Below are helpful food storage tips:
- Buy what you eat: Make a list of foods and ingredients you use most often and start building your food storage around these items. Having a supply of common ingredients ensures that you will use the food and not let things go to waste.
- Shop grocery store sales and use coupons: Utilizing the list of your common ingredients and favorite foods, buy extra of these items when they go on sale or you have coupons. Building your food storage by picking up sale items, helps ensure you do not go over your monthly food budget while slowly building your supply.
- Foods to stock up on: Canned or frozen fruits, vegetables, or meat; pasta, baking ingredients such as flour, sugar, and cornmeal; pasta sauce, soups, dried herbs and seasonings, canned or dried beans, cereal, condiments such as peanut butter, jelly, and mayo and any other freezable or non-perishable foods your family enjoys.
- Don’t forget water: A supply of water is critical for those natural disaster emergencies when water might be contaminated or on short supply. It is recommended to have at least one gallon of water per person per day for two weeks.
- Storing your food: Keep track of your supply and rotate food often. Properly store your pantry goods, keeping the food in a cool dry place off the ground and in tightly sealed plastic containers or tin cans. Most pantry items will keep for one year or to the expiration date on the package. Frozen food should be wrapped tightly in freezer safe packaging, with frozen fruit and veggies keeping for about one year and meat for six months.
The couscous salad below uses pantry staples, making it the perfect recipe to use food storage essentials!
Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 10 minutes Serves: 4
1 cup couscous
1 1/4 cup water
3 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoon lime juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped (or 1 teaspoon dried cilantro)
1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
2 (15.0 ounce can) black beans, drained
1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper, to taste
Bring water to a boil in a 2 quart or larger sauce pan and stir in the couscous. Cover the pot and remove from heat. Let stand for 5 minutes. In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lime juice, cumin, and chili powder. Add cilantro, corn and beans and toss to coat. Fluff the couscous well, breaking up any chunks. Add to the bowl with the vegetables and mix well. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve at once or refrigerate until ready to serve.
Chef Heather Hunsaker attended and graduated from Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts, but has been developing family friendly meals since she was nine years old in her mother’s kitchen. She is an avid crockpotter and knows how to get food on the table in a pinch. She currently serves as a writer and recipe developer for meal planning site www.foodonthetable.com.