home storage goals -- poll

Do the suggested goals on iPrepared help you (or not)? I've posted a new poll at iPrepared to help me decide whether or not to include goals in future posts. If I haven't included a choice that reflects your opinions, feel free to leave a comment on this post. Thanks!


sugar - additional items for longer-term storage

Sugar is a fantastic addition to longer-term storage. In tough circumstances, it would be great to make a batch of cookies and put smiles on your family's faces. Sugar makes everything a little more palatable and versatile.

Sugar stores well unless it gets wet. If you live in a humid climate, it's a good idea to store your sugar in a PETE container or #10 can so that the moisture in the air doesn't turn your sugar into a brick. But even if that does happen, your sugar is still usable. Sugar, stored in a #10 can in ideal conditions can last up to 30 years.

Storing sugar does not just mean white sugar. You can store honey, brown sugar, powdered sugar, molasses, maple syrup, corn syrup, jam, jello, and powdered fruit drink (with sugar already added). Most of these items, however, are more suitable for a three-month supply because of the short shelf lives. Brown sugar is also not recommended for longer-term storage because of potential microbial growth as a result of the moisture content.1 Honey will crystallize over time, but can be warmed and returned to a liquid state. Do not use honey that has developed mold in storage.

1 - Provident Living


milk conversion

If you like the idea of using powdered milk regularly in your cooking, you'll probably need a conversion chart. I used to write the conversion amounts onto the paper labels of my #10 cans of milk. Unfortunately, I often threw away the can without remembering to transfer all of my math. So, my can would sit, unused, until I sat down and refigured the numbers. Now I keep a conversion chart on my fridge.

Here is a milk-math chart for you (and for me):
1 gallon milk = 2 & 2/3 c. powdered milk + 1 gallon water
1 quart milk = 2/3 c. powdered milk + 1 quart water
2 cups milk = 1/3 c. powdered milk + 2 cups water
1 cup milk = 3 T. powdered milk + 1 cup water
1/2 cup milk = 1 & 1/2 T powdered milk + 1/2 cup water
1/3 cup milk = 1 T powdered milk + 1/3 cup water

You may also want to print out this cute powdered milk conversion chart created by Crystal at Everyday Food Storage. You can hang this on your fridge or tape it to your can of powdered milk.

Note: Check your milk containers to compare conversions. Amounts to use actually vary by brand (and by non-instant vs. instant).


milk - additional items for longer-term storage

Milk provides calcium and protein, both of which are particularly important for growing children and nursing mothers. Milk also adds flavor to many recipes and sauces. Evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, shelf-stable milk, chocolate milk or cocoa mix (with milk included), and/or canned cheese, can also be stored to provide calcium needs. These other calcium products, however, have shorter shelf lives and need to be rotated regularly.

Researchers at BYU have found that powdered milk can be stored in #10 cans for up to 30 years in ideal conditions. Non-instant and instant powdered milk both store well long term. Powdered milk costs anywhere from $7 to more than $18 per #10 can. Milk can also be purchased in cardboard boxes or other containers. If you purchase it this way, you'll need to transfer the powdered milk into PETE containers and add an oxygen absorber for long term storage.

Make sure that you taste the brand of milk before you store large quantities of it. LDS home storage milk is the one of the cheapest brands ($7), but many people (including me) don’t like the taste. Don't know which milk you like the best? Have a powdered milk tasting party/enrichment. It's a fun and inexpensive way to sample the different milks without buying a large can of each.

I also recommend that you read the labels before buying large quantities of powdered milk. Some are actually milk alternatives and have added sugar and/or hydrogenated fats and less protein. Some kids prefer powdered milk made this way. However, these added/substituted ingredients can affect cooking and baking.

