There are lots of fresh foods you can store without needing a freezer, canner, or fridge.  I haven't built a root cellar, but discovered that different places in my yard, garage, and house have the right conditions for several of these foods.
Potatoes are happy on my bare garage floor until late January. After January they have to be moved up 1-2 feet, onto the cement stairs, to avoid freezing. Same with onions. Apples are better in the garage on the workbench, which is a couple feet off the ground and a few degrees warmer (but still cold). Pumpkins are happy in the basement or in a dark closet, off the floor so they avoid moisture. Carrots and parsnips are fine to leave in the ground, covered with a pile of dead leaves or a thick layer of straw if I want any hope of digging them during the winter. Otherwise they can be dug in spring, after the winter cold has made them sweeter.The link below is a 5-page handout from the University of Wisconsin which lists types of foods, their ideal storing temperature and any necessary humidity, expected length of storage, and plans for creating your own root cellar.

What will you store this year?

Week 4- make a plan to obtain the food storage. Do something to start. What you do depends on where YOU are and what your circumstances are.  This article is a good starting point.  
This post is longer, in order to try to give pointers and resources to everyone in every stage of preparedness.  Use what's useful, ignore the rest until you're ready for it.
If you're trying to figure how on earth to buy that extra food... case lot sales are going on right now, where items are often half the regular price. Some places- like the Bosch Kitchen Centers in Orem, Sandy, and on Highland Drive--  have Conference sales for long-storage items like wheat and honey.  Plus the Home Storage Center has fantastic prices on wheat, beans, and more.  You do not need to be a LDS church member to purchase items there.
Set aside a certain amount of money each month, and use it. For more ideas, see this Conference talk by Elder Featherstone.

Do you need your 3-month supply?  Do you have that in place and are ready to move on to building your long-term ("year") supply?  Do you have long-term storage but just need to get organized or fill in some gaps?  

To build a three-month supply, you and your family decide on 2 weeks of meals that they like.  Figure how much of each food item you need for that two weeks, and multiply by 6.  This gives you three months!  Remember that what you already have counts towards this amount.  I have a series of blog posts on a three-month supply, too.

To build long-term storage, first figure how much you need.  I've compiledinformation about that, here. There's even more, here.  It really is not as overwhelming as it sounds.  You'll likely spend as much money on the three-month supply as you will the entire rest of the year's worth; basics are cheap.  Last time I ran numbers, getting that 9-months-more of storage was under $250 per adult, and less for children. (See the link earlier in this paragraph for children's quantities.)  There is a useful spreadsheet here; feel free to change quantities for the different grains, as long as the total remains 300-400 lbs.

"Food storage is often characterized by worldly critics as eccentric — just steps away from building a nuclear bomb shelter under your house and stocking it with guns, ammo and dehydrated rations.

If you have held back from applying your imagination and effort to storing some necessities for a rainy day, let me ask this: Have you ever saved for your child’s education? Have you ever hurried to buy airline tickets a month in advance of Christmas, because you knew that available seats would disappear if you waited longer?

Do you pay for health, disability, auto, or life insurance, even though you are healthy and able, you don’t plan to be in an auto accident, and you are indeed alive and well? Then you are a candidate for food storage and a provident lifestyle.

Even if you never use your food storage for an emergency if you store what you eat and eat what you store and you will always be eating at last year’s prices. You will never have to pay full price for food in the future. Even food goes on sale. It is really that simple. Who wouldn’t love that?" -Carolyn Nicolaysen

President Monson said, one year ago, "We should remember that the best storehouse system would be for every family in the Church to have a supply of food, clothing, and, where possible, other necessities of life... Are we prepared for the emergencies in our lives? Are our skills perfected? Do we live providently? Do we have our reserve supply on hand? Are we obedient to the commandments of God? Are we responsive to the teachings of prophets? Are we prepared to give of our substance to the poor, the needy? Are we square with the Lord?

