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Food Safety: Keeping Food Fresh Ideas relating to canning all types of foods, can also cover freezing for preservation, long term storage, avoiding spoilage and other safety concerns.

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Old 02-10-2002, 01:51 PM
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Food Storage For Beginners

From the USDA......

Food Storage for Beginners

Develop a Home Storage Mindset

If you're new to food storage, first prepare by developing a food storage mindset. It's easy to think of lots of reasons why we can't get our food storage started; but we have to remind ourselves that ANY food item that is stored for later use (tomorrow, next week, next year, or years from now) is food storage. In that context, the canned vegetables and packages of pasta in your kitchen cupboard are part of your food storage.

Start Simply

Don't begin your food storage focus with the compulsion to obtain a year's supply of food storage immediately. Start your food storage plan by determining what food items you use regularly that could be bought ahead and stored for future use.

Store What You Will Use

Examine the shelf life of food items your family uses. That will help you to estimate how much you can store. You can only store as much as your family will use before the shelflife of the food item runs out (stored at proper temperature and under proper circumstances in adequate food grade containers, without oxygen if appropriate.)

Back to Basics

You may be able to save money with your food storage by using "back to basics" techniques such as grinding your own grains, sprouting seeds, growing garden vegetables, home canning, etc. Whole grains store well for many years and can be purchased inexpensively in bulk. If your family is not accustomed to eating whole-grain foods, you will need to increase the amount of whole-grains in your diet slowly to allow the body to adjust to the fiber increase. Whole dried herbs can also be purchased in bulk inexpensively. You can grind your herbs with a coffee grinder or mortar and pestle.

Label Carefully

As you package a food item for storage, be sure to label the container plainly with the name of the food item and date it is packed. Place your labels so that you will still be able to see them when containers are stacked or shelved.

Rotate, Rotate, ROTATE!

The MOST IMPORTANT thing I can tell you about food storage is that it is necessary to ROTATE your storage. That means that you use the container that's been stored the longest and replace it with newer stored containers behind the older ones. If you are storing items that you never use, you are wasting space that could be used for food items you need. Food storage that spoils or lies untouched is garbage. Don't fill your home with garbage. Fill your home with precious healthy food storage that will be a blessing to you and your family on a regular basis and in times of need.

Food Storage is NOT Just for Emergencies

Food storage is not something we set aside for an emergency, although it is a great blessing in such a time. Food storage is a plan for living better, buying less expensively, preserving foods we grow ourselves, developing a healthier lifestyle, and learning ways to use our storage for household uses and natural healing.

Keep Food Storage on Your Mind

As you begin to focus on your home storage, keep your storage in mind as you shop, clip coupons, and browse newspapers for sales. When you find tomato sauce on sale, stock up on enough for a month or two. When canned vegetables are on sale, buy enough for a variety of canned goods in your storage. Pasta, oil, and beans keep well; so store enough for two or three months. As your pantry fills, you will begin to develop an idea of what you want to add to your storage, and you'll keep that in mind as you shop and plan your gardening.

Plan Ahead When Buying in Bulk

When you begin to buy in bulk, you will need to plan ahead to make sure that you have all the containers and equipment you will need for your storage. Reusable containers can be a blessing for those who plan to continue their storage as a way of life.

Tailor Guides for Short-Term Basic Storage and Long-Term Extended Storage

As you develop a home storage mindset, you can devise a plan for short-term basic storage and for long-term extended storage. Food storage guides are meant to be used as general guidelines that can be tailored to your family's needs that serve to give you a better overall picture of home storage. Food storage buying guides generally lay out a plan to obtain a year's supply of food storage with monthly or weekly goals; but these, too, should be tailored to your family's needs. For example, if everyone in your family is allergic to oats, a large supply of oats would be a waste for you. Substitute a similar food item that your family could put to use; such as barley, rice, or quinoa.

Set a Goal, Devise a Plan, and Obtain Your Storage

Set a goal, devise a plan, and obtain the storage you desire. For example, you might begin with a goal to obtain a month's supply of food storage. You might plan to purchase items such as staples, canned goods, dry milk, and pasta, making a chart of how much of each item you will need to store. As you make your grocery purchases over the next month, buy twice the amount you need of each item (one for this month's use, and another for next month's storage.) Buying on sale, using coupons, and growing your own foods can help to reduce the initial cost of storing foods. You might have to make some adjustments to find money for your storage by cutting back on fast food, eating a "cheap" meal once a week, or fasting for one day a month or more and saving the money you would have spent on food for your storage. You may examine your expenses and find other ways to trim your budget to allow for home storage; such as going out for entertainment one less time a month, giving your own haircuts instead of going to the salon, calling less long-distance, etc. After a few months of storing a month ahead and living off your storage, you will begin to see other ways in which you can obtain your food storage in greater bulk less expensively. You may devise a plan for a 3-month supply, a 6-month supply, a year's supply, etc. as your needs and means permit.

