one year

Today is the one year anniversary of iPrepared!

We've almost completed a full circle by discussing the three-month supply, water storage, financial reserve and longer-term storage.

I'm always planning ahead and am looking forward to another year of posts. I'd like to discuss topics that address the questions, concerns, and confusions you have. Would you be willing to comment on this post by responding to the following questions?

1) What home-storage topics would you like to learn more about?
2) What questions do you have about home storage?
3) Which past posts have been the most helpful?

Thanks! And thanks for all of your insights and comments along the way!


how to cook OLD beans

How do I cook old dry beans?

The longer dry beans are stored, the longer they may take to cook. First, sort and rinse the beans. For each cup of beans, bring 3 cups of water to boil, add the beans to the boiling water, and boil for two minutes. Next, add 3/8 teaspoon of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) for each cup of beans, cover, and soak for 1 hour or more. More baking soda may be required for older beans. Next, drain and rinse the beans thoroughly, cover with water, bring to boil, then reduce heat and simmer 1-2 hours or until tender. Do not add salt or other ingredients until the beans have softened adequately. (Instructions from the Provident Living FAQ)

Because baking soda is helpful for cooking old beans, it's a good idea to store some baking soda with your beans. Optimum shelf life of baking soda is about 2 years. If you use baking soda regularly, it can be rotated as part of your three-month and long-term supply so you'll always have some on hand.


goal 4(b) - gather beans for longer-term storage

Our current goal is gathering our longer-term storage.

Specifically - Store Beans.

In addition to grains, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints recommends beans for longer-term storage. Beans are a fantastic protein source and are the perfect complement to many of the recommended grains. In fact, beans and rice (or beans and cornbread) make a complete protein which is full of amino acids and all sorts of good stuff. Our family really likes black beans and refried (pinto) beans -- so that's what we've stored.

Beans are not cheap. I've seen them recently for about $50 for a 25 lb. prepacked bucket. The church cannery offers them for around $5 for a #10 can. They have black, pinto and white beans. Beans are also available in bulk bags from the home storage centers for approximately $16 for 25 lbs. The Provident Living website states that beans can be stored for 30 years or more in ideal conditions.

You should store 5 lbs. of beans per person per month (45 lbs for a 9 month longer-term supply -- 60 lbs per person for a 12 month longer-term supply).


on vacation

I haven't posted lately because our family took a much needed week-long staycation. New posts are coming next week. Stay tuned. :o)



You might wonder why I'm including a post on pasta as we work on storing grains. Most pasta is made from semolina flour, which is ground durum wheat. Once the pasta is dried, unless it is made with eggs, it has shelf life of up to 30 years1 in ideal storage conditions.

Pasta packaged in #10 cans (or PETE bottles) with oxygen absorbers will store the longest. Pasta can also be purchased in many other types of packaging. If I buy my pasta already sealed in a plastic bag, I'll simply store it in a 5-gallon bucket (without opening the package). A lot of pasta comes in boxes without any additional packaging (plastic lining etc.). I try NOT to buy this type of pasta. I've had more than one experience with boxes of pasta also transporting critters.

I use pasta regularly as a part of my three-month supply. I also include it as a portion of my longer-term storage "grains."

1 - The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints


rotation and donation

Peanut butter and oil are two products on my shelves that don't store well for very long. These are important products for my three-month supply, but sometimes we don't consume all that I've stored before the foods hit their expiration dates. For many foods, expiration dates are just a rough guideline to ensure the highest quality of the food product. But foods with high oil content, like peanut butter, turn rancid fairly quickly and the expiration date is worth paying attention to.

I find that, depending upon the storage conditions, oil products can often exceed the storage date by a year or more (but go rancid quickly once opened). Peanut butter tastes terrible if we go much beyond the actual expiration date. For these products, and others like canned meat, I pay extra attention to the expiration date. When the expiration dates nears, I donate these food items to our local food bank. I really think this is a win-win situation. I am able to keep a nice supply of these items in my three-month supply, but am not wasteful if we don't use them as quickly as I thought.

Think "rotation and donation," especially if you dislike storing any food item beyond the expiration date. You'll be blessing lives in the process.


financial reserve

It has been a rough week financially for us. Two weeks ago we replaced our house phone system. Our air conditioner, which had been broken for more than a month, was finally fixed last Tuesday. Four days later, our 13 year-old washing machine finally quit working. Since then, my computer modem died and last night my husband informed me that the garage door was no longer closing correctly.

Total cost of repairs: Almost $2500!

But the peace that came from knowing we would be okay because we have a financial reserve: Priceless!