Friday, March 18, 2011

A Food Storage Oops Moment

Instead of our regularly scheduled Food Storage Friday post, I bring you this emergency (pun intended) post.

A couple of weeks ago, being a little short on funds, Mountain Man and I decided to see how long we could go by just buying perishables (produce, dairy, etc) at the store and eating up our 3 month supply at home. Verdict: I'm already out of white flour!


Granted, I bake a little more than the average mom, but turns out my estimate of how much white flour we eat as a family was wildly miscalculated. I'm so glad we tried this little experiment so I can readjust our flour needs, so when it really counts, we won't go without. Although my bookclub friends didn't complain about the whole wheat donuts they ate. And did you see how Brittany's focaccia turned out with whole wheat flour instead of white flour? Yep, I'm not running out of wheat any time soon.

I've determined that everyone ought to try my unplanned experiment: stop going to the store and see if your calculations on your 3-month supply of food are right.

Which food storage item do you think you've miscalculated on?

Ever thought of doing a practice run?


Matriarchy said...

We had a "practice run" during a few months of unemployment. We did well on most canned goods and staples. But I ran out of bread flour, fats (oil, shortening, butter), and honey. And my dried milk tasted funny - it got old faster than I expected. I think I need to get it in #10 cans instead of boxes stored in buckets. I also ran out of bones to make stock. I don't store stock, I make it and freeze it in 8-qt batches. But this summer, I will can more stock and butter. More jam, chutney, and pickles, too - they run out by the end of winter, before fresh local fruit is available.

farmgal said...

Hi, We are currently in the middle of a month long challange of living out of our stores, but we do have a leg up in some ways as we are on the farm, and so have fresh eggs, and Milk coming in daily, plus I have done some extra butchering to have fresh meat, but to honest that is typical of each month.

I can see that we have a very area's that I would like to add more in our stores. We picked march for a couple reasons, one being that we had been eating out of our farm/garden storage for the past five months and because everything is still frozen solid at this time of the year.

I will admit to being surprised that you would run out of flour so soon, well white flour anyway.. what do you think was the diffence between what you had stored and what you will be storing?

If I had to say what I would put away more of, it would be more dried or canned fruits an veggies, because if you are not buying anything at the stores, they are being going though fairly fast. I have never been so thankful for my many, many jars or bags of rubarb.

Sadie said...

My husband deployed to Iraq last June. Because of his order date and last work day, we missed 2 complete paychecks. I new in advance so I was preparing for it, but I also decided to do a test run on the 3 month supply. The thing I ran out of was White flour and cereal. ha, ha We eat a lot of cereal so when it goes on sale I buy 10 or more boxes at a time. I thought we'd never run out and we did.
My husband is coming home in May (yay) and we'll have some of the same pay issues so I am going to do another test run and see how we do this time. It's actually kind of fun.

Kelsey said...

Interesting idea. I have just tried to save money by going a week or two without any trips to the grocery store. It helps me eat the food stuck in the back of my cabinets but I feel like I am starving after a few days.

Lisa said...

I have done this a couple of times and found that my white flour had spoiled, so I could only keep a year's worth on hand at a time--at that time I kept it in the garage-big mistake. I also run out of things like soda, so I'm trying real hard to kick that habit. I also run out of chicken and beef stock and can't seem to store enough because it's a real pain to have to make stock all the time. I also ran out of dog food. I'm trying to keep a list of what we go through in a 3 month time frame.

Anonymous said...

I love this idea and I've thought about doing it, but haven't yet. Just a thought though about how quickly things would run out in a real eat out of your pantry only situation. Seems to me that we would start rationing in the beginning to ensure that we don't run out of things too quickly. Not enough to make people feel that they are going with out, but just a little less. I think portion control is going to be key, especially with children who frequently think they can eat more than they are able to and much food is wasted. Anyway, just a thought. Sounds like your experiment was a success. Running out of something doesn't make it a failure.

LakeConroePenny,TX said...

In this day and age with all the talk about eating healthy, I am surprised that so many of you are still eating white flour. It has no food value, just turns to sugar, and then fat on your waistline.

I keep my wheat, and other healthy grain flours in the freezer to keep them fresh.
I know I could eat for months with what I have stored here, as I have a deep freeze full of meat and veggies, some pre-cooked, and shelves of canned goods.
But if the power was out, would I have enough gas in the lawn mower cans to keep the generator running!
Happy Trails, Penny, TX

Plickety Cat said...

We live in the Alaskan Interior, and it's 3-4 hours to the nearest grocery store, so we have "practice runs" all the time... particularly in the winter. Our goal is to only restock twice in summer (3 months between trips) and make it through the entire winter (6 months) without running out of anything and needing to go into town. So far, we haven't done that badly, but it's still closer to three times in the summer and twice in the winter. Hopefully when we get our gardens and livestock up to goal, we will only need to go to town twice in the whole year!

We also miscalculated our all-purpose flour, but we had plenty of wheat berries to mill down into whole wheat flour (although it took awhile to adjust recipes so the bread wasn't a doorstop).

We also underestimated our white sugar and overestimated our maple syrup... while we could use the syrup in some of the recipes, it doesn't taste so good in your coffee.

We bought way too much vegetable & olive oil, and not enough butter. Before we moved out here, I never paid much attention to how much we actually prefer to cook with butter than with oils... unless the recipe absolutely requires oil, we use butter.

We also have a ton of dried beans, and realized that we'd use them more if I actually cooked and canned some because dried beans take forever to soften. And since we haul our water or melt snow, so soaking everything in tons of water can be problematic.