"We live in turbulent times. Often the future is unknown; therefore, it behooves us to prepare for uncertainties. When the time for decision arrives, the time for preparation is past." 
("Are We Prepared?", Sept. 2014 Ensign magazine)

"It requires faith even among the Latter-day Saints to believe the revelations of God, and to prepare themselves for those things which await the world… And what I wish to say to the Elders and to the Latter-day Saints is—Have we faith in God and in his revelations? Have we faith in our own religion? Have we faith in Jesus Christ? Have we faith in the words of the Prophets?...
If we have faith in these things, then we certainly should prepare ourselves for the fulfillment of them.'
-Wilford Woodruff, "The Parable of the Ten Virgins"

September is National Preparedness Month.  Each week this month I'll post a weekly challenge of something simple you can do, with no money at all if that's where you are.

We should be prepared for what?
Emergencies. Job loss.  "Eventualities"... like that earthquake we've been told to expect someday.  Illness.  Unavailability of water because somebody broke a water main.  Power outages, long or short.  You name it.

Here's a quick overview of some good recommendations for Personal or Family Emergency Planning

Items to consider may include:
•Three-month supply of food that is part of your normal daily diet.
•Drinking water.
•Financial reserves.
•Longer-term supply of basic food items.
•Medication and first aid supplies.
•Clothing and bedding.
•Important documents.
•Ways to communicate with family following a disaster

See for more information.

Create a family emergency contact plan and share it with your immediate family so everyone knows what to do, where/who to call or text, who will be your out-of-state contact, what are the emergency plans at your kids' schools, workplace, how to get people back home... 

The link below has a simple form you can use, and the second page of it has cards to fill out with the info you need, for you or your children to carry.

Will you accept the challenge?  I'd love to hear what you did.

Yogurt Cheese

This is 'strained yogurt', the same thing as authentic Greek yogurt;  use it like cream cheese in recipes, or eat it with a little jam or fruit.   Add a bit of salt if subbing this for cream cheese.  
Since the whey- which contains the lactose, or milk sugar- is drained off, you end up with a product that has twice as much protein and quite a bit less milk sugar.

All you do is pour plain yogurt into a cheesecloth-lined colander, set it over a bowl overnight, and check on it in the morning.  You can either leave it on the counter or do this in the fridge. The longer it drains, the thicker it gets.  It works best with homemade, unthickened yogurt, since added thickeners make it hard for the whey to separate away from the solids.  If you don't have cheesecloth, use something else that liquid can drain through but the solids won't, like the superstrong paper towels, or a clean flat-woven dish towel.
16 ounces of plain yogurt will yield about 8 ounces each of yogurt cheese and whey.  You can substitute whey in place of buttermilk in recipes.  I use it for part of the liquid when making bread.

Sweetened Condensed Milk- use it to make my favorite, Two-Minute Fudge recipe.  For the closest version to a 14-oz can, use

1/2 c. (non-instant) powdered milk
1/2 c. water
1 c.  sugar
2 Tbsp. butter, optional
To read more about making it or how to use it, see here.
If you happen to need it, here's a recipe for dairy-free sweetened condensed milk 

Easy No-Bake Cheesecake  

Another great way to use sweetened condensed milk!

Actually, some of the newer "instant" powdered milks taste pretty good.  However, the non-instant dry powdered milk is generally less expensive.  It's just not so great for drinking straight.  There's more on that in the printable.

The first couple recipes are below and the next blog post will have the others.  You can get all of them without waiting, plus some extra stuff, in a two-page printable format right here.  For even more great powdered milk recipes, download the Bee Prepared Pantry Cookbook or the Wooden Spoon class booklet (see here for corrections & notes for the Wooden Spoon booklet.)
Lasagne using powdered milk?  You bet!  You can make homemade cottage cheese in 5-10 minutes.  There's even a recipe for a mock mozzarella that melts beautifully, in the Bee Prepared book.

All cost estimates are based on paying $1.89/lb for powdered milk, which is the 2013 price at the LDS Church's 'Family Home Storage Center'.

Homemade Cottage Cheese- makes about 16 oz., $ 1.00/batch

4 c. hot water                                                                          6 Tbsp. white vinegar
1 ½  c. non-instant dry milk powder                                           ½   tsp. salt, to taste

            Stir together water and powdered milk in a saucepan, heat until it starts to steam, stirring.  Drip vinegar around the edge of the pan and gently stir; it will immediately start to separate into curds and whey.  If it doesn’t, heat it up some more.  Let rest one minute.  Pour into a cheesecloth-lined colander over a bowl. Save whey, then rinse with hot water, then with cold water and break apart into the size curds you want.  Rinse for one minute or until all the whey is out. Add salt. To make it creamy, add 4-6 Tbsp. sour cream, yogurt, evaporated milk, or cream.

