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I am usually not the kind of person to sound like an alarmist (I leave that to my dad) but there are a few reasons EVERYONE should have their stockpile in order. According to this article on Yahoo Financefood prices have had their steepest rise in 36 years. Combine that with the expected rise inoil prices due to political upheaval occurring in the Middle East and disaster in Japan and you start to see why it is prudent to be prepared. Not only will food cost more to make but also to ship. It is always a good idea to be prepared for the unexpected. If the earthquake in Japan has taught us anything it is that everything can change in an instant. Having a well stocked pantry helps insulate you from rising food prices while also helping keep you prepared for emergencies.
So what can you do to be better prepared without going overboard?
Most people know to have a stock of canned goods- vegetables, fruit, canned meat (ie tuna), soups etc. It is important to rotate this stock by putting new additions (with further away expiration dates) in the back and move the old stuff to the front. Another lesson I have learned is to only buy stuff you will actually eat when there isn’t a disaster. I hate to think about the food that went bad because I bought it in case of a hurricane but wouldn’t eat it otherwise. Only buy stuff you will actually use.
People often overlook the value of raw goods when they stockpile. Dry beans and rice will keep virtually forever if stored properly in sealed plastic food grade containers. Beans provide protein and are inexpensive. Rice is an inexpensive carbohydrate. Buy brown whole grain to add fiber. Other important dry goods to store include flour, sugar, salt, and cornmeal. I know of some people who store wheat berries and mill their own grains but that is above what I am capable of doing at the moment.
Health and Beauty Aids
It is also important to have a stock of products such as toothpaste, soap, and shampoo. You can get this stuff for free or almost free if you shop the sales at CVS right. I always keep a 6 month supply on hand. What I can’t use gets donated to shelters.
Storing water is possible but can be a pain. A few drops of bleach will keep water sanitary. Water should be changed out every six months. Rather than keeping mass quantities of water on hand I recommend a good ceramic water purifier if you live close to a pond, stream, or lake. We keep enough bottles around to fill for a hurricane or other emergency (plus your bath tubs etc) if we need to fill them but don’t keep them all filled all of time due to space constraints. Make sure whatever you keep it in is food grade. 2 liter Soda bottles are good, milk containers are not.
If you have pets don’t forget to have at least a month supply of pet food on hand.
Some helpful websites:
http://lds.about.com/od/preparednessfoodstorage/p/foodstorage.htm LDS (later day saints) also have great local resources as their church preaches about preparedness