Wednesday, November 14, 2012

BY #7: A repeat, and why you may not have as much food storage as you think

My BY for today: A can of evaporated milk

If I were adding anything to go along with this, it would be: Canned fruit.

Yes, this a repeat of my BY #2, and one of the reasons is to highlight the fact that sometimes we think we have a lot of food storage, but it may not last as long as we might think/hope. If I may illustrate:

Let's pretend, for our hypothetical situation, that the group that we need to plan storage for is a family of four. How quickly, really, can you go through those precious cans?

Day 1: You are going to have canned fruit and evaporated milk for breakfast. (Fortunately, you have also remembered to store a manual can opener, thus avoiding even more emergencies in an emergency situation... :)

Let's say that you can get by with two cans of evaporated milk between the four people. Let's say also that you figure that you will eat half a can of peaches each, and call it good, thus using four cans total. Yay for peaches and cream!

Or, using the same amount of milk, since you have decided to store mandarin oranges, you are having oranges and cream. It's all good, but what size can of mandarin oranges have you stored? If it is a small size, you may find that the group you are feeding needs a can a piece to feel at least partially satisfied with the breakfast. If you have stored the larger size, you may be able to just divide two cans between the four people.

In either case, it's not exactly a hearty breakfast, but it is breakfast, with no cooking involved and some healthy components.

Hence, for breakfast, you will need at the least 4 cans, and possibly even 6 cans.

By lunchtime, everyone is hungry. If you have two adults and two small children, you may be able to get by with a regular size can of beefaroni/canned pasta of your storage choice per adult, and then divide a can of beefaroni between the children. If the children are growing and voracious eaters, they might be able to manage an entire can each by themselves after their peaches/mandarin oranges and cream breakfast. If you open up a can of fruit juice to go along with lunch, that adds another can.

So, for lunch, you will need at least 3 cans if you are eating only, 4 cans if you add juice in that scenario, and 5 cans for hungry people who each eat their own can of pasta and also need some good vitamin-filled juice.

For dinner, you decide to use some of your limited fuel and get some warm food going. This means that you can throw, let's say, two cans of cream of chicken soup in a pan, enough bottled water to make it soup, and a small can of chicken. You want to throw some vegetables in, so you throw in your choice of peas/beans/corn/other vegetable--one can. Let's say that you also have some noodles on hand, so ta-da! A casserole of sorts. So in terms of cans, you need at least 4 cans to make this casserole happen, even not mentioning the noodles that would add oh-so-much-more to the experience.

I personally would not want to eat cream of chicken type soup cold, but as one of my friends used to say, "A girl's gotta eat..." It would be preferable, I would imagine, to eat ready-to-eat soups, such as chicken noodle, cold, if one had to. In that case, you would need a can a piece for the adults, and perhaps one can between two small children, and a can a piece for children who have heartier appetites. So, 3 at least, with no heat source, and 4 at most.

Final tally, least amount of cans needed for 4 people for one day, using this scenario: 10
Final tally, using the highest number of cans mentioned in this scenario: 15

Soooo...if you are storing the equivalent of a can a day for emergency purposes, consider sizes of the cans, since some (such as the fruit) come in different sizes. Think about how you would actually put together meals with the cans you buy. Would you have enough to get by? At 53 cans, (which is the plan if you do all the BYs in this series) you would have about 5 days worth of food stored for four people. 53 cans sounds like a lot, but when you get right down to it, those cans can go awfully fast...

Please bear in mind that I am doing this series with emergencies like natural disasters in mind, where it may take time for aid to get to you, and there are power and/or water problems as well. This would be a short-term situation, hopefully, and most likely quite miserable, but I am sure it would be even more miserable should you have no readily edible food on hand at all...

I 'm doing cans in this series because they can have quite a long shelf life, and the emergency may not be as dire as a natural disaster.  The emergency that presents itself may be one of prices going up, a job loss, or food transportation problem with trucking, etc. In that case, you would still have power, and being able to cook things makes things a lot, lot, lot easier.

Also, if you had an emergency with no power, etc., that would be a great time to use your 72 hour kit. Emergencies don't tell time, however, and if the emergency situation were to extend beyond that 3 day time period, the cans you store here might really come in helpful.

Whew, that was long-winded. Look forward to shorter posts--they usually are. :) Would love to hear how you will put your cans to use meal-wise, if you are willing to share....


TM Frugal Gourmet said...

I think you just opened a can of worms! Ha ha

So we eat or rotate our food storage everyday. During an emergency, my kids don't realize it food wise as we eat food storage daily.

My daughter is anaphylactic to corn, so I cook everything from scratch. I make our canned goods to ensure her food safety.

Store what you eat and Eat what you store.

Breakfasts here range from hot oats or farina, biscuits and gravy, eggs, bread pudding, pancakes... You get the idea. BUT I grind all my own grains to make all purpose flour and bread flour. (Food storage) and the kids help grind the grains.

Lunches: soups, leftovers, sandwiches (I make the bread)

Dinner: something is out of a jar, usually chicken stock cooked with something. Or home canned meat.

I have found that home canning my convenience foods saves us a lot of money.

Marie said...

TM Frugal Gourmet--I couldn't agree with you more--if what you eat when you are eating storage is what you are already used to eating, you are really successful at incorporating storage, and in your case, healthy storage. Don't be surprised if this comment comes up in a post--thanks for taking the time to comment!