Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Food Storage - Easier Said Than Done

By this time I was spinning out of control.  The only thing I was sure of was my salvation.    I needed a task to keep me busy and to give me a feeling of well-being.  I turned my attention to food storage, it's a mommy thing.

I spent quality time with my laptop making an elaborate spreadsheet to track all the food I would be putting in storage and how much we would need to store.  My goal was to come up with four years of storage to cover the family's needs.

That is all fine and dandy on the excel worksheet but not so in reality.  Right away, I see obstacles.  We live in a small house with no basement or attic, so space is a problem.  Financially, it is expensive.  For a while I bought two of everything that was non-perishable.  As in, one bag of noodles for now and one for storage.  After a few shopping trips it was evident that doubling our food budget was putting a strain on the rest of our expenses.  We needed a better plan.

For storage, we explored the idea of a root cellar, but our water table is high, and we do live in Alaska so that is not very practical.  The very easy answer to our problem is a dehydrator.  We bought the best we could afford (Excalibur 9 trays) and it has been running non-stop.  You can reduce a huge amount of food into a very small space. (I will share examples in a future post)

For the financial end, we are doing our best to absorb the cost.  I started buying in bulk through Azure Standard with a set monthly budget of $250.  I don't always place a monthly order, but when I do it is with food storage in mind.  It is a great place to buy organic, non-gmo food.

Problems solved?  Not even close!  Now, we find that we are eating up the food storage and not gaining much ground on it. Also, the family is getting annoyed that I keep grabbing all the food and sticking it in the dehydrator, which we then eat.  Ugggh, wasted effort, we should have just eaten the fresh apples.  

A portion of my dehydrated food storage

We also have to face the very harsh reality of hanging on to our food storage.  When  times get tough, hard decisions will have to be made.  You will have hungry neighbors, friends and family.  There will also be hungry mobs who will stop at no means to get what is yours.  If that isn't bad enough, it is written that our government has the right and will use that right to seize what they consider hoarded up and "distribute" it to the needy.  Kind of makes you discouraged  to keep carrying on.

The single, best alternative I have found is foraging.  Stormy and I spent the summer wandering the woods and yard, learning about various plants and mushrooms.  Not saying that we love all that we pick but at least we know what is edible.  I do love dandelions and clover, which are great in salads and tea.  They are pretty high in nutrients and grow from spring to fall.  I believe that everyone should buy a comprehensive book about foraging in the area that you live in.  Foraged food is superior to a garden it the sense that it plants and cultivates itself.  Not that I want to give up the garden or greenhouse, but both of those will fall victim to the hungry mobs.  I'm pretty sure the mobs will walk past the Sorrel.  

We ate the dandelions and infused the rest for soaps and lotions.

I'll be writing more detailed post about long term storage, dehydrating and foraging.  For now this is what we are working toward but we are always learning.

Lovin' life with a full heart and belly.

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