Saturday, October 29, 2011

Deciding Which Foods to Stock

Hopefully you have some canned foods you made when fruits and veggies were plentiful earlier in the year.

         Winter is coming. Here in the American South, it is unusual for there to be snow fall prior to our Halloween, but today, particularly in the vicinity of Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains, there was. Autumn seems ahead of schedule this year with trees orange, red and gold in a manner which would be expected closer to November's end.  This should come as a resounding reminder to ready for winter.  Ready cars for ice and snow, ready livestock and other animals for cold and precipitation, and as they did in the Great Depression and in other years too, if they were smart, lay in a good winter food supply.   I have already made sure that all farm structures are winter ready and the animals should fare well, and I already have the hay and the feed for a winter which seems inexplicably severe, simply from the air.
          Now we turn our attention to the food stores which must be put away for human beings. What you stock, and how much you stock depends on a myriad of factors.   If you are moving in January, then you will stock things which are likely to be consumed by then, so as not to be moving more than is necessary.  If you live in an apartment, then your stocks must be space efficient.  If you have heated food storage space, then different things will need to be stored than if you do not.  Your nation will also dictate somewhat what is stored.   In the US for example, peanut butter is considered a staple food.  High in protein, calories and fat for satiety value, it's useful in sandwiches and also in Christmas cookies.  In England, it has caught on with many.  In Canada, it has its admirers.  In Russia however, it remains very much an acquired taste and many people haven't developed a love for peanut butter.  It also is a food which has its share of allergy sufferers and therefore, it should probably be stocked with caution.    Rice and beans, when stored in sealed containers safe from insects, can be a good long term storage food.  Tinned foods, as long as attention is paid to their salt content, can also be a good group of foods to stock.  What you stock is going to depend upon your likes and dislikes, what you have in terms of money to spend, what your special food needs are, if any, and where you are in the world.   Here are some ideas.

    Dried          Rice          Beans         Corn  (Maize) Meal           Various grains,   wheat,  hominy  barley

    oats, and rye etc.    

etc.          Varietal pastas, including whole wheat varieties

  Canned       Meats :     chicken,    ham,     beef,        vegetables       fruit       soups    tinned cheeses

   Beverages        tea      coffee cocoa        dried soups        some granulated drinks with sugar

  If you are near a bakery, or bakery discount shop,  breads of many types freeze very well, often for months
 and can be quickly resurrected in a warm oven, whether toasted or not.   These breads can be wonderful for soup, garlic toasts, as panini, or other fried sandwiches or made as croutons for salads and soups.

  Cheeses freeze well also, although texture is unquestionably impacted.

Eggs can also be frozen for future use.     It is also possible to buy whole powdered eggs or egg whites
which can be advantageous to some.

Homemade macaroni and cheese can be a filling dinner, especially with a salad.

Soups are a very versatile, soothing and filling lunch or dinner.  Your family should keep a listing of favorite soups.  Ours is a homemade tomato chili soup, with French bread.
          It's time to stock extra food for interruptions in service and for shortages, wherever you are.  Whenever possible, buy things you know you like, that you will be happy consuming. Try new foods cautiously, but by all means try them.  As food shortages begin to occur, we are likely to need to broaden our dietary horizons and begin to incorporate new foods. Why not make those foods, new healthier ones.

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