Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Be Prepared Challenge - Acquire Week #2 - Stockpiling Food

This is week 2 of Gavin & Bec's "Be Prepared" Challenge. Gavin's post today is about doing an inventory to work out what you would like in your stockpile. Bec's post focusses on the questions you need to answer to work out what you might need (and it's a fab list which will really get you thinking). Julie from Towards Sustainability did a great post last week about what she keeps in her stockpile.

The best adage I've heard is to only keep foods in your stockpile that you will actually eat (I've learnt this the hard way - uht pineapple juice was not a good addition to our stockpile in times past). Our stockpile has changed over time...in the beginning it had some canned meals for Mr B, plus toilet paper & cleaning supplies and pasta. Then progressed to things like canned tuna, dolmades, canned fruit and beans.

Due to my distrust of BPA, I dont like to focus so much on canned goods anymore (though I do use some Fish 4 Ever canned tuna) and my New Years goal is to preserve more food in glass. I know some prefer plastic and in tough times I wont be picky but an earthquake is extremely unlikely where we live, so I'm not worried about using glass.

Now my stockpile holds more "from scratch" type foods and items:
- dried & BPA free canned beans (pinto, cannellini & adzuki)
- rice
- two kinds of pasta
- bread flour
- yeast
- SR & plain flours
- home-made jams
- a few uht milks (cow & oat)
- sugar (caster & brown)
- salt
- maple, rice malt & golden syrup
- weetbix
- oats
- dried lentils (red and green)
- oils (olive and sunflower)
- a variety of organic herbal teas (peppermint, raspberry leaf & rosehip)
- jarred capsicum
- tomato pasta sauce (hopefully soon to be home made)
- baking powder, citric acid

Laundry / Bathroom
- toilet paper
- borax
- soap flakes
- pure soap
- tissues (for illness, otherwise we use handkerchiefs)
- bicarb soda

- I always have 6 months supply of the supplements Little B needs to take for his allergies
- olive leaf extract
- Bepanthen first aid cream
- sambucol (elderberry extract)
- flustop
- up to date first aid kit
- tea tree oil
- manuka honey
- the herbal teas are good here too (i.e. peppermint tea for fever)

From this I can always make bread / rolls / flat bread, cook porridge / weetbix for breakfasts and make a variety of main meals from beans & lentils supplemented with veggies from the garden.

"Animal, vegetable, mineral: A year of food life" by Barbara Kingsolver is a great read for how to plan your veggie garden to feed you throughout the year BUT when you have anomalies in the weather like this year, your whole garden could be destroyed by flood / fire, or just stunted by bad weather.

So for this part of the challenge, my aim is to look at what veggies I could can / preserve to supplement this. Blanching / freezing is great but what if you suffered from power outages??

Take a look at Bec's post above if you are interested in which questions to answer to help you along in being more prepared. Think of a stockpile as insurance - sure its great during a disaster but it's also insurance against higher food costs, the loss of a job or even just as some security while you go about daily life.

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