Food Storage Methodology

repacking food storage boxes - new food storage methodologyPretty much my whole life has been figuring out scenarios and then planning and preparing for them. I was in military school during high school and then on to the military. My professional life as a firefighter means a lot of my planning and preparing involved the potential for life & death. My side-line, security work, was a lot the same way to some degree. But whatever I’ve been doing for the last 40+ years has to do with the “what if” kinda of stuff. This reviewing and revamping of food storage was no different.

So here is the background: Quite a while back I looked at our food storage and realized that I needed to have the ability to “grab & go” if the situation Leaving home in a hurrydemanded it. So I developed a series of scenarios that would cover a quick departure:

  1. If time was very very short, just a minute or less, I would grab our two buckets of freeze dried food that we bought at Sam’s Club.
  2. And if there is another two minutes to spare I would grab the 3 cases of MREs and a large case of Mountain House pouches.
  3. If I have another two minutes on top of that I would grab the Mountain House 45-day supply that is in four cases of #10 cans.

But then what?

Well, we had several stacks of food storage in #10 cans packed 6 cans to a case. They were all neatly stacked and grouped with similar items (wheat, rice, beans, etc.) in the same location. Looked great, nicely organized, but what happens if I have 10 – 15 minutes to load some more food? What would I take and how would I get to it easily? Or even how would I even know what to take?

I mean I could start grabbing boxes but I might end up with two cases of veggies and no milk; or five cases of wheat but no meat. And that made absolutely no sense to me at all. There had to be an answer, there had to be some kind of answer. So I did what makes the most sense, I forgot all about it and went back to daily issue and challenges.

Yeah, that worked for about two weeks; I just felt that I had to correct this situation and very very soon. Then my wife started talking to me about it so I knew it was time to really do something and stop putting it off. For about two weeks we worked on a new method of food storage. A couple Family Home Evenings, some heart felt prayers, lots of discussion, pondering…well, you get the idea…Poof! We had a new food storage methodology.

The three scenarios I listed above haven’t changed at all, that is our “quick reaction” food storage. But we now have a new plan that builds on that old plan. And here it is:

We have “3-case months.” That means three cases of food that make up a meal plan for two people for one month. The food is balanced, nutritional and meets a minimum calorie diet. Each case falls into one of three categories; A, B, or C. Each case of food is also “stand-alone” and can be used individually if needed.

P-51 Can Opener, P51 can opener, P-38 can opener, P38 can openerAll the “A” cases have the high value food that we would take first. Then the “B” case have the next most high-value food, then the “C” cases. All the cans in each case have their own plastic lid. Each case has a P-51 can opener in the case.

So that addresses the main concern – What food do we take first?

We made up a total of 12 sets of three cases each. We figured that would be a decent, well-balanced, nutritionally correct diet for a year.

Each “A Case” Contents –
Meat                     48                           110                                         5280
Vegetable             50                           110                                         5500
Fruit                      42                            25                                         1050
Rice                      54                           160                                         8640
Wheat                   58                           140                                         8120
TOTALS               252                                                                       28,590

Each “B Case” Contents –
TVP                    47                           80                                           3760
Potato                 41                           35                                           1435
Cheese               44                           140                                         6160
Milk                    69                           100                                          6900
Pasta                 27                           200                                          5400
Bean                  55                           150                                          8250
TOTALS           283                                                                         31,905

Each “C Case” Contents –
Drink                     94                           80                                         7520
Grits                      61                         130                                         7930
Biscuit Mix            30                         210                                          6300
Peanut Butter       81                           60                                          4860
Apple Slices         16                          110                                         1760
TVP                      43                          100                                         4300
TOTALS              325                                                                      32,670

Nutritional Needds from food storageOur “3-Case Set” provides us with 860 servings of food and a total of 93,165 calories. How does that stack up against our nutritional needs? We get a little over 3,100 calories of energy between the two of us. That means we are looking at a “minimal” diet. A woman my wife’s age will need about 1,200 – 1,300 calories a day with a “normal life-style.” That leaves me with about 1,800 calories a day. That is barely enough for a man my size, age and life-style. If we have to accomplish hard work we would have to double that caloric intake to stay healthy.

Now, how to extend what you have in your 3-Case Sets can be a bit tricky, maybe confusing but I will take a stab at it. Remember that a 3-Case Set is designed to be food for two people for one month. But it is barely enough for a man and women as far as calories go. Now, it would be easy to increase calories by simply adding beans, wheat, rice or oats; and it would be very cost effective as well. But you could end up suffering from food fatigue if you aren’t careful. To avoid that and boost calories that are a number of ways to accomplish that, putting together a case of “caloric extenders” while adding a little “taste” as well. Here are some ideas for both:Food Storage Extenders - grains, beans, rice

Caloric extender foods:

Wheat (40/180/7200)
Rice (28/160/4480)
Beans, pinto/black/white/refried
Oatmeal (24/200/4800)
Pasta (24/220/5280)
Potatoes, mashed (53/100/5300)

Food Storage Enhancers - Sugar Brownie mix Yogurt bits Cheese ButterTaste enhancer:

Brownie mix
Yogurt bits

You can mix and match them in any combination that you wish to get the desired foods, taste, caloric intake, bulk and nutritional content. And you can do all of that while keeping food fatigue away. Now, don’t think you have to run out and spend a fortune on freeze dried food or a long list of fancy canned food. If you have the extra money fine, then do so if it fits your budget. But if you are l most of us you don’t have that kind of money just sitting around. No problem, just add a single #10 can each payday if that is all you can do. Steady progress is what it is all about. This is a marathon not a sprint.

All-in-all, we are really grateful that we undertook this change in food storage methodology. It was eye-opening to say the least. We both feel we are far better prepared now to meet the challenges that will come our way when we face a disaster, emergency or a “grid-down” event in the future.

Lessons LearnedHere are some specific Lessons Learned from this significant change in the way we stored our food storage:

  1. We didn’t know before exactly how long our food would last. Now we have a firm estimate. Makes a big difference for planning purposes.
  2. Putting a can opener in each box really gives us a feeling of comfort. Talk about redundancy!!
  3. We found the bottom seams of many of the boxes (especially shipped boxes) had tape that no longer functioned. We took the time to re-tape each of the 3 seams on ALL the box bottoms; two shorter edges and the one long seam in the middle.
  4. With our computer printed, easy-to-read labels, we marked each box with the exact contents and the servings and calories.
  5. We rearranged how we physically stacked and placed it in the storage area. We can now easily see what we need to round-out our food storage. But more importantly, which cases of food should be loaded first in the event we need to bug-out.
  6. We feel confident, that should we be able to take it all, we will have well balanced and tasty meals to ease the problem(s) that caused us to delve into our food storage to begin with.
  7. We realized that if we are to take all our food storage we will need a larger, sturdier truck.
  8. If the grid goes down and we have to leave in a hurry we will very likely not be able to take all our food storage with us. But we will easily know what to take, and be able to do it quickly and efficiently.
  9. We really liked the idea that we put plastic lids on every can in the A/B/C and Support cases. Once the food is used out of those cans, the cans will have more value because they will all have a lid.


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