  The whey may be used in place of liquid (milk or water) in baking.  It has vitamins, minerals, some protein, no fat, and some milk sugar (lactose- very low on the glycemic scale.)  Since it has the acidity of the vinegar in it, you can add a little baking soda to neutralize and get extra leavening power- use 1 tsp. baking soda per 2-3 cups of acid whey; reduce any baking powder by three times the amount:  if using 1 tsp. baking soda, the baking powder is reduced by 3 tsp.

Yogurt – makes 2 quarts of plain yogurt at $ .57 per quart if using your own starter
1 ¾ c. regular nonfat dry milk, or 3 c. instant                         7 c. hot water (not over 120 degrees)
1/3 c. plain yogurt, with active cultures

Combine dry milk and 4 cups of the water.  Whisk or mix in a blender.  Add yogurt and whisk.  Add remaining water or divide the remaining water evenly between your containers; stir well after adding the milk mixture!  Pour into containers, cover, and incubate in a warm place for 4-8 hours or until set.  Tip a container after 4 hours to see if it has set.  If the yogurt is still liquid, wait 1-2 more hours.  It will set up a little more when chilled.  Store in fridge.  The ideal temperature range for culturing yogurt is 105-120 degrees.  The lower of these temperatures you begin culturing at, the sweeter the yogurt will be.  The higher, the more tart. Above 120 degrees will kill the bacteria you’re trying to grow.  Save 1/3 c. for culturing your next batch.

To flavor your yogurt after it’s made, add fruit, jam, juice concentrate, chocolate milk mix, etc., before eating.

To flavor it before culturing, use 6-8 Tbsp. of sugar per 2-qt batch,  or 4-6 Tbsp. honey (dissolve this in your water first, or it will sink to the bottom), or a 3-oz. box of flavored gelatin, or 1/3-1/2 c. jam, or 1 c. chopped or mashed sweetened fruit. The syrup from canned fruit can be used in place of part of the water.  If it’s not sweet enough, you can always add sugar when it’s done.  1-2 tsp. vanilla added to the batch is also a nice addition.  Make your own combinations- chopped cherries with some vanilla and a little almond extract, blueberries with cream cheese added, toasted coconut with caramel sauce swirled in… let your imagination run wild!

To make firm yogurt that doesn’t become thin after stirring, use 4-6 tsp. unflavored gelatin, or two envelopes, per two-quart batch.  Soften it in part of the recipe’s water, then heat gently on stove, in microwave, or over hot water, until the gelatin melts.  Add along with remaining water.

Rescuing food can help you rescue your food budget, too.  The average American family wastes about 15% of the food they bring home.  How much money could you save?

There are sites online, like, that list the shelf life of foods.  One problem with them, though: the sites give the 'best by' information.  This means the manufacturer can guarantee the food is at peak quality and nutrition.  Food doesn't automatically spoil after that; it's generally a slow deterioration.  You control the speed of it, by the amount light, heat, oxygen, and moisture/humidity your storage conditions have.  Because of this, all charts tend to give very conservative numbers in case storage conditions are less than ideal.  Store something in the dark, where it's cool, and you can easily double its stated shelf life. 
Another type of date you'll find on products is the 'sell by' date.  Dairy and eggs are two products that have this.  This date assumes you'll take a little longer to actually eat the food, so the 'sell by' date is about a week earlier than the 'best by' date.

Higher-fat items go rancid sooner.   Watch for that.  How can you tell if it, or anything else has passed its useful life?  Smell it.  Your eyes, nose, and tongue can tell you a lot.  Use common sense; if it smells bad or has gone moldy or foamy, there's no need to taste!!  And if you are feeding people with low immune systems, err on the side of caution.

