Patty's Preparedness Corner: The Golden Question - How Much Food Should I Store?
By Patty Liston
Anyone who even "dabbles" in food storage always gets asked something like, "How much food storage do you have?" or, "How much food storage should I have"? Honestly, I have no idea what you need. No one knows your family, the number of people you would be responsible for feeding, what their likes and dislikes are, allergies, medical conditions, etc., better than you do. Besides, what one person may store would be completely different from what someone else may store. It's all about knowing who you will be storing and cooking for.
One of the biggest problems that occur with storing food is that we often purchase in bulk, items that we are not consuming every day, due to specific family dietary needs. If your family does not eat wheat, is lactose intolerant, or a diabetic, no matter how cheap the wheat, dried milk, or sugar is, they will not be useful to you in "Ten 100# bags for the price of 9". Yes, this may be a good deal for someone else, but the question is: would it be the best use of resources for YOUR family?
When it comes to considering what we should purchase for storage and how much of it we need, we can all begin to feel a little over-whelmed with the guessing we feel we need to do. Fortunately, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, (the Mormons), are major proponents of everyone having food storage and have taken the guess work out of the equation. First of all, here is the link to the Food Storage Calculator.
You will see the following come up on your screen:
The following paragraph will also be on this page:
"Use the following calculator to figure the minimum food storage amounts for your family for one year. The amounts are based on the recommendations listed in the LDS (Latter-day Saint) Church's Essentials of Home Production and Storage booklet, see (LDS Distribution Center). These are only recommendations. You will need to determine what you should store for your family".
No, you do not have to be a member of the Mormon Church to get this booklet. If you Goggle LDS Distribution Center and your state, something will come up. The inside looks like a book store. Just tell the cashier what you are looking for, and he/she will help you. (If you are lucky enough to have a store that sells rolls or cinnamon rolls, get one!) Call the store first to see if they have what you need, and ask about their hours of operation.
So just for fun I used this calculator. I typed in the number "10" for Family Members, Ages 7+ and the number "1" for Family Members, Ages 0-6. This is my family, including children and grandchildren.
I then clicked on the "calculate" button, scrolled down, and saw these numbers. The following is what I got for my family:
Wheat: 1575 lbs
Flour: 262 lbs
Corn Meal: 262 lbs
Oats: 262 lbs
Rice: 525 lbs
Pasta: 262 lbs
Total Grains: 3148 lbs
Fats and Oils
Shortening: 42 lbs
Vegetable Oil: 21 gal
Mayonnaise: 21 qts
Salad Dressing: 11 qts
Peanut Butter: 42 lbs
Total Fats: 137 lbs
Honey: 31 lbs
Sugar: 420 lbs
Brown Sugar: 31lbs
Molasses: 11 lbs
Corn Syrup: 31 lbs
Jams: 31 lbs
Fruit drink powdered: 63 lbs
Flavored Gelatin: 11 lbs
Total Sugars: 629 lbs
There was more, of course. The calculations also included milk products, legumes, water, cooking essentials and fats and oils. I took issue with the water calculation which was very low, but I attribute it to not having enough space to put the REAL number of gallons in. (Calculating water for 11 people at 1 gallon a day X 365 days would equal 4,015 gallons for the year. And that, dear readers would be a minimum.)
Give this link a try and see what you come up with. Remember, you need to "store what you eat and eat what you store". If you remember this rule of thumb, you will be fine and so will those you love.