Find Space for Your Storage

As your storage grows, finding storage space can be a challenge. If you are lucky enough to have a root cellar, basement, or spare room with temperature control, you are very blessed. If space is a problem, get creative. Build shelves, store under beds, use an unused corner of a room, store under decorative tables, or store behind couches and other furniture. If you truly have a desire to set aside home storage, there will be a place for your storage.

Make Use of Your Storage

Make use of your food storage and find new uses for it. For example, learn how to use the same herbs as spices for cooking, formulas for healing, and household cleaning. Use salt, vinegar, and baking soda for cooking, healing, and household uses. Learn to grind whole grains and to sprout your grains for fresh sprouts, juices, essene bread, salads, and wheat grass. Proper use of your food storage can help to simplify your life, improve your health, extend your budget, and enlighten your soul.

Put Your Home Storage to the Test

Once you feel confident that your home storage pantry is well-stocked, plan a weekend for your family to put your home storage to the test. Use only your storage to live on for the weekend. For a real emergency preparedness test, turn off the electricity and water, and survive using your alternate sources of heating, cooling, cooking, water, etc. Within the first hour you will think of many things you should have in storage that never occurred to you before. When you live on your food storage, you will become personally aware of the need for a variety of herbs, butter powder, mayonnaise, and a number of things that will make your food storage tastier, more palatable, healthier, and more interesting.

Storage is a Blessing

As you become accustomed to using, rotating, and extending your home storage, you will find that it is a blessing to you and others in many ways. Your home storage is a blessing when your neighbor who has lost a paycheck is in need of groceries, when your loved one who has taken ill needs meals taken to his or her home, when you've run out of commercial cleaners so make your own, when a flood destroys all foods not stored in waterproof containers, when one of the ladies from Church asks if you wouldn't mind making homemade bread for something special, when your friend is in need of a poultice for an insect sting or wound, when power lines are down and refrigerated items spoil, when your father needs an herbal tea for headache or upset stomach, when a natural disaster destroys homes and food, when your child needs a homemade game to keep him occupied through an emergency situation, and, REGULARLY, every time you prepare a meal for yourself or your family using your home storage. Keep the faith, and always move forward prayerfully.
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Old 02-12-2002, 11:13 AM
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Thanks so much, Kimmyo!

This is exactly what I have been considering doing! I have a post in this section about just this subject!

Lots of great information!

Thanks again!
Jenna
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Old 02-12-2002, 06:08 PM
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You are very welcome Jenna! See my post in OAMC for some great web sites for freezing foods also!
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Old 02-16-2002, 05:29 PM
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Question Re: Food Storage For Beginners

Quote:
Originally posted by kimmyo
From the USDA......

Food Storage for Beginners

Develop a Home Storage Mindset

If you're new to food storage, first prepare by developing a food storage mindset. It's easy to think of lots of reasons why we can't get our food storage started; but we have to remind ourselves that ANY food item that is stored for later use (tomorrow, next week, next year, or years from now) is food storage. In that context, the canned vegetables and packages of pasta in your kitchen cupboard are part of your food storage.

Start Simply

Don't begin your food storage focus with the compulsion to obtain a year's supply of food storage immediately. Start your food storage plan by determining what food items you use regularly that could be bought ahead and stored for future use.

Store What You Will Use

Examine the shelf life of food items your family uses. That will help you to estimate how much you can store. You can only store as much as your family will use before the shelflife of the food item runs out (stored at proper temperature and under proper circumstances in adequate food grade containers, without oxygen if appropriate.)

Back to Basics

You may be able to save money with your food storage by using "back to basics" techniques such as grinding your own grains, sprouting seeds, growing garden vegetables, home canning, etc. Whole grains store well for many years and can be purchased inexpensively in bulk. If your family is not accustomed to eating whole-grain foods, you will need to increase the amount of whole-grains in your diet slowly to allow the body to adjust to the fiber increase. Whole dried herbs can also be purchased in bulk inexpensively. You can grind your herbs with a coffee grinder or mortar and pestle.

Label Carefully

As you package a food item for storage, be sure to label the container plainly with the name of the food item and date it is packed. Place your labels so that you will still be able to see them when containers are stacked or shelved.

Rotate, Rotate, ROTATE!