If a can squirts at you when you open it, that can be an indication of botulism growth.  Boil the contents for 10 minutes.  If food has started eating through the can, well, I wouldn't eat it unless I was starving.  Even then, I might not.  But the sealed Mason jar of peaches from ten years ago that you just found at the back of a shelf?  Yeah, they've turned an interesting peachy-brown. Puree them and use as the liquid in a cake, make a smoothie, or some other creative use.  Is ten years old ideal?  No, of course not.  You'll get better nutrition if you're rotating the food more often than that.  But older food is still... food.  Use it.

Cutting Food Waste at Home

My #1 tip! Before you cook dinner, look in the fruit basket, crisper drawer, fridge shelves, or freezer to see what needs used up first.  Use that in your meal.  Be creative if you have to.

·         My #2 tip!  Don’t waste what’s on your plate.  If you have small children, serve them very small servings (a couple of bites) of just a couple foods. Use a small plate.  They only get seconds on anything after the firsts are eaten.  As my kids hear, “Firsts of everything before seconds of anything.”  They can learn to eat everything on their plate if the servings are small enough.  When they’re older, progress in the teaching by letting them learn to serve themselves small/reasonable portions.  If they have leftover food (either at home or eating out), SAVE it for the next meal; they “get to” eat that before any new food. 

·         Freeze leftovers.  You get instant dinners for later! 

·         Use leftovers as a ‘variety pack’ meal: put all the leftovers on the table, and let everyone choose which they like best.  Or pack them for take-to-work (or school) lunches.

·         Keep a bag in the freezer for celery tops, mushroom stems, bits of raw or cooked meat, leftover oatmeal, whatever odds and ends you have.  When the bag is full, make it into soup.

·         When you have heels or crusts of bread, leftover toast, or stale bread, add it to a bag in the freezer.  Use it when you need breadcrumbs, or to make bread pudding, poultry stuffing, or bread salad.  I also save the breadcrumbs from when I slice homemade bread.

·         Trim away bad spots, eat the rest.  Brown edges on lettuce can be trimmed away, same with black on cabbage, mold on apples or strawberries, etc.

·         Chop shriveled apples or other fruit and mix them into muffin batter.  Or make smoothies.  Find some way to use the food where looks don’t matter.

·         Freeze overripe bananas to use in recipes and smoothies.  For simplicity's sake, peel before freezing. 

·         when you have so much of something that it will spoil before you can use it all, freeze it, dry it, or bottle it.

·         Moldy cheese?  Trim off the mold, use the rest or shred and freeze it.

For other ways to save money on food, see the post from Feb. 3, 2011.

When should you throw out food?

My general guidelines are to throw it out if it is:
-foaming (unless it's bread dough or batter, or if you're fermenting something intentionally),
-molding (except for cheese, and small bits on fruit or vegetables),
-turning slimy,
-developing unusual colors, or
-smells bad.

Learning how to tell when food is still good can really help out your budget.  We waste huge amounts of food here in the US, the average family of four throws away just under $600 in food AT HOME per year!  (See   And total food waste, from the field to your stomach, runs between 40-50%.  Really.  

This higher number includes the following steps:

·         cultivation
·         harvest
·         storage/processing/packing/transport
·         supermarkets
·         consumption (restaurants/schools/home waste)

As a side note, so you don't think the US should be singled out for condemnation, total waste percentages are about the same in undeveloped countries- but they lose more between the field and the store, and less at home.  (See,  pages 18-23) 

Tiny Spicy Chicken is great over rice, with a little fruit to help balance out the heat.   Bok choy is great on the side.

Do you have children or grandchildren who are afraid of what’s lurking under their beds?  Here’s the perfect solution, found on Meridian magazine online a couple months ago:

The Monster Under the Bed
"I overheard my two young adult sons talking.  One asked, “Do kids really think there are monsters under their beds?”  The other one answered: 'I never did.  There was always so much food storage under there that I knew there was no room for a monster.'”

 So let's all chase out those monsters!  For a lot of suggestions on storing food when you have little space, see the Food Storage Made Easy page.


This recipe came from a class at the Macey’s in Logan, back when I lived there.  “Tiny Spicy Chicken” was one of the entrees at Mandarin Gardens, a local Chinese restaurant.  Maybe it’s a Cache Valley specialty, because I haven’t run into anyone not  from there who has had this dish. 


