I don't think there would be much that I would like better in terms of food storage than a year's supply worth of basically ready-to-eat meals in the form of boxes, cans, and mres with far-off expiration dates and directions that included little more than to add water and heat. Don't get me wrong--I do have some canned food, some boxed food, and some mres, but not enough to last for a year. And even if I did have that much, I would see some things wrong with the equation, such as:
1) When/if I have to rely solely on my food storage, if I have decided to store only food with the above description, the only thing that I will be able to do is to watch my food storage supply go down, down, down. That would be fine if the emergency situation that dictated such use was guaranteed to last for only a year, followed by the guarantee that I would then be able to replenish my supplies again. In life there are no such guarantees--so watching my food storage go down without the ability to build it up again would cause me major stress. (Perhaps you have gathered by reading my blog that I can be a bit of a worrier.... :)
2)Eating only processed foods can't be the healthiest thing in the world for you anyway. I'm no nutritionist, but from what I understand, fresh fruit and vegetables and food made from scratch using your staples would most likely lead to better health in the long run. So convenience is nice, but good health trumps convenience by a mile.
So, I've been trying to learn/do things that will allow me to perpetuate my storage, because I would like it to last and last and last.... and one of those things is to grow things in my garden. You can't always rely on the weather, however, and the cold weather in our area this year caused some real damage to our crops. Combine that with my "worry" factor, and you'll see why I was unable to use my pumpkins this year for food. (Oh, I hated to write that--you have noooo idea how much I have not looked forward to writing that.) I've only used them for decoration before, and this year, really only "most likely", pictured in previous posts, got to be a somewhat regular hue of orange, with relatively little other damage. I was afraid to use the pumpkins that had green rinds, so those were out. Then there were some bug marks (I assume) that marred some of the others, and I didn't know what was safe and what was not. So I went to plan B.
On Saturday I went to the local national chainstore and purchased 3 pumpkins at $1.00/apiece, guesstimated by my husband to weigh 10-15 lbs. each. Then last night, I went back to this post on Johnson Family Farm, (I hope they don't mind that I keep linking to them--their step-by-step directions with pictures was what motivated me to go buy the pumpkins in the first place) and followed the directions for pumpkin puree. I was so excited to get started that I didn't reread it before we started, and I forgot to put water in with the pumpkin, so after we started doing that it went much smoother. What I didn't expect was how much time it took --it was easy, just time-consuming. We had the children help clean out the seeds, etc., (except for one, who apparently cannot stand the smell of raw pumpkin) and then started the rounds in the microwave. My husband actually did most of it, as it cut into bedtime and everything else, but in the end we did a quick pumpkin soup with a cup of the puree and have a large bag of pumpkin puree in the refrigerator. We didn't want to freeze it until we figured out a couple of recipes that we could use it with, and then freeze it in appropriate amounts to use later. So, if you have easy recipes that you're willing to share, please do... :) The pumpkin soup we made was ok, but kind of sweet, and we didn't think it would be a winner with the kids, so we probably won't repeat that one.
Ok, so my attempt to perpetuate my food storage by growing my own food was kind of stymied this year. If it had been a real emergency, I would have found out just how much of those pumpkins I really would use. So what is my (somewhat rambling) point? I need to be able to renew and perpetuate my food storage, not just use it up. I have non-hybrid seeds in storage, and I plan to increase the size of my garden next year. Canned food, boxed food, and mres are wonderful, wonderful, wonderful, but they are one-time-use products. Emergency situations can be of unforeseen duration, so we all need a plan B when it comes to making sure that our food storage will last. Gardening is one way to supplement/perpetuate our food storage so that it will go on and on and on.... Growing, harvesting, and preparing it is a lot more work than the other types of food storage, but the effort is worth it.
One pumpkin down, two to go. Special thanks to the folks at Johnson Family Farm for directions even I wouldn't worry about.... :)