The hardest part of anything is the planning stage. For me, it can easily become overwhelming. I’ve been trying to figure out the whole food storage thing for ages. Then suddenly, it clicked. I got. I finally understand what a food storage plan looks like and it wasn’t as hard as I thought. Which makes me wonder why it has to be so hard in the first place?
Lets start with the basic numbers. It is recommended that you have the following for your 1 year food storage per person in your household:
300 pounds grains
75 pounds dairy
60 pounds sweeteners
40 pounds fats/oils
50 pounds protein
60 pounds legumes
5 pounds salt
365 pounds fruit and vegetables
This is one list I found. I have found others that have different numbers but for simplicity, I’m going to stick with this one.
The first hang up I had was the protein vs legumes. I know it seems petty but it was really hard for me to keep those separate so I didn’t. My new number became 110 pounds of legumes/proteins. You’ll understand why this becomes important in just a few moments.
Now the next problem is not everything comes in pounds. The oil issue was a nightmare. How the heck does one figure out how many pounds of olive and coconut oil is needed when they both come in fluid ounces? Why it didn’t dawn on me earlier, I don’t know. Thanks to the internet, it took me just a short time to do the math. And when I went on to the honey and maple syrup for my sweeteners, it was a breeze.
I’m not mean – I’ll share but remember that these numbers are not going to be perfect and only apply to the items I want in my storage. If you have different oils, you may have to do a search (search: “x” fluid ounces equals pounds).
Honey: 10.67 fluid ounces equals 1 pound
Maple Syrup: 16 fluid ounces equals 1.4 pounds
Olive Oil: 1 gallon weighs 7.6 pounds
1 liter equals 33.8 fluid ounces, 1 gallon equals 128 fluid ounces
1 liter weighs 2 pounds
Coconut Oil: 1 quart equals 29.44 ounces and 1.84 pounds
½ gal equals 58.88 ounces and 3.64 pounds
1 gallon equals 117.76 ounces and 7.36 pounds
Once I had that figured out it became easier.
Now there are 3 people in my household so my needs look like this:
900 pounds grains
225 pounds dairy
180 pounds sweetener
120 pounds fats/oils
330 pounds legumes/proteins
15 pounds salt
1095 pounds fruits/vegetables
While that looks like a ton of food (and still feels a little overwhelming), a chance opportunity helped put it into perspective. I’ve recently found a place that sells huge bags of garbonzo beans for 50 cents a pound. It was easy to think 100 pounds which chipped away at that 330 pounds. They may have lentils for a similar price so there goes another 100. I know that my family will be eating a lot of tofu and drinking soy milk so 100 pounds soy beans and all I’m left with is 30 pounds.
Here’s something else I wanted to share. I’ve been struggling with dried foods. How does a pound of dried x equal to its fresh form? Here’s a little bit of information that might help – 2 pounds of meat equal 1 pound dried meat (freeze dried as well). Most fruits are 6 pounds fresh equal 1 pound dried. For vegetables – I think it depends on shrinkage. Zucchinis are most likely 6 – 1 while potatoes might be 2-1. The numbers are just to help with planning.
These numbers are also important when you look at purchasing dried foods. I was shocked to learn that freeze dried roast beef would cost me $15 a pound (fresh). That remaining 30 pounds could have cost me $450 and I had no idea what kind of meat it was (meaning was it organic, grass fed, etc). But I could can meat that I purchase from a local butcher or from local farmers for around $4.50 a pound that I know was grass fed organic beef. Hmm – I’m thinking that setting aside a little meat when I buy in bulk would save me more in the long run.
The other thing I’ve done is broke up the plan. Over this coming year, we’re going to invest in our proteins, salt and fats. We’ll get some dairy and grains. We’ll price what we can to make sure we can budget for items that will be expensive (ie powdered milk). We have some bulk purchases in mind but we’ll be doing more monthly stocking. Each month we have a goal to purchase 1 pound sea salt, 1 pound pink salt, 1 can coconut oil, and 1 container of water.
The last stressor was the fruits and vegetables. 365 pounds was daunting on its own but times three. I was going to take a deep breath and just figure it out. I have a list of canning goals that I made up for this past year (and then was completely destroyed by the drought). Lo and behold, my canning goals equaled more than the amount of fruits and veggies needed for our food stores. I just added a little more to cover what we might eat and left it at that.
It’s not a perfect plan that I am sharing and I know there’s a lot of ambiguity. I realized this is getting really long so I’ll come back to the topic soon and help you find some ideas to plan your food storage.
Something to remember – you don’t have to be a prepper or homesteader to think about food storage. This is not about planning for the end of the world but to make sure that you have healthy, nutritious food all year long. It’s about taking advantage of seasons and sales so that you can eat how you desire. Of course, I hope your goals are to eat organically but you don’t even have to do that. If you can plan now, you’ll be prepared for whatever the future throws at you.