Thursday, May 14, 2009

Rotating your Food Storage

In a lot of past posts, Abbie and I have mentioned "rotating your food storage", which has brought on many questions from you.  What exactly does it mean to rotate your food storage?

There are two terms that Abbie and I frequently use when we're talking about actually eating your food storage: "rotating", and "living off of" it.

If you are living off of your food storage, it means that (for any number of reasons), you are relying primarily on your food storage to feed your family.  We've known many people who have done this - heck, Abbie and I have even had points in our lives where we were feeding our family off our food storage, whether it was for a week or two or whatever.  There are many reasons why you might live off your food storage - budget constraints, illness, job loss, etc.

When Abbie and I talk about rotating your food storage, we mean that we're using food storage items in our day-to-day living in order to keep them from going bad.  Abbie and I each try to make 1 complete food storage meal per week (see our recipes page) so that we can be sure our food storage isn't just sitting in the closet collecting dust or expiring.  Making one food storage meal per week also helps our families get used to eating meals like that, so if we ever did need to live off of our food storage alone, it wouldn't be as if we were introducing brand new foods to everyone.  

You can also rotate your food storage without making completely non-perishable meals like we do.  In fact, I'm constantly rotating my food storage without even really trying; every time I grab a can of beans or tomato sauce, it's coming from my food storage closet.  I simply keep track of what I take out, and then next time I visit the grocery store I replace what we ate so that my supply is always up to date.

And one last thing about rotating: when Abbie and I each make our once-a-week food storage meal, we don't necessarily stick to just non-perishables.  For example, when I'm using my beans to make Refried Beans, I don't serve only tacos and refried beans with salsa and olives, etc (all non-perishables).  We add cheese and sour cream and lettuce and other non-perishables, because we can!  Of course, we won't have these items if we had to truly live off our food storage 100% (because I won't be visiting the grocery store to get these fresh items), but there's no problem using them if you're just trying rotate through your food.  The meal is still delicious without these foods, but it's fun to be creative and also just mix it up a bit.

Need some rotating methods to help you stay on top of things?  Check out our "5 Rotation Methods" on our How-to page!


Mandy said...

Great Post - thanks!

dogear6 said...

Thanks for sharing this. Making it a point of rotating my stored food helped a lot in the choices I have been making for what to store. For example, I do not have a sufficiently large garden to can tomatoes nor do I have the time. I love Glen Muir brand tomatoes. So each time they go on sale, I buy 6 to 10 cans.

I'm not a big fan of canned tuna, so I instead have canned chicken. I've bought a pressure canner and will start canning my own meat shortly. As for dry milk, I use it for half the milk in my homemade yogurt and no one can tell the difference.

Everything in the overflow pantry is something we eat on a daily basis and will go to get out if the regular pantry runs low.

dogear6 said...

I forgot to add - I've also been working through how to put into the pantry substitutes for items that we eat fresh. I have powdered buttermilk for cooking, sprout seeds to replace lettuce, and have dehydrated various fruits and vegetables for cereals and soups.

Carolyn said...

great post.

we have lived off our food storage while i was bringing in no income and we rotated on a regular basis.

in fact....next week is leftover and food storage cooking week!


Tommy O' said...

I think the items you listed are good items to have. There are a couple items that should
be added. First, you know when your body is under stress it goes through your bodies
vitamins, minerals & water much quicker than it would under normal conditions. Problem
is you cannot carry enough water with you. One of the largest causes of death in a disaster
is being dehydrated & out of fuel(vitamins). The young & the elderly are the first to have
So the two things, I have added to my BOB is a aquamira filter straw. Do not buy one off
of the aquamira website though because you can get them cheaper on other sites, just google
The second item is called Lifecaps. They are capsules that have all the vitamins & minerals
even Iodine to sustain life. You can live off of the lifecaps & water alone. If you want
to learn more about them go to Lifecaps.net
After buying 25 bottles, I got a coupon code & got 75 more bottles. The coupon code is
It will get you 30% off. Now with a water filter & healthcaps you can carry & fit much
more in your bug out bag. Easily carry enough food with the capsules to sustain life for
months. You cannot live without water.