January 2023

Photo credit: Tammy Cobb
Location: Willowbend Road, Walworth, WI

Focus of the Month – Food Storage

Reading Recommendations:
Non-fiction book – Prepper’s Food Storage by Julie Languille
Fiction book — The Borrowed World by Franklin Horton

Food storage is a primary component of a preparedness plan. I’d hazard to guess that being able to feed the family during a crisis is one of the top concerns for anyone who so much as dips a toe into this whole prepping world. Personally, I’m not big on buying huge quantities of specially packaged “survival food” and tossing it into the basement for emergency use. Instead, I recommend stocking up on shelf-stable foods that you and your family already buy and eat regularly.

Here’s an article that talks about the sorts of foods I suggest for your pantry.

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Prepper’s Food Storage by Julie Languille dives right into the subject matter for this month. She talks about everything from calculating food needs to canning and dehydrating instructions. She also provides a lot of suggestions for where and how to store food safely in your home.

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The fiction book this month is The Borrowed World by Franklin Horton. This first in the Borrowed World series, this is another EMP story. However, the lead character here, Jim Powell, is a prepper and did what he could to plan ahead for this situation. A nice bonus is that Horton has included quite a bit of detailed survival information scattered throughout the story, allowing the reader to learn as well as be entertained.

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January 2 — Meal Planning and Food Storage

One of the challenges with food storage is deciding what and how much to store. Let’s say you set a goal of having enough food on hand to be able to keep your family fed for a solid month. How much food is that, really?

Doing some menu planning is a great way to work through this problem. There’s a bit of work involved with this, but it isn’t too difficult. And all you need for it is some pen and paper or the word processing software of your choice.

Start with Sunday and plan out all of the meals for you and your family for that day. Concentrate on using shelf-stable foods, though. So, for example, breakfast might be simply pancakes with dehydrated or freeze-dried fruit. Break the meal down into ingredients:

How much of each ingredient will you need? The pancake mix I currently have on hand uses one cup of mix and ¾ cup of water to make 6-7 pancakes. For a family of four, you might use two cups of mix and 1 ½ cups of water to make 12-14 pancakes. Add in ½ cup of fruit per person and maybe ¼ cup of syrup (depending on how many in the family are sugar fiends, LOL) and you’re good to go.

Do the same for lunch, dinner, and maybe a snack. Account for every ingredient as best you can, estimating if need be.

Try to do a complete menu for each day for two full weeks. This way, you’ll lessen the chances of people getting appetite fatigue, which is basically getting so sick of eating the same thing all the time that you just plain don’t want to eat at all anymore. That said, many families have a routine when it comes to meals. Taco Tuesday, anyone?

Once you have the menus figured out, simple math will tell you how much of each ingredient you’ll need for those two weeks. Continuing with our pancakes example, let’s say you plan to make them twice a week, that’s four times for your menu plan.

Pancake mix: 1 cup x 4 meals = 4 cups for two weeks
Water: ¾ cup x 4 meals = 3 cups for two weeks
Syrup: ¼ up x 4 people x 4 meals = 4 cups for two weeks
Fruit: ½ cup x 4 people x 4 meals = 8 cups for two weeks

Like I said, this project isn’t difficult, but it is time-consuming. Go through every single meal and figure out quantities for each component and ingredient. This will give you a fairly accurate estimate of what you’ll need to have in the pantry to feed your family for two weeks. Then, multiply it out further for longer periods of time.

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January 6 – Stretching

Done properly, stretching is great for both body and mind. Increasing your flexibility can help prevent injuries when you’re doing your day-to-day chores and what not. If it has been a while since you worked up a sweat, though, take it slow and easy.

This site has numerous great stretching exercises, complete with photos and easy to follow instructions.

Pick a few to start with, then add more as you get more comfortable and confident. Strive to do some stretching exercises at least five days a week, if not every single day. Many people find that doing them first thing in the morning not only helps them wake up but leaves them feeling energized.

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January 12 – Regrowing Kitchen Scraps

With a little time and patience, you can use kitchen scraps to grow food right in your kitchen or backyard. I cannot stress enough the patience part of this equation, though. This isn’t anything that happens overnight, and many people get frustrated because it is such a slow process. But, look at it like this – you’ve already paid for the vegetables, so the only additional investment here is time.

Celery – don’t toss out the root end of the celery stalk. Put in a shallow dish with an inch or two of water. Change the water daily. It won’t be too long before you see new growth sprouting up.

Lettuce – slice off the root end of the head, leaving an inch or so of leaves. Put it in a dish with water, change the water every day or two, and growth will start soon.

Onions – slice the onion about an inch from the root end. Let it sit for a day or two so it dries out, then plant it in soil, cut side up. As green stalks grow, you can harvest them like you would spring onions. Or, let them grow and harvest full onions in about three months.

Potatoes – if you forgot about some ‘taters you bought and now they’re starting to sprout, cut them up so that each chunk has at least one “eye” on it, then let them dry for a couple of days. Plant them in soil, just like you would seed potatoes.

Root crops (carrots, radishes, turnips, and similar veggies) – cut off the tops so you can retain the green leafy growth there. Put them into a shallow dish of water, and change the water regularly. Over time, they’ll start to develop a new root system, as well as grow new greenery. You can either harvest some of the greens or replant the entire thing in the garden.

There are many other veggies you can regrow like this. Just hit up your favorite search engine for “regrowing kitchen scraps” and you’ll find list after list after list of them. Now, that said, I wouldn’t suggest you go crazy and fill every available surface in the kitchen with scraps of vegetables you’re trying to sprout. Most of it should absolutely be going into a compost bin of some sort. But, this can be an easy way to add fresh greens and other vegetables to your diet, particularly in the winter months.