Here is an older post on powdered milk that talks more about specific brands and easy ways to rotate it from your longer-term supply into your three-month supply: More On Powdered Milk.


additional long-term storage items

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints states on providentliving.org, "you may also want to add other items to your longer-term storage such as sugar, nonfat dry milk, salt, baking soda, and cooking oil. To meet nutritional needs, also store foods containing Vitamin C and other essential nutrients."1

These additional items can be a great boost to the grains and beans that you've already stored as the core of your longer-term storage. By storing items in these six additional categories, you gain flavor, nutrition, and flexibility for your longer-term storage meals. All of these items can be stored in ideal conditions for up to 30 years except for the oils and vitamin c products. We'll be covering each of these six items in the posts over the next few days. Most of these items are available at your local Home Storage Center.

Remember that the main goal for longer-term storage is storing grains and beans that will keep you alive in case you don't have anything else to eat.2 These items are optional - so don't be overwhelmed, thinking that you HAVE to store these. Longer-term storage is intended to be expanded gradually depending on your needs and circumstances.2

1 - Product Recommendations - The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
2 - Two Cans of Corn: Home Storage for Newlyweds (Allie Schulte, Welfare Services, Ensign, September 2009, pages 66-69)


two cans of corn: home storage for newlyweds

Yesterday I received my September 2009 Ensign magazine. There is a fantastic article in it, entitled, "Two Cans of Corn: Home Storage for Newlyweds" by Allie Schulte (I'll link to the article here once they get it online).

Here are some highlights:

"When Ron Shiflet's wedding was about a month away, he received some unexpected advice from his bishop, who encouraged him to begin storing food. The bishop explained that there was a simple an inexpensive way for his small family to succeed in home storage -- even as poor college students.

"He told me to watch what was on sale each week. When we went shopping, we were to buy a couple of extra cans of food," Ron explains. "He said the expense was so small that we would not notice it, but that over time our food storage would add up."

Following their wedding, Ron shared the advice he had received with his wife, Lorene, and the couple decided to give it a try. On their first shopping trip together, they purchased their regular groceries and two cans of corn, which they stored in the closet of their one-room apartment. "Those two cans became a good source of humor for us," Ron says. " Each week the joke continued as we added two more cans."

They soon discovered that their home storage was not a laughing matter, when six months later, Ron found himself without a job -- and without money for food. He and Lorene relied on the supply in the closet to sustain t hem, and they immediately recognized the blessings of the principle of preparation.

Now more than 20 years later, Ron says it's a principle that has blessed his family in numerous ways. "I am thankful for an inspired bishop who counseled us from the beginning to save food -- and who showed us how to do it even with little money," he recalls. "It has protected us many times."

1) Begin Now - "Couples can enjoy the blessings of choosing to obey the counsel of Church leaders and doing what they can to begin a home storage program now."

2) Start Small - "By regularly purchasing a few extra items they would normally eat, couples can rotate their home storage into meals so that nothing is wasted. They should also store some water that is safe to drink."

3) Use Your Space - ". . . couples have discovered that if they look at their living situation and use a little creativity, they can find the space necessary for home storage."

4) Save More Than Just Food - "Like storing food, saving money is a gradual process. Couples can being building their reserve by paying their tithes, giving a generous fast offering, and setting aside a small amount of money each (or month) for savings."

5) Increase Your Supply - "Increasing home storage may take some time, so couples should not become discouraged or try to do everything at once. Instead, they can make a goal to gradually build a longer-term food supply, depending on their needs and circumstances."

6) Gain a Testimony - "[Heavenly Father] has lovingly commanded us to 'prepared every needful thing' (D&C 109:8) so that, should adversity come, we may care for ourselves and our neighbors and support bishops as they care for others. Some Church members may think it might be difficult to apply the principle of preparing for adversity by establishing a home storage supply. But . . . obedience to the commandments can bring great blessings to families and individuals."


beans as a treat!

