Tuesday, December 29, 2020

January Challenge of the Month: Cooking with Food Storage

The new year will be here soon. With several European countries on lockdown, and America getting to the point where they may prioritize care because there are more patients than the hospitals can care for, I thought this would be a timely chalenge. Who knows if any of us will be on lockdown again or not. Hopefully, vaccines will keep coming and exposure and deaths will decrease. For now, it is good to be prepared. We will focus on meals each day where you can use supplies that have a longer shelf life. You may not get everything the way you want it, but you can have nutritious food on hand for whatever comes up. I separate my food storage into different categories: Perishable: Fresh fruits, veggies, eggs, milk, etc. that will only last about a week or two. Frozen: Food that is in the freezer that lasts up to a year. Canned and Packaged: These can last anywhere from 6 months to a couple of years. Includes dehydrated items and spices as well. Freeze Dried and Long Term Storage: These are usually bought in #10 cans and last up to 25 years. How much do I get of these? If you have all long term food storage, it doesn't taste as good as food you eat on a regular basis. If you have all canned and packaged, things expire more quickly than long term storage and you have to rotate them more often. So, after a few years of figuring this out and helping other people who have had to throw away a lot of food they couldn't eat in time, I have come to this conclusion. It is good to have about 3-6 monhts of canned and packaged items. I also think it is good to have a year's supply of long term storage, but that is not what we are going to focus on for this month. The reason why I feel this is a good balance is because you have food that lasts a very long time so you don't have to constantly be rotating it. And, you also have shorter term cans and packages that you use regularly that you can eat in time. I like to try to keep my freezer mostly full because we use those foods regularly. If there was an emergency, I at least have some meat and cheese to use for a short while. This is an example of the complete plan to shoot for, but it is very difficult to be able to do it at once. Buying food to last a year is just expensive. But, you can buy an extra can each week when you shop, or stock up when things are on sale, and before you know it, you will have some food stored to last you at least a few months. You succeed step by step, can by can. The first week of January, we will focus on breakfasts. The second week will be lunches. The third week will be dinners. The fourth week will be snacks or trests. The last few days is yet to be determined...

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