Here are 4 ways to improve your food storage and to cook with fear of food shortage

How can we improve our food storage when the stores are almost empty. There are packs of toilet paper flying off the shelves at the grocery store. It’s even been hard to find a bunch of bananas! Everyone at the store seems to be in a rush to take home as much as they can carry and afford. I understand their fear, I have the same knot in my stomach. But there are ways we can do this without hurting others. We don’t need to panic even though that seems to be the first thing we all want to do. Our lives here in the United States have been relatively easy for most of us – if not very easy. The thought of the store down the road not having what we need when we walk in is a scary one. What do we do if our favorite restaurant forced to be closed? What if we’re freaking out because we eat out for most of our meals?

It will be We can do this. We can really prepare our storage without the conveniences that we have all been spoiled with. I’ll give you some tips to maybe ease your mind and help you with cooking too.

1. Evaluate your pantry/freezer/refrigerator storage

Remember, most of us are used to shopping for at least a week at a time and more often two weeks. Most of the time we don’t even eat everything in the house in those two weeks. So you already have reserves you didn’t think about. You can use a pantry inventory form like this to write everything down that is in your stores. It might seem daunting at first but as you get started you’ll see that isn’t too much trouble. Write everything down. Be sure to write down spices, baking powder, etc. You may need to know those items as well as you look through recipes. Divide the items into categories such as baking, canned food, proteins, dry goods, frozen, fresh fruit/vegetables, etc. This way you can see what you have. Your food storage looks better than you thought, right? Now lets see what you need.

2. Hunt for recipes to improve your cooking

Even if you are not used to cooking very much, you can follow a recipe. Yes you can! If you’re reading this, you can read a recipe. Search for some that sound appetizing to you. Of course, if it doesn’t sound good to you, you won’t enjoy cooking the food. Also, search for recipes that don’t have a long list of ingredients or items you have never heard of or never tasted before. This is not the time to try things you don’t know that you like. It’s also not a good time to hunt for uncommon food items. Finally, find recipes that don’t have too many steps or with steps that need to be completed while something else is cooking. Unless something is simmering slowly on the stove or baking for awhile, don’t try those recipes. This is when things can become very confusing or too involved. Now make list of the items you need for your recipes and items that will fill some empty areas in your stores.

3. Shopping for your recipes and food storage

During this coronavirus outbreak may be a very hard time to find items at the store. I know this. Some of the things we need won’t be there. You can remain calm because you can have back up recipes. Normally, I would recommend finding recipes with items that can be used to make several different recipes. This can make things easier but that might not be possible now. Have your list and recipes with you so that you can see what your missing item is and reevaluate your plan.

Remember that dry beans of any kind are easy to make and go with everything. They are also inexpensive as is rice and can be cooked as a meal in themselves. If cooking rice doesn’t usually go well for you and you don’t have a rice cooker or a pressure cooker, then you can get pasta. Also, if you can’t find dry pasta, you may find it in the refrigerator or frozen section. However, keep in mind that anything in its dry form such as beans, pasta, and rice will keep much longer and can be kept in the pantry (what I would recommend) instead of the refrigerator/freezer.

4. Shop for extra food storage

As you shop for your recipes, this would be a good time to grab a few extra items. So if you need one can of tomatoes, for instance, for a recipe then buy 4 cans. That way you can make that recipe at least 4 times. If you make it once a week then you have a months worth of items for that recipe. If you don’t do that, then you will have extra cans for other things or to keep in storage. I do this for almost every item I need unless it’s a perishable item. If there are items you use often, for instance, we use tortillas for a lot of different recipes as well as snacks, then buy extra for your food storage. If you can afford to buy a couple of extra items every time you shop your storage will build quickly. When my kids were young it was hard to keep extra items in the house. They would eat everything! I found a corner in the garage to place extra items and it was off limits. This wasn’t a place to put chips and snacks Not only do they not store well but that was just asking for them to raid the storage! But it was easier for them if they could see that some things were saved for emergencies and others meant to be used currently. Remember though, if you do this, your items will need to be rotated regularly.

Once you can see what you have in your food storage, it’s so much easier to relax in hard times. Keep building your pantry with the items that will store long term. I hope this helps you to find peace in the confidence that you can feed your family and have a plan for the future.