Tiny Spicy Chicken

3 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken, cut into 1 ½ “ cubes
garlic salt
2 beaten eggs
1 cup cornstarch
¼ c. oil

            Sprinkle chicken with garlic salt, let sit for 1 hour in the fridge.  Heat oil in a large frying pan.  Dip chicken into eggs, then roll or shake in a bag with cornstarch.  Brown chicken pieces in the oil, until golden brown.  Put in a greased 9x13 pan.

Shortcut method: use 1- 1 ½ lbs. fully cooked chicken nuggets, frozen is OK.  (Don't use 3 lbs nuggets; they have too much breading that soaks up this sauce.)

½ -1  tsp. chili paste*

1 c. sugar
½  c. ketchup
2 tsp. soy sauce
Dash of salt
½  c. chicken broth
¼  c. brown sugar
½ c. vinegar

 Sauce will be very runny.  Pour over chicken (if using chicken nuggets, mix the sauce in the 9x13 pan, then add the chicken) and stir to coat.  Bake at 425 degrees for 10-15 minutes, stirring once or twice during that time.  Serve over rice.

Alternate cooking methods: bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour, stirring a couple times, or put in a crockpot and cook on low for 5-8 hours.

*Sambal chili paste can be found in the Asian section at Macey's grocery store, it probably can be found at most other grocery stores.  If you don't have it, or can't find it, substitute red pepper flakes.  Start with 1/4 tsp., put it in the sauce, then taste to see if it's as hot/mild as you like.
Chili paste is made from whole, hot chilies, ground up, and mixed with a little vinegar.  It includes the seeds, so it packs a punch.

If you use raw chicken breasts, the recipe takes about 1 1/2 hours to make.  If you start with these, you can have it done in 20 minutes.

Aren't cans and oxygen packets great?  I opened this can just yesterday.  And yes, 6-21-93 was when it was sealed.

The chicken, coated with sauce, ready to bake.

Baking it condenses the sauce and helps it soak into the coating on the chicken.  It's a little sweet, and a little zippy. 

 How about another zucchini recipe?  Any summer squash can be used in the recipe.  Since I don’t have zucchini this year, (the seedlings were stepped on...) I’ve been making my lemon-zucchini bread with yellow summer squash, too. “Bisque” usually means a thick, creamy soup thickened by pureeing it, instead of by adding flour.  We made some yesterday using an immature Hubbard squash (picked by an enthusiastic child…), and it was delicious. The recipe came from the Ukraine; my sister ate it- and loved it- there on her mission.   In the bisque, the curry powder is great, but you can also  try other spices you like-   using basil or ground coriander  to taste, or a half packet of ranch dressing mix powder (Remember dressing mix is salty, so leave out the salt in the recipe).  The soup really shines when served with “Best Drop Biscuits” (archived under Quick Breads) or homemade French bread; something with some crunch to contrast with the silkiness of the soup. 

Here’s a video on YouTube about food storage, a lady from Arizona… this segment is “top 10 reasons for not starting food storage”: here if the link didn't work.  The sound doesn't work really well, but it's still worth watching!      I thought it was pretty funny, but it makes you think.  Just remember that when she says ‘year’s supply’, that you don’t worry about that part until you reach Step 4 from the All Is Safely Gathered In booklet on How much you store, on that step, is up to you to study and pray about.  Here are the four:

1. Gradually build a small supply of food that is part of your normal, daily diet until it is sufficient for three months.

2. Store drinking water.

3. Establish a financial reserve by setting aside a little money each week, and gradually increase it to a reasonable amount.

 4. Once families have achieved the first three objectives, they are counseled to expand their efforts, as circumstances allow, into a supply of long-term basic foods such as grains, legumes, and other staples.

 Happy storing! 

Curried Zucchini Bisque
2 Tbsp. butter
2-4 tsp. curry powder- or use other spices you like
1 medium onion, chopped
¼ tsp. black pepper
3 c. chicken broth, or 3 c. water and 1 ½ tsp. chicken bouillon
1 (7-8 oz.) potato, cut in ½” cubes
1-1 ½ lbs. zucchini, trimmed and cubed
½ tsp. salt
1 ½ c. cream or evaporated milk (12 oz. can)  or a 12-oz. can of coconut milk

            Combine butter, curry powder, onion, and pepper in a medium saucepan.  Cook, stirring, for 2-3 minutes on medium-high heat.  Add broth, potato, zucchini, and salt.  Simmer 20 minutes or until potato is tender.  Add cream and puree the soup until smooth.         Serve garnished with croutons if you like.  Cubed chicken is also good in this. 

