Finding Storage Items in your Current Menu

Ed and Myrna wanted to start working on their three-month supply.  They understood the basic concepts, but it just didn't seem like the food they ate could be stored easily.  They liked fresh green salads for dinner and fruit for breakfast.  They wanted to continue to eat this way, but were concerned that they couldn't store these foods. 

A challenge?  Yes!  But I haven't met a menu yet that didn't have options for easily-stored items once you broke it down.  A common misconception is that in order to rotate through storage items, you have to eat only the meals you have planned for in your storage.  This is definitely not the case!  You should eat normally and incorporate storage items into your diet as you would typically.  Your three-month supply plan does not become your new menu. 

Here are some examples from Ed and Myrna's situation:  Ed and Myrna are elderly with grandchildren that live locally.  For breakfast, they typically eat granola with fresh fruit and yogurt.  Once a week, their grandchildren come for breakfast and they share pancakes.  Ed and Myrna can store pancake mix, syrup, and granola in their breakfast plan.  They can store several gallons of milk in their freezer.  If the need arose for them to use their three-month supply, they would just continue eating granola and pancakes, both of which are part of their regular daily diet.  Ed regularly makes a great cobbler cake that calls for canned fruit so they store a little extra of that canned fruit to be used for breakfast fruit.  Even if Ed only makes that cake infrequently, they will be able to rotate through their supply of canned fruit before the cans reach their expiration dates.  They would prefer the fresh fruit, but if it isn't available, they'll have a rotatable option.  The pancake mix, granola, canned fruit, and syrup are all part of their regular diet and will be used and rotated before expiration dates.

For lunch, they like to have sandwiches.  They mostly use store-purchased bread and wraps.  Loaves of bread, tortillas and pita bread can easily be stored in their freezer.  Lettuce and tomatoes are not storage friendly and there really isn't a good alternative.  But both Ed & Myrna would be okay with cheese and meat.  Lunch meat and pre-sliced cheese can also be frozen and rotated.  Besides the frozen deli meat, they also keep canned chicken and tuna fish, which are types of sandwiches they sometimes have.  Myrna likes to bake, so they also store flour, sugar, salt, and yeast that can be make into bread or wraps.  They also store mayo, mustard, fruit juice, bags of chips and jars of pickles (all of which they already eat). 

As I mentioned earlier, they like to eat salads for dinner.  Storing salad greens is not an option.  A garden would provide some fresh greens, but they'll have to think beyond the salads.  Sometimes Ed & Myrna have soup and bread sticks with their salads.  Other nights they'll slice several breasts of chicken onto their salads.  On Sundays they usually have something different.  They'll eat a roast and potatoes, chicken burritos, or crock-pot chicken.  Their three-month supply dinner menu could include soups, chicken breasts, as well as their Sunday-evening rotations.  That would means storing chicken (frozen or canned), roasts (frozen or canned), soup supplies including beans and broth, spices, tortillas and salsa.  They can also store canned and frozen vegetables as well as salad garnishes like croutons.  In a situation where it is necessary to eat from their three-month supply, they might not be eating salads every night, but they will have food stored that they already regularly eat.  By incorporating these meals into their normal menu occasionally (like they were anyway), they'll be able to rotate through their food before hitting expiration dates.

Of course, one of the most important and easiest-to-store items is a cookie mix or ingredients to make cookies.  Ed stores these items as well as the supplies for his often-made cobbler cake. 

Ed & Myrna are actually fictional, but represent some of the typical issues that I've encountered.  Many of your personal menus are already very storage friendly.  Items like cereal, peanut butter & jelly, taco soup, burritos, pasta dishes (spaghetti, mac & cheese, alfredo), beans and rice, and chicken salad are items from my own menu rotations that are also extraordinarily easy to store.  If you think your menu can't be adapted, you might be surprised.  Ed & Myrna were.  :o)


Peach Juice

I've been processing food from my garden over the past month.  We've had an abundance of yummy food.  I finally figured out that boiling green beans on the stove-top is always superior to cooking them in the microwave (as demonstrated by my husband).  We've also been enjoying a bumper crop of cucumbers which I've served almost every night for dinner.  They are particularly good when chilled.

I tried an experiment this year.  We've had so many peaches.  So I tried juicing some in my steam juicer.  I followed the same process that I use when I juice grapes (link here: http://iprepared.blogspot.com/2010/10/canning-grape-juice.html).   The picture above shows the result.  I was so surprised to see the jars fill up with this candy-red colored juice.  It is NOT what I expected.  

Peach juice is interesting.  It has a rich peach smell mixed with a little bit of stinky feet.  I haven't tasted any out of these bottles, but after pulling all the juice I could, I did stir the peaches at the end and was able to pull one last quart.  It was pink and full of debris instead of red and clear like these jars.  I drank some and just couldn't get past the stinky-feet smell/taste.  As I discussed it with my husband, we realized that you don't often find peach juice on its own.  Usually it's in a blend or is spiced like a cider.  So we tried it with a little cinnamon and it made all the difference.  I think we're going to have some yummy spiced peach cider this fall!

Have you ever juiced peaches?  Did you drink it straight or blend it with another juice?  Have you tried a peach cider?