less square footage to store than their wet counterparts. This method has enabled the development of powdered milk, eggs, cheese, and butter; four items that make (or break) practically every meal at my house. These four are also perishable goods that we can’t “stock up on” unless we store them dry.
And finally, although they are more expensive, freeze dried foods offer faster cooking times. Entrees are ready in as little as 7-11 minutes! These quick to make, healthy foods are my choice for the foods I have included in my 72-hour kits. We also use them when the power is out because they are quick and easy to prepare.
Take time to rethink your food storage and diversify. What other methods can you add to your food supplies for a well-balanced food storage plan?