Hi everyone,

This week, take a minute and look back.  How is your Three-Month Challenge coming?  Have you filled out the survey with your visiting teachers?  (It would be helpful to get them to me by this Sunday - but if you can’t, don’t give up!  Just do it soon.)  Have you figured out how much you need to feed your family for 3 months?  My friend Elizabeth said the easiest thing for her was to break it down by meals-  how much cereal, powdered milk, and pancake/syrup ingredients (or whatever your family prefers)  would it take to eat for a week?  Then multiply that by 12 to get your 3 months’ worth. Write it all down.  A food storage notebook (or spreadsheet, if you like that better) is a great idea.   Then tackle lunch.  Then dinner.  Her goal was one of those per day.

To find what you still need to buy, inventory next.  I know that sounds awful, but it really isn’t that bad.  I just keep picturing Joseph keeping track of everything in Potiphar’s house.  Now there was a good steward.  “The Lord made all that he did to prosper in his hand.” (Gen. 39:3)   I’d like to qualify for that blessing, too!  If you haven’t yet inventoried what you currently have, grab a notebook and start.  The easiest way for me is to write categories (i.e. canned vegetables, box of cake mix, bag/can of flour, etc.) and just write tally marks- or count and write down the number if you’ve got a lot.  After you inventory, sit down and compare what you need with what you have.  Remember, getting your three months’ worth is the hardest part of the whole food storage plan.  And you can do it!  You all have visiting teachers who’d love to help where they can.  We’re all here to help each other. 

This recipe is from my 6-foot-3, skinny-as-a-rail Jamaican roommate in college.  She only had time to cook once a week, so she’d make a big pot of either this or her chicken curry, then eat that all week.  Yummy stuff.  She never measured ingredients, so don’t worry about being accurate!

           Althea's "Oven Method"  Chicken     4-8 servings

8   pieces bone-in chicken (2-3 lbs., or use 1 lb boneless)   
2-3   tsp.  seasoned salt   
1   small to medium   onion,   sliced into rings
3-4   stalks   green onions,   cut in 1/2" pieces (if you don’t have this, use a little bit bigger onion)
¼   c.   butter or margarine   
2   sprigs   fresh thyme  or 1 tsp. dried  (if anyone local needs a plant, see me)
3-5    medium   tomatoes,   chopped 

hot cooked rice    

Put chicken in a bowl.  Add seasoned salt, onion and green onion.  Mix well; marinate at least 1/2 hour or overnight (or during the day). Remove onions and green onions; reserve.  Brown chicken in a skillet, or bake chicken on a cookie sheet or in a baking dish at 450  for 1/2 hour; turn chicken pieces over and cook 15-30 minutes or til juices run clear and meat is no longer pink when slashed.  Put onions and green onions in a large pot with the butter. Add thyme, chicken, and tomatoes.  Pour in about 1 cup hot water.  Cook on high til the water dries out (about 15 minutes- don't let chicken scorch!).  Add one more cup water- cook until it's HALF dried out, then it's done.  Serve over rice.

This is SOOOO good!

Once the dough is mixed, if you use a greased/sprayed 1/4 measuring cup to scoop the dough, you'll get a more traditionally-shaped biscuit.

Yum.  Tender and light on the inside, crunchy on the outside.  This batch was made with 1 cup whole wheat flour.

How much will your year’s supply cost you?  I just got an emergency supply store’s catalog in the mail; they advertised a year’s supply of food for ‘just’ $3649.95.  For one person.  Is it really that much money to get a year’s supply?

Adding up all the essentials, a month’s worth of food for one person is $16.23

                            A year’s worth for one person is  $194.76

Figure in that you’re getting your year’s supply after building your three-month supply; that knocks it down to getting nine months’worth;

                                                            $146.07 per adult.   

You CAN afford to get your home storage! 