The MOST IMPORTANT thing I can tell you about food storage is that it is necessary to ROTATE your storage. That means that you use the container that's been stored the longest and replace it with newer stored containers behind the older ones. If you are storing items that you never use, you are wasting space that could be used for food items you need. Food storage that spoils or lies untouched is garbage. Don't fill your home with garbage. Fill your home with precious healthy food storage that will be a blessing to you and your family on a regular basis and in times of need.

Food Storage is NOT Just for Emergencies

Food storage is not something we set aside for an emergency, although it is a great blessing in such a time. Food storage is a plan for living better, buying less expensively, preserving foods we grow ourselves, developing a healthier lifestyle, and learning ways to use our storage for household uses and natural healing.

Keep Food Storage on Your Mind

As you begin to focus on your home storage, keep your storage in mind as you shop, clip coupons, and browse newspapers for sales. When you find tomato sauce on sale, stock up on enough for a month or two. When canned vegetables are on sale, buy enough for a variety of canned goods in your storage. Pasta, oil, and beans keep well; so store enough for two or three months. As your pantry fills, you will begin to develop an idea of what you want to add to your storage, and you'll keep that in mind as you shop and plan your gardening.

Plan Ahead When Buying in Bulk

When you begin to buy in bulk, you will need to plan ahead to make sure that you have all the containers and equipment you will need for your storage. Reusable containers can be a blessing for those who plan to continue their storage as a way of life.

Tailor Guides for Short-Term Basic Storage and Long-Term Extended Storage

As you develop a home storage mindset, you can devise a plan for short-term basic storage and for long-term extended storage. Food storage guides are meant to be used as general guidelines that can be tailored to your family's needs that serve to give you a better overall picture of home storage. Food storage buying guides generally lay out a plan to obtain a year's supply of food storage with monthly or weekly goals; but these, too, should be tailored to your family's needs. For example, if everyone in your family is allergic to oats, a large supply of oats would be a waste for you. Substitute a similar food item that your family could put to use; such as barley, rice, or quinoa.

Set a Goal, Devise a Plan, and Obtain Your Storage

Set a goal, devise a plan, and obtain the storage you desire. For example, you might begin with a goal to obtain a month's supply of food storage. You might plan to purchase items such as staples, canned goods, dry milk, and pasta, making a chart of how much of each item you will need to store. As you make your grocery purchases over the next month, buy twice the amount you need of each item (one for this month's use, and another for next month's storage.) Buying on sale, using coupons, and growing your own foods can help to reduce the initial cost of storing foods. You might have to make some adjustments to find money for your storage by cutting back on fast food, eating a "cheap" meal once a week, or fasting for one day a month or more and saving the money you would have spent on food for your storage. You may examine your expenses and find other ways to trim your budget to allow for home storage; such as going out for entertainment one less time a month, giving your own haircuts instead of going to the salon, calling less long-distance, etc. After a few months of storing a month ahead and living off your storage, you will begin to see other ways in which you can obtain your food storage in greater bulk less expensively. You may devise a plan for a 3-month supply, a 6-month supply, a year's supply, etc. as your needs and means permit.

Find Space for Your Storage

As your storage grows, finding storage space can be a challenge. If you are lucky enough to have a root cellar, basement, or spare room with temperature control, you are very blessed. If space is a problem, get creative. Build shelves, store under beds, use an unused corner of a room, store under decorative tables, or store behind couches and other furniture. If you truly have a desire to set aside home storage, there will be a place for your storage.

Make Use of Your Storage

Make use of your food storage and find new uses for it. For example, learn how to use the same herbs as spices for cooking, formulas for healing, and household cleaning. Use salt, vinegar, and baking soda for cooking, healing, and household uses. Learn to grind whole grains and to sprout your grains for fresh sprouts, juices, essene bread, salads, and wheat grass. Proper use of your food storage can help to simplify your life, improve your health, extend your budget, and enlighten your soul.

Put Your Home Storage to the Test

Once you feel confident that your home storage pantry is well-stocked, plan a weekend for your family to put your home storage to the test. Use only your storage to live on for the weekend. For a real emergency preparedness test, turn off the electricity and water, and survive using your alternate sources of heating, cooling, cooking, water, etc. Within the first hour you will think of many things you should have in storage that never occurred to you before. When you live on your food storage, you will become personally aware of the need for a variety of herbs, butter powder, mayonnaise, and a number of things that will make your food storage tastier, more palatable, healthier, and more interesting.