Like I said in the last post, beans are a wonderful, versatile food. They can be used as a meat extender, a salad garnish, a main course, or as a soup. My favorite creative use for beans, though, is in cookies and cakes. Yes, really! Here's how:

Blend cooked beans and a little bit of water in your blender (the water just helps the blender to work well). You can also mash the beans yourself, which will result in a chunkier texture. Substitute beans measure-for-measure for all or some of the fats in brownie, cookie or cake recipes. Or you can also simply add some of the blended beans to the recipe, which will result in a heavier, more moist dough. Are you afraid that your family will scoff at the bean "bits" that appear in the recipe? They are almost invisible in anything chocolate. Using white beans make them almost invisible in lighter-colored recipes.

Freeze mashed beans into an ice-tray for long term accessibility. After the beans are frozen, pop them out and store the small bricks in a freezer bag for easy use. My standard-sized ice trays yield 2 tablespoons per brick. 4 bricks would give you 1/2 cup; 8 bricks for 1 cup.


more on beans

Beans are very versatile! They can be used to make dips, casseroles, soups, cookies, salads, and more. Beans vary in color, size, texture and flavor, but are easily interchanged in recipes. All of this and they store well for up to 30 years. They really make the ideal food for your longer-term storage.

Another great thing about beans, most kinds in fact, is that you handle them similarly. With the exception of lentils, split-peas and black-eyed-peas (which don't require soaking), beans are soaked and cooked in the same manner. There are two main steps to preparing dried beans: soaking and cooking.

First rinse and clean out any debris from the beans. In preparing this post, I've read about hot soaks, cold soaks and even gas-free soaks. It seems that it is important to soak them, but not for too long or too little. In all cases, discard the water in which the beans have been soaking and use fresh water for cooking (helps reduce gas). I'll try to summarize some of the options:

COLD SOAK - Cover 1 lb. of beans with 10 cups of water. Cover and refrigerate 6 to 8 hours or overnight.

HOT SOAK - Add 1 lb. of beans to 10 cups of boiling water. Let water come to a boil again. Cover tightly, after removing from heat, and let sit for two or three hours.

QUICK SOAK - Add 1 lb. of beans to 10 cups of boiling water. Let water come to a boil again. Boil beans for two or three minutes. Remove from heat, cover and let sit on counter for one hour.

GAS-FREE SOAK - Add 1 lb. of beans to 10 cups of boiling water. Let water come to a boil again. Boil beans for two or three minutes. Remove from heat, cover and let sit on counter overnight. You can further reduce gas by rinsing the beans multiple times and changing the soak-water several times.

Don't want to do all of this extra work? Beano works great when added to your beans. Also, eating beans regularly will acclimate your body to beans and reduce gas.

Discard soaking water and add water equivalent to three times the amount of beans. Boil from 45 minutes to 2 hours or until beans reach desired tenderness (which is usually when you can squeeze the bean between your fingers). Don't add salt or anything acidic until the end of the cooking process. Refrigerate or freeze remaining beans. One pound of dry beans usually makes between 5 and 6 cups of cooked beans.

Sources:Bean Fact Sheet - University of ConnecticutMayo Clinic

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no advertising here!

You may or may not have noticed a sidebar that I've added about advertising on my blog in the past few months.

In the interest of full disclosure, I want to tell you that I do not make money off of ANY product affiliations, reciprocal advertising or product promotion. This approach helps to keep my blog and my recommendations as unbiased as possible. I do try to keep posts in line with the provident living recommendations of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, of which I am a member.

I believe that preparedness principles should benefit everyone free-of-charge. I am more interested in helping you to become prepared than I am in making money. I also recognize that most of my information comes from a not-for-profit resource (see link above) that is also only interested in helping you become prepared. I've been asked multiple times to post reciprocal business links or to participate in advertising promotions for food storage companies. I could benefit by getting kickbacks from these sources, but again feel like this information is intended to be free-for-all and compromises my ability to be unbiased. So, I have refused these offers.

Thank you to all of you bloggers that disclose your advertising affiliations. It makes it easier for me, as a reader, to understand your loyalties and read your content accordingly.