So for the second topic in our Be Prepared series, we are going to talk about food!
We first talked about water as this is a MUST in any emergency! But food is pretty much just as essential. Food is a giant topic and we have been trying to decide how to break this down with ideas on how to be prepared with food! Btw – if you haven’t seen our introductory article to this topic, we recommend that you read that first here.
Remember that our rule is to have an emergency supply for a minimum of 3 months. Again the reasons why are listed in our Be Prepared post HERE.
So how do we even begin talking about the giant topic of food?
Well, after we have talked about it on our end, here’s how we are going to do it……
1. We are going to break this down into 3 categories: produce, meat, staples
2. From there, we are going to discuss the immediate, the mid-term or intermediate (2+ week supply) and then the longer term (3+ months) and ideas and options with all of them so that you have usable versatility with your food storage options.
As a reminder, we are going to encourage you to have a “usable now” food storage and be rotating through your bulk supply and learning to use your bulk foods a few times per week (more on all of this later, but having a practical usable bulk food supply is the key to both a healthy frugality and an emergency food supply!) but having proper food storage, even in small spaces where no storage really exists.
So, hopefully you won’t feel overwhelmed talking about this like we have. It’s funny, we have been living, doing and preparing like this for a long time now and the whole operation runs so smoothly on a weekly basis here, but then trying to write it all down to share is like “whoa, where do we start!?!” 🙂
It will be fun, practical, thrifty, and provide some security in food preparedness that is used and rotated on a normal basis so that it is not a burden financially, time wise or health wise.
So…. here we go!
Let’s talk about the immediate and intermediate emergency options for fresh veggies.
There are 3 simple things you can do:
- Re-grow common veggies in your kitchen
- Grow a windowsill herb garden
- Have a counter-top sprout farm
So let’s talk about #1 – Re-Grow Common Veggies in Your Kitchen
- Always have a fresh supply of produce so that you can have a few days worth in an emergency. These are something that you are eating always anyway, but making sure you are stocked and rotating through the oldest first is a good way to have a supply.
- Have many veggies on your weekly/bi-weekly shopping list that can re-grow from the cut off scraps. This way, if there is an emergency, you can immediately use that fresh produce item and then re-grow from the cut off scraps in your kitchen and have a fresh supply. We actually do this with many foods anyway to save money. In our experience, most of these will only regrow a few times before they really aren’t great anymore…. but this will get you to 2-3 weeks worth. So what foods are we talking about? These ones should be on your list always:
- Romaine Lettuce – just learn to make your own salads weekly with buying heads of lettuce, pick affordable ones to stay in budget, but grab one head of Romaine lettuce to always have and include in your salads! Not only is this cheaper to make your own salads with just a few minutes each week vs. the pre-cut and bagged salads, but you will give yourself a fresh Romaine lettuce option in an emergency. How? Well, the stems of Romaine lettuce can be re-grown in your kitchen (even in a recycled sour cream or cottage cheese container!). – You can also do this with Bok Choy and Fennel, but let’s be honest, those things would be hard to keep on hand and use weekly -we don’t like fennel! 😉
- Green Onions and Other Onions (including leeks!) – we shared a while ago how we re-grow our green onions. It’s very simple and pretty much any onion can be re-grown in your kitchen this way. For regular onions, just cut of the ends where the dry roots are and place that face down in shallow water and you have fresh onions of all types! Onions are already on most people’s weekly shopping list anyway, just regrow in an emergency. Onions are also a super item to have for health purposes! They are a super food for your body and so essential during emergencies!
- Regrow the bottoms of your celery! Buy the full stalk each week that gives you the bottom and gives you the option to re-grow in your kitchen (or start in your kitchen and plant outside later). Either way, celery is a common veggie and a good one to make sure to always have on your list so that you can get more from one!
- One of our favorites is regrowing Garlic! Garlic is another one of those super important super foods for your body and is a perfect source of nutrition in tough times! These are re-grown similarly to the onions! Do it yourself site shares how to do this!
- I currently do not know of any fruits that you can re-grow for immediate (meaning in a week or two) consumption. It would be interesting to know if there are!
- You can also regrow pineapples, potatoes and avocados…… but these are for the long term, not immediate! I am working on pineapples and avocados right now, but they do take 18-24 months. I will keep you updated :)I will also share a lot more on potatoes…. I mean we grew up in Idaho and so you think we should know something. Well, honestly, we were never potato farmers, but we do have a few ideas for the more long term options!