Storage is a Blessing

As you become accustomed to using, rotating, and extending your home storage, you will find that it is a blessing to you and others in many ways. Your home storage is a blessing when your neighbor who has lost a paycheck is in need of groceries, when your loved one who has taken ill needs meals taken to his or her home, when you've run out of commercial cleaners so make your own, when a flood destroys all foods not stored in waterproof containers, when one of the ladies from Church asks if you wouldn't mind making homemade bread for something special, when your friend is in need of a poultice for an insect sting or wound, when power lines are down and refrigerated items spoil, when your father needs an herbal tea for headache or upset stomach, when a natural disaster destroys homes and food, when your child needs a homemade game to keep him occupied through an emergency situation, and, REGULARLY, every time you prepare a meal for yourself or your family using your home storage. Keep the faith, and always move forward prayerfully.
Ok... it's driving me crazy... what happens if your freezer goes out temporarily and your meat mostly thaws and re-freezes? Will it make you sick? This happened recently and I'm hoping we don't have to chuck the contents of the freezer?????
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Old 02-16-2002, 06:50 PM
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I don't have a scientific answer for you, but we have eaten refrozen meat several times without a problem.
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Old 02-19-2002, 08:25 AM
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Hi there!

I wanted to ask something about freezing. I would like to make up a bunch of burrito's and enchilada's to keep in the freezer, does anyone know if you can freeze them and how you would freeze them? I usually buy the kits for making taco's , burrito's etc. so i'm not sure if they can be frozen and for how long. Thanks Karen
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Old 02-19-2002, 10:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Sunny
I wanted to ask something about freezing. I would like to make up a bunch of burrito's and enchilada's to keep in the freezer, does anyone know if you can freeze them and how you would freeze them?
Absolutely! Make up your burritos and enchiladas as you normally would. Let them sit and cool. When cooled, line a pan with foil(whatever you would cook them in, a square baking pan or a 13x9). Use enough foil so that you will be able to fold it over the food and close. Place the precooked burritos or enchiladas in the foil lined pan. Cover with foil and close. Label with name and date. Place pan and all in the freezer, let freeze a couple of hours. Remove pan from freezer, pop out foil wrapped food and store in ther freezer till ready to eat!
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Old 02-19-2002, 11:47 AM
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Thanks Amanda for your quick response! I'm really starting to get into this making things in bulk and freezing it, just not very good at it yet lol.
Do you have any other suggestions for meals that freeze well, i can use all the help i can get. Thanks Karen
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Old 02-19-2002, 12:36 PM
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Hi Sunny

I don't precook a lot of mine, but I do make batches or premake certain things. Here's examples:

meatballs I make up a batch big enough for 4 meals and freeze in four seperate freezer bags.

meatloaf I make 2 batches of meatloaf and split it into four medium sized loaves. We never eat a whole one, so I always split it.

browned ground beef I make up a few pounds of this each time I buy ground beef. Then I drain, rinse (gets rid of a lot of fat) and store it in the freezer in 1.5 lb portions. When I need browned ground beef for tacos or chili or something I'm one step ahead.

pork tenderloin sandwiches When pork tenderloin goes on sale I buy several. I usually cut up two or three of them, smash the cutlets with a meat mallot to flatten them real good, bread them, and then freeze them in between sheets of wax paper. I place 5 in each freezer bag. We just had these the other night in fact A very quick dinner!

cooked chicken there are a lot of recipes that call for cooked chicken. Such as chicken soup or stew, enchiladas, tacos, chicken and dumplings, etc. I buy whole or cut up fryers whenever they go on sale and boil them with onions and celery stalks. I simmer for several hours. Then I remove the chicken and run the broth through a fine strainer. I store the broth in freezer bags for other recipes. The chicken I let cool, then I shred all the meat off and store in freezer bags. I made enchiladas with some the other night and it was great!

hamburgers I take a couple of pounds of hamburger and season it, then form it into nice patties. I saniwch them between wax paper squares and store in freezer bags.

lasagna this freezes really well. You can cook an entire lasagna, eat half of it and freeze the rest for another day. Perfect!

spaghetti sauce I make my own spaghetti sauce by mixing a 15 oz can of tomato sauce and a 12 oz can of tomato paste with 3 tomato PASTE cans of water. I throw in dried basil, a little sugar, and salt and pepper. Boil, then simmer for a couple of hours. This amount makes enough for two meals, so we usually eat one and freeze the other for another night.

Other stuff - gravy freezes well, so next time you have leftover gravy, pout it into a sandwich bag (zipper type) and freeze flat. Then stack it in your freezer once it is frozen. I also freeze peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and ham and cheese sandwiches for lunches. I usually make three loaves at a time. See, I can't stand making PB&J sandwiches, LOL, so I make as many as I can at once! For breakfast, pancakes and french toast both freeze beautifully. Again, I sandwich them between wax paper sheets and wrap in foil, label then freeze. Some people put theirs in the toaster, but I microwave mine for about 45 seconds and they are perfect (one at a time).

I have to clean my house before my kids get home, but that should give you a few ideas for now! See ya later!
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