Saturday, December 18, 2010

Food Storage Questionnaire

Happy New Year! (in advance!)
I have a resolution for everyone out there!  And yes, it has to do with building your food storage!
Need help figuring out where to get started?
 Try filling this out!
(Copy and Paste this post into a word document or print it out):

Do you have at least a 3 day supply of fresh drinking water for each member of your family?  (1 gallon per person per day)
Y  /  N

How often do you go grocery shopping?
  -  Do you go that often out of necessity? (you don’t have enough items at home)  Or out of preference? (you prefer fresh ingredients)
  -  Do you regularly (once a week) make trips to the store to pick up single items? (ie: milk, random ingredient, etc..)
    Y  /  N
  -  What food items do you continually buy on a weekly/monthly basis: (ie: milk)

          - Do you have extras / replacements for all of these items?
Y  /  N
  -  If going to the store wasn’t an option, do you have recipes (and necessary ingredients) to make things yourself?  Ie: Bread
Y  /  N

Which of the following best describes your current food storage?
          A: Foods and/or ingredients that you regularly eat
          B: Convenience Foods: canned soups, Raman, crackers, granola bars, etc.
          C: Specialty Items: dehydrated, powdered, freeze dried, frozen, canned, etc.
          D: Non-food: Cash savings, seeds for planting a garden, etc.
          E: Long Term Staples: wheat, rice, dried beans/legumes, etc.
          F: Survival Foods: ie: “we could live off of that”
  -  Does your food storage contain all of the above items?

Y  /  N
  -  Do you regularly consume or rotate through ALL items in your food storage?
Y  /  N
  -  Do you know how to prepare ALL of the food in your storage?
Y  /  N
  -  Do you have the necessary equipment to maximize the use of food in your storage? Ie: wheat grinder, bread pans, etc.
Y  /  N
  -  Have you ever done a “test run” with your food storage?  Ie: no grocery shopping for 1 month.
Y  /  N
Do you have a 3 month supply of regularly consumed food for you and your family?
Y  /  N  /  Unknown
  -  Do you know specifically how much food (and what types) your family needs for 3 months?  If so, how do you know?
Y  /  N

If something were to happen to you, does another member of your family/household know how to maximize your storage?  Ie: do they know where food is located, which items to use first, how to prepare specific foods, etc. 
Y  / N
  -  If so, where is all of that information kept?

If you answered 'NO' to any of these questions (except the one with the star underneath), that is an area where you can improve.  And in my opinion the priorities go from the top of the questionnaire to the bottom:

At least a 3 day supply of water.
This one is easy.  One case (24 pack) of water bottles equals 3 gallons of water.  That's enough water for 1 person for 3 days.  So, buy yourself a case for each member living at home and you are good to go.

Grocery Shopping:
This section is more for making you aware of your current situation than anything.
For example, you can't expect to have a 3 month supply of food if you can't make it 2 weeks without going to the grocery store.  Having a well stocked pantry comes well before having a 3 month supply.  (Check back next week for what a well stocked pantry consists of).

Some of the first things that should be included in your food storage are items that replace commonly purchased foods.  Milk and bread are pretty standard foods found in every home - but do you have replacements (ingredients and/or recipes) for these items?

Describe your Food Storage:
Does your storage include all of the options above?  Ideally, it should.  However, the priorities are once again listed in order.  Foods that you regularly consume should be purchased before 'long term staples' and 'survival foods'.

Using your Storage:
This is a no brainer.  If you don't eat it, let alone know how to make it, you shouldn't be storing it.
If you already have it stored away, you need to learn how to use it, and that includes getting the necessary equipment.

Test Run:
In my opinion this was the hardest step in preparing my food storage.  But it was also the step that taught me the most.  You can never know what you are going to miss, how you are going to adapt without it, and what types of items you are going to have too much of until you do a test run.

It will also help you understand what it takes to make a REALISTIC food plan.  Not grocery shopping for at least a month will give you a much better idea of what your family actually needs vs. wants, what foods you will consume more of (in our case it was bread), and will seriously give you a glimpse into how fast your food runs out.

Here are a few things I learned from my first test run:
I didn't have nearly as much food as I thought I did.
I wanted each type of food in several different forms: dehydrated, frozen, canned and fresh.
I was seriously lacking in the meat and pasta department.
I had way too many condiments, without anything to put them on.
I wanted a lot more fresh foods that had a longer shelf life; like potatoes, onions, carrots, winter squash, etc.

I learned that kids are resilient: they soon got over the fact that there were no more fruit snacks, candy bars or crackers.  We ran out of all kinds of processed foods, and we ended up not missing them.

I learned that there is a recipe for EVERYTHING, and with a few ingredients you can make a huge variety of food.  Which is not only healthier, but it tastes better and saves you a ton of money.
There are countless items that I no longer purchase, and several that I choose to make myself now.

Most importantly:
I felt (to a very small degree) what it would be like not to be able to feed my kids.
 That fact alone is the number one reason why I am passionate about food storage.

Do you have a 3 Month Supply?:
More importantly, do you have a plan?  How are you sure that you have all of the food that you need?
You can start by checking this post on how to get a 3 month supply, or
this post will tell you how to calculate certain foods so you know how much to get.

Another thing to consider:
Other People
If something were to happen to you, how would your family know what to do with everything that you have done in terms of food storage and emergency preparedness?
Do they know how to prepare things?
Do they know where food is?
Do they know which items need to be used first?
Where is all of that information?

I am currently working on putting everything together into a 3 ring binder.  It will include:
- Our 1 year supply menu: one meal for everyday of the year, breakfast, lunch, dinner, desserts and snacks; complete with recipes, and exactly what types of foods (dehydrated, fresh, frozen, etc. should be used for each meal).
- An Inventory Spreadsheet: which will show how much of every item is needed in order to have enough food for the above menu plan.
- A spreadsheet that describes Food Storage Conditions and Shelf Life (how to best store each type of food and how long it lasts).
- Ingredient Substitution List and Equivalency Charts
- Good Buy for Groceries Chart: which lists the food item, which stores to purchase it at, and a price that I never pay more than.

Lets be honest, most of those items are for me - but having them conveniently located in one place could be a huge stress reliever if your family was facing an emergency without you.
(And yes, all of these things I will be posting soon).

Just some things to think about.


  1. Thank you for the information you have posted about food storage survey, this will help me on keep my food in the right storage.

  2. Thanks for sharing! Always appreciate the topic. I took the liberty of forwarding it on Twitter. Hope that is OK.

  3. Thank you for all the great information! I too am passionate about food storage. I think of my children--if they were to be in a "starving" situation and I could have done something to prevent it I would never forgive myself. And not 'till I read in this post does someone else know how to use the food storage if something were to happen to me, I had never thought of that before. Just another good reason to have ready meals on hand, just boil water meals. If you are interested in trying some go to
    I really like them. Just wanted to pass information on to let more people now the options out there. Thanks again!

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