We are used to using almost all 100% whole wheat in our house. But a few months ago when I ran out of wheat to grind, I didn't buy any more....until today! Life has just not been the same without wheat. I haven't cooked as much and we haven't been eating as healthy in general. For me, doing something proactive like grinding my own wheat flour and using it in almost everything I make helps me to be more proactive in other areas of my life and inspires me to eat healthier in general. After years and years of grinding my own wheat, the past few months without it as just not been the same.
In the past, we ordered 25 pound bags of organic wheat from Whole Foods at about $20 a bag...that is NOT cheap. This time around I decided to care less about the organic aspect and went to our church's Home Storage Center (see www.providentliving.org for more info on home storage and where the nearest Home Storage Center is to you) and bought 25 pound bags for $5.80!! What a great deal! I only have enough storage buckets for about 75 pounds of wheat. This fall I am going to do a big beef up of our home food storage and buy another 100 pounds or so of wheat, 100 pounds of oats, 100 pounds of beans and assorted canned foods that we use on a regular basis as well as salt, spices, oil and other cooking needs.
A family's food storage is about having a store of food to be used and rotated and there for you when you need it; a lay-off or a natural disaster for example. Only store the foods you and your family will and do use in your everyday lives. Only acquire your store of food as you can afford it. For most people, that means buying a few extra items each time you go the store, and hopefully sale items. We use this method, and then a few times a year (usually coinciding with tax return season, etc) we stock up a bit more fully. We buy flats of canned goods and bags of dry goods that we store in food grade 5 gallon buckets with tight fitting lids.
Our food storage is very helpful to us. I usually have all the regular ingredients on hand that I need for every day cooking and baking. During months when our food budget might be a bit tighter than usual due to some unexpected expense, we can use our food storage for most of our needs and supplement with fresh fruits and veggies on sale at the store. I have had friends who had suddenly lost jobs and used their food storage almost exclusively for 4-8 months! You could use it completely exclusively if you had canned fruits and veggies and stored dry milk.
When you are just starting out, aim for reaching a 3-month supply of food, water and other neccesities. Then work ip to a 6-month supply. Ideally, you work your store of food up to about a years supply. We have not ever reached that (maybe 6-8 months), but that is one of our goals for the year.
In considering what to have on hand in your family's year supply, remember to include essential non-food items. We have sturdy metal shelving in our garage that I keep our food storage on, but in our crawl space I keep our non-food items. We have stores of toilet paper, paper towels, dishwasher detergent, laundry detergent, toothpaste, tooth brushes, deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, body soap, ziploc baggies, cleaning supplies and any other items that we use on a regular basis. You should also store water both to drink and to use for washing should your water supply go out for a few days or longer. It's also wise to have a camp stove (or outdoor grill) and a few extra propane tanks.
Every year, there are always sections of the country affected by power outages or water issues. Having a year supply would be the difference between possibly going hungry for a few uncomfortable days or weeks and being well fed and having the things you're used to having on hand. During an emergency, being able to cook foods your family finds comforting and being well prepared in general will make the emergency, whether it is a power outage or a job loss, much less stressful and much easier to get through!
Today, with my freshly ground wheat, I made some delicious black berry muffins. We had the black berries frozen in the freezer from a few months ago when they were on a killer sale! I use a wonderful, awesome and great all-purpose muffin recipe I learned from my friend, Jenny Hatch.
4 c whole wheat flour
2 c brown sugar
1/2 t each b. powder and b. soda
2 tsp salt
14 oz apple sauce (or other fruit sauce/puree)
Bake at 350 until a tooth pick comes out clean (usually around 20 minutes, give or take)
It is a very versatile recipe; feel free to substitute some honey for the sugar, add more or less liquid depending on your preferences, add nuts and fruit (dried or fresh) or anything else you think might be yummy! They always turn out great! I usually do two batches of this recipe and add freshly ground (in the blender) flax seed meal to both and then add nuts and fruit to one batch (this would be the "adult" batch since my kids don't like to eat things with junks) and they get eaten up very quickly!
I will add a "Food storage resources" section to the right very soon, look for it!
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