Time to talk about #2 – Grow a windowsill herb garden
Consider having seeds or an on-going windowsill herb garden. Herbs are super foods too, they will not fill you up, but fresh herbs can be so vital and important in any emergency and then you have some immediate options! Herb gardens are easy to grow, easy to maintain and do not take long! They are a great addition to your prepared staple foods for an extra boost of needed nutrition. Growing an herb garden is quite common, so we probably do not need to go into much more detail at this point, but you can head to the Bonnie Plants site here where they will give you instructions!
The best idea (in our opinion) is #3 – Have a counter top sprout farm
If you want an even better plan, consider sprouting! We have been sprouting for everyday health and nutritional benefits anyway, but it is a FANTASTIC emergency food supply plan. This should be an article all it’s own, but for now, it is an easy thing to store, and you can start sprouts and have a very nutritious fresh produce option in 2-5 days! You can get a good supply of sprouting seeds for a good price. Special sprouting jars can be purchased for about $5 in a health food stores (we show other options below)! Sprouting is one of our top recommendations! SERIOUSLY LOOK INTO THIS!!
You can get a whole emergency kit sprout farm that will sustain a family with 55 lbs total of 10 different sprout seeds for $297 (this is actually not a bad price):
- Green Lentils
- Green Peas
- Black-eyed Peas
- Mung Beans
- Garbanzo Beans
This big emergency fresh food supply kit will yield over 200 lbs of fresh sprouts and the food is available in 2-5 days! This is really, really smart. But this big kit might be horribly overwhelming to you, but don’t let that stop you from doing something to provide you and your family with fresh, vital nutrition. We wanted to share the big kahuna idea, but let’s talk about budget options!
Now, here’s how you can get started sprouting or have them in your pantry or food storage for those emergencies:
- Mason Jars (the official ones) used for about .25-.50 or new for about .75 each
- Then you need the straining sprouting lids that you can get at health food stores or on Amazon HERE for around $15 for 3 different lids that all serve a different purpose for your sprouted seeds. The reviews are excellent and a good way to go!
- Then you can buy the sprouting seeds either on Amazon or at health food stores for around $5 for about a 1/2 pound. This is a really good price and so anywhere in this range is good!
For under $30, you can have a nice supply of seeds and sprouting jars to get you through a short time period. You can see many sprouting supply options on Amazon HERE.
We personally believe in this sprouting option as both the immediate, intermediate and long-term fresh food option, that it is worth getting enough sprouting seeds, jars and lids to start a batch a day for your family for many months in an emergency. That is why having enough seeds to produce 200+ pounds of sprouts is a wise investment and can solve your fresh produce options for any stage and any emergency. Plus, sprouting seeds are super easy to store, they take hardly any room and they will store for a long time. But eating sprouts and micro-greens is very healthy anyway, so use them every once in a while to make a batch for health and rotate through!
Perhaps consider investing $10 a month in sprouting seeds to eventually have enough in storage for 100 – 200 lbs. of fresh sprouts (depending on family size) and then rotate through and eating them with salads, sandwiches or by themselves on a regular basis for those super nutritious benefits now. Plus, by using them now and rotating/refilling as needed, when that actual emergency hits, you will already know what to do!
So there’s our tips for you and your family to have fresh produce options in the immediate and intermediate emergencies.
Here’s a quick summary and review of what to do at this point to be preparing your fresh food sources on a tight budget!
Each time you grocery shop, include these 4 veggie items on your shopping list. Nearly every home should include these on their shopping lists and incorporate into cooking. I see no reason (other than allergies, but I haven’t heard of anyone being allergic to any of these!) why you can’t! Buy sustainable food and buy smart!
- Head of Romaine Lettuce (re-grow by cutting of end and submerging tip in shallow water)
- Green Onions and Onions (re-grow by cutting off end with dry roots and submerging in shallow water)
- Stalk of celery (re-grow by cutting of end and submerging in shallow water)
- Garlic (re-grow by dividing cloves in bulb and set aside until they sprout. Once sprouted, plant in shallow soil in a reusable container and place in wind0w)
Next, work on having a supply of fresh herb seeds (you can do this for under $10) in case you need them, or just start using fresh herbs in your cooking and growing them now!
Finally, invest $10 a month in sprouting options by buying the lids, finding mason jars around your home, and buying sprouting seeds. Store all of these in a box together with easy access so that you can find everything you need quickly and easily in an emergency. Start sprouting in a couple of months once you start getting a supply and keep building it up!
We hope we have shared some easy and unique ideas to get you prepared on a budget. We want to know your thoughts on this topic too, please share!
Coming up on the next topic is the long-term produce options and ideas!