Monday, October 6, 2008

Grocery Shopping- Survival Style

Grocery shopping. I don't know about you, but it brings a chorus of moans and groans from the occupants of my house. Personally, I don't hate it that much. I find myself to be a bit of an anti-social type when it comes to crowds, but I can deal with it.
Shopping with an eye towards Survivalism can make a trip to the store more interesting. This Sunday, I purchased around $200 of groceries, with approximately $70 of the total being specifically designated for storage. Here is what I found and a few helpful tips for each item:
1. Spaghetti Sauce-
I typically purchase the large family sized sauce. I prefer cans for safety. Glass jars are more apt to break if dropped, or stacked improperly. Cans also keep sunlight out, which degrades the contents. At .92 cents to $1.50 each, these are a no brainer. I normally buy several each time I go to the store, then rotate any older cans from the storage shelves to the "Usable Food Pantry". I prefer regular sauce without meat. It stays viable for a longer period of time. In the event of an emergency, I would add either freeze-dried meat or beans for protein. Canned onions and garlic (both grown in our onsite garden) would add more flavor, and I try to keep several extra spice mixes sealed in glass or plastic jars for dishes we eat on a regular basis.
2. Pasta-
Bought in small amounts and stored in plastic bins with snap lids, pasta keeps for a long time. I keep several varieties on hand to break the monotony. Goes well with spaghetti sauce, or cheese sauce made from powdered milk and freeze-dried cheese.
3. Hamburger Helper-
Easy and tasty, with freeze-dried beef or chicken added. I take the contents out of the box, cut out the label and cooking directions and vacuum seal it all in a plastic bag. It keeps longer, comes out fresher and discourages pests from dining before we do. Again, older stock is rotated and used on a regular basis.
4. Dried Potatoes-
Boxed mixes for mashed or scalloped potatoes, or mashed sweet potatoes. Make sure you have powdered milk and canned or powdered butter to make them. Add a packet of gravy mix before you seal them just like the Hamburger Helper. Set aside some brown sugar for the sweet potatoes!
5. Single Use Drink Mixes-
Made for 12 or 16 ounce water bottles in a variety of flavors. In the event we have to use our stored water, it may taste flat from sitting for a long period of time, or have a chemical taste from water purifiers or chlorine bleach. The flavored mixes will mask this. Packs of 10 were 5 for $5. Not a bad deal. Sealed in foil packets, they keep well.
6. Oatmeal-
Both bulk, unflavored minute oats and single serving flavored packets. These are reconstituted with only water, and for the bulk oats, condensed milk and brown sugar can be added to make excellent comfort food! They keep well, but consider vacuum sealing to keep pests out.
7. Beans and rice-
Several varieties, packaged for bulk sale. This is a Survival no brainer. Easy to prepare with just water and providing protein and carbs, this is good stuff! As with anything bulk, vacuum sealing is an option.
Keep it simple and tasty!
By augmenting your freeze-dried/dehydrated survival foods with the above items, you can feed your family in a way that is safe, nutritious and comforting. In hard times, sitting down to a hearty, warm meal of familiar foods might just be the small pleasure that sustains you.

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