If you really want to spend $3649.95 plus tax, you could buy a year’s supply for not just one person, but for NINETEEN people.  Yes, basic storage is different food than that ‘gourmet’ version, but here’s the counsel we’ve been given:          
"We encourage members world-wide to prepare for adversity in life by having a basic supply of food and water and some money in savings.” “For longer-term needs….gradually build a supply of food that will last a long time  and that you can use to stay alive(fromAll is Safely Gathered In, First Presidency pamphlet)

Here is the cost breakdown:

Grains, 300 lbs- if you get just wheat and oats, at the cannery they cost between $5.80 and $8.15 for 25 lbs. depending on if you get white or red wheat, quick or regular oats.  If you average this out, it will cost you $6.98 per person, per month.  $83.70 per year’s worth.

Milk, 16 lbs is $1.40/lb at the cannery, which is $1.87 per month, $22.40 per year.

Sugar, 60 lbs is $ .56/lb there, $2.80 per month, $33.60 per year.

Oil, 10 qts –this isn’t sold at the cannery, but the price at Macey’s last week was $2.50 for 1 ½ quarts (48 oz.) At that price, after tax, it’s $1.43 per month, $17.17 per year.  It’s only $14.38 if you buy it at Sam’s Club ($6.98 + tax for 5 qts.)

Salt, 8 lbs- 4# box at Costco or Sam’s Club is a dollar; $ .16 per month, $2 per year.

Legumes, 60 lbs– the cannery sells black beans, pinto, and white, from $14.10 to $16.30 for 25 lbs.  Averaging the prices, it’s  $2.99 a month, $35.92 per year.

Water, 14/gal/person-   You can store this for free by using 2- and 3- liter pop bottles, or juice containers (not milk jugs- they break down).  Or use the 5-gallons square jugs or big blue barrels; they’ll run you about $1 per gallon of storage. 

When you’re done storing these items, you might decide to add a few ‘gourmet’ items- but that’s just extra stuff.

Notice that the costs were just for food, not containers to store them in. Most of my storage containers cost nothing.   You CAN get buckets for free, with a little effort- most bakeries give them away; all their frostings and fillings come in those buckets.  Plan on washing them at home.  There are two main sizes; 5 gallon and 2 1/2  gallon.  I keep packages of dried fruit in the smaller buckets, also cornmeal or other things that I don’t use as much.  They are a great size for a pantry, too.  Some of the buckets have gaskets, some don’t.  The ones that don’t seal well are still good for storing sugar. 

If you want all your wheat, powdered milk, sugar, and legumes in #10 cans from the cannery, it will cost you $85.83 more to get a full year’s worth, $65 to do 9 months' worth.

Here’s the year’s worth breakdown and quantities:    51 cans of wheat $137.80, 11 cans of beans $48.95, 10 cans of sugar $46.50, 4 cans of powdered milk $28.20.

 I don’t can my wheat, sugar, or beans because we go through large quantities; one batch of bread would use a whole can.  Pretty silly storage for me.  Besides, it’s easier for me to find space for 10 buckets than 60 #10 cans; they hold about  the same amount of food.


Best Drop Biscuits
 adapted from Cooks Country
Makes 12

 1 cube butter, melted and cooled a few minutes- set aside 1 Tbsp. of this.
1 cup cold buttermilk or sour milk  (1-2 Tbsp. vinegar in 1 cup regular milk)
2 c. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½  tsp. salt  (3/4 tsp. if you used unsalted butter)
1 tsp. sugar

 Heat oven to 475 degrees, no, that’s not a typo.  Mix together the butter (except reserved) and buttermilk; stir until the butter forms clumps.  (This is a faster way of getting the same results as ‘cutting in’ the butter.)  Mix all the dry ingredients together, then pour in buttermilk mixture.  Stir until just mixed in and dough pulls from side of bowl.   Drop onto  greased or parchment-lined cookie sheet.  A greased  ¼ c. measuring cup makes the perfect size scoop.    Brush with reserved butter.  Bake until tops are crisp and golden, about 12-14 minutes.    Serve warm.  These also reheat well the next day (10 minutes at 300 degrees) and freeze well, too.

You can use powdered milk in this: mix in 3 Tbsp dry milk powder when you’re stirring together the dry ingredients.  Use ice water  and 1-2 Tbsp. vinegar to make 1 cup, stir with the melted butter.