This month focus on gathering oils, honey and my personal favorite, chocolate. Watch for sales.
It's important that you store your oil properly. It should not be stored in a garage where temperatures fluctuate. Unopened vegetable oil has a 1-year shelf life, though it can be stored longer if temperatures are cooler. Once opened the shelf-life is 4 - 6 months, so it's a good idea to write the date you open it on the outside of the bottle. Olive oil has about a 6 month shelf life, but can be stored for a year in a refrigerator. Each should be stored in a dark location or closed cupboard. To avoid using rancid oil, always smell and taste it before using.
Honey can be stored almost indefinitely. However, over time it does crystallize and become lumpy. But it can be softened in warm water (not boiling water). It is best kept at temperatures between 70 to 80 degrees away from sunlight. Cooler temperatures speed up the crystallization process.
Chocolate is definitely a comfort food for me. Chocolate chips should be used within 18 - 24 months in a cool dry place, 65 to 68 degrees. I store mine in the freezer, and have never had problems using them. However, they do absorb odors and should not be stored near pungent odors.
If you are looking for something to add to your Christmas wish list, a wheat grinder or other preparedness items may be a good choice.
The December List (click for printable copy)
STEP 1: 3-Month FOOD STORAGE SUPPLY - Oils, Honey and Chocolate
(Suggested amounts are for 1 adult)
CL = case lot sale, WM = Super Walmart, LDS = available at LDS Home Storage centers
SC = Sam's Club, CC = Costco, MC = Macey's
LT 30 YR= Long Term shelf life if stored properly. Consider storing a year's supply of these items.
1. Decide on a monthly food storage budget
2. Choose a few items from the list that you want to focus on
3. Multiply list amounts by # of family members. Adjust amounts and items for younger children
4. Each week look at your grocery store ads for items on sale that match your goals
5. Carry your list with you, or put it on your cell phone notepad
FOOD ITEMS (About $25 per adult if you shop on sale)
Vegetable Oil 24 oz. (12/19 WM GV 48 oz. $2.36) choose size based on how quickly you use it.
Olive Oil 12 oz. (12/19 WM GV 23 oz. $5.92 or SC 68 oz. $11.98 or CC 2/68 oz. $22.99)
Shortening 1.5 lbs. (12/19 Crisco 3 lb WM $5.36 or Crisco 3 sticks/1.25 lb. WM $3.24)
Cooking Spray 4 oz. (12/19 Pam SC 2/8oz. $4.49 or CC 2/12 oz. $6.89)
Chocolate Chips 12 oz. bag (12/19 Nestle 72 oz. SC $9.88 or CC $9.79)
Baking Cocoa 4 oz. (12/19 Hershey's 23 oz. SC $6.73 or CC $5.99)
Vitamins 90 ct btl. (use coupons)
Vanilla 4 oz. (12/19 SC or CC 16 oz. $6.75 real or MC 32 oz. .99 imitation)
Candy 1 bag (hide it)
Honey 2 1/2 lbs. LT (12/19 SC 5 lb. $11.40 or CC 6 lb. $13.99)
NON-FOOD ITEMS (per family)
Razors (use coupons)
72-HOUR KIT (per person)
EMERGENCY SUPPLIES (per family)
Hand or Electric wheat grinder
Batteries (SC or CC best prices)
AUTO EMERGENCY KIT (per auto)
STEP 2: DRINKING WATER
Store a 2-Week Supply of drinking water, which is about 14 gallons per person. If you've already started this, continue to add to your supply. For drinking, that is about 4x24 ct. cases of 16.9 oz. bottles per person. You may need more for hygiene and cooking which you can store in other containers. Always keep stocked up on water. You can't live without it.
STEP 3: FINANCIAL RESERVE
Each week add some money to an emergency fund. Decide on a do-able amount and set up weekly transfers from checking to savings. Or put aside your loose change in a jar. Whichever way you choose to save, use it only for emergencies.
1. Food Storage Inventory (wait until after Christmas :)
2. Food Storage gift shopping (for family)