Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Food Storage Celebrity, Misty Marsh, My Top 5 Food Storage Tips

Today's post is written by Misty Marsh from the wonderful blog Your Own Home Store.   Misty is such a great resource when it comes to food storage.  She is creative and insightful.  One of her posts that I really love is about making Ricotta Cheese from dry milk.  How awesome it that?   I asked her to share her top 5 food storage tips.  Here is what she has to say.

1.  Food Storage isn't just for natural disasters

 Photo Source: Perambara/Amantha Perera

When I was first married and started considering looking into food storage, I thought it was only for natural disaster type emergencies.  Funny, right?  Boy was I wrong!  I have never used my food storage because of a natural disaster, but I have used it, and often.  I have used it once for a serious need: when my husband lost his job.  We were able to nearly eliminate our food budget and live on our food storage for some time, and I was so very grateful we had it.  But, just as important in my book (b/c they happen more often) are the every day "emergencies."  Emergencies like a sick child leaving no time to grocery shop or make dinner, or a mourning friend who could use a meal.   Because of my food storage, I'm prepared for those situations.  They don't overwhelm me or stress me out.  I use food storage almost every day and it makes my every day life easier.

2. Food Storage will allow you to give

 Image Source: Mr. Kris

One of the side benefits of having food storage is that is allows you to give.  The definition of "food storage" is surplus food, right?  I am able to give to others from this "surplus."  I can quickly and easily (and without immediate financial impact) give a meal to a friend in need.  I always have a few extra cans of food ready for food drives.  It also allows me to give time and health to my kids.  They enjoy helping me cook and since I cook from our food storage, we often spend time together in the kitchen making healthy meals.

3. Try White Wheat

 Image  Source: by smoorenburg

I spent my first few food storage years using red wheat.  And there is nothing wrong with red wheat, except the fact that it is different from white flour: very different.  It is more bitter, less sweet, heavier and hard to disguise in baked goods.  When you eat something made with whole red wheat flour, you know.   It works great in Artisan breads.
A few years ago, I tried hard white winter wheat.  I fell in love!  It was only introduced to the US Agricultural system in 1990, so if you are unfamiliar with it, I highly recommend you try it.  It has the same nutritional benefits as the red wheat, but it is missing the genes for bran color.  It is sweeter and less bitter.  It is amazing in pan loaves, rolls and other soft breads.  Recipes that call for hard white wheat flour typically call for less sugar.   Finished breads look similar to 100% white bread but still have all the nutritional content of red wheat breads.

4. Move beyond wheat
 Image Source: AlishaV
One thing that kept me from starting a food storage program for quite a while was the excuse that I didn't have a wheat grinder / didn't know how to use wheat (sprouting, what?!?).  While I now highly recommend learning to use wheat, there are many other options out there if wheat overwhelms you!  Many grains have a very long shelf life, and are far easier to cook than wheat.  Some people have rice, oats, and pasta in their food storage and that is a great start.  But what about things like Quinoa?  It is so flavorful, cooks up easily and a great replacement for brown rice.  Have you tried Amaranth? (Heather says you can pop it, but I've not tried that yet!)  How about Cornmeal?  Barley?  Millet?  Spelt?  Branch out!  Variety is a good thing.  Heather had a great, incredibly thorough post about this on September 6th.  Go check it out!

5. Move beyond grains & beans

Image Source: janineomg
I used to think that food storage consisted of wheat, maybe a few other grains, beans and a bit of powdered milk.  No wonder I wasn't excited to get started!  While I have since found (and continue to learn) some great ways to use these items in my everyday meals, I have also broadened my definition of food storage.  I try to store everything my family eats: produce, cheese, yogurt, condiments, cereal, crackers, meat, eggs, butter, desserts etc.  By keeping a supply of all these items on hand, I am better able to use my food storage to make my life easier in every day situations.