Food storage is not all about plastic Tupperware and freezer bags. Food storage is an emergency preparedness concept of storing lots of food in many different forms in case of a natural disaster or economic crisis where you are unable to buy your normal groceries.
The idea of food storage is discussed and encouraged a lot by the LDS church (Mormons) and they have come up with some great guidelines of having a water supply on hand, a three-month supply of the normal foods you eat, as well as a longer-term food supply for an extended emergency. Most people end up stockpiling all of their food and never learn how to use it and end up wasting it when it expires. A better idea is to learn to cook with your food storage so that you can have your family used to eating those foods, and also be rotating through your stores so they don't go to waste.
I conducted the following interview with Crystal Godfrey from Everyday Food Storage as a way to help food storage beginners learn some tips and tricks on how to actually use their food storage.
Crystal, what made you start using your food storage for your everyday cooking?
Well, I got my food storage and I didn't want it to just be sitting there on my shelves all the time. My mom actually used food storage when I was growing up, so I knew the basics of it. I knew it could be gross so I was a little timid in trying it. So I just started trying a little bit at a time and I just started using it. And as I started using one thing and being successful at it then it gave me encouragement to try other things. And it just kind of snowballed until I was using it every day. And then I noticed that not only was I prepared in knowing that if there was an emergency that my family would eat what I made, but that I was also saving money, saving time, and making fewer messes while I was at it.
So the key is starting small? And working your way up?
Yes, definitely. Which you guys know all about!
Yes, we're at the SMALL part right now. Now where do you buy most of your food storage ingredients?
Now when you say food storage ingredients you're talking not the three-month supply?
Yes, like the long term food … the wheat, things like that.
I buy most of mine at the LDS cannery. Which if you don't have one just research; I'm sure there's one near you, or you can buy it online. But that's where I buy most of my items.
Do you have a website that you would look at?
Yes, the church has a website called Provident Living; you can order some things online there.
Excellent. What is your favorite food storage item to cook with?
That one's hard because I have a couple. My favorite time-saving one is onions, dehydrated onions. Because I hate cutting onions.
Are they different from the onion flakes from the store? Or is that what they are?
No, that's pretty much what they are but they're a lot cheaper because you are going to buy them in bulk. And so no longer do you have to cut them but you just stick them in your spaghetti sauce and then they hydrate in your spaghetti sauce. I mean it saves so much time and I always have onions on hand. And I've even done things where I've hydrated them and grilled them so they've been like In N Out Burger's animal-style (California is where it's at). But I've even done stuff like that where I've used them as an actual onion substitute not in something and they've been delicious as well. And probably my other favorite would be powdered milk because I think that is the one that people are most surprised still tastes good even though it has powdered milk in it.
So you like to kind of trick people? I've noticed that on your site.
I do. I like the wow factor!
So what is your very favorite recipe of all time that you've created?
Probably my Twinkie surprise cupcakes.
Oh, I love that one. That one was good. That was the one on the Utah's Own … What's the contest called?
Yes, it was a runner-up for the Utah's Own Downhome Cook-Off.
So how do you come up with your recipes? Because this is hard for me, I always like to have a recipe. I can't make them up myself so I'm always impressed with you.
Well I actually don't make up most of my recipes. The way I look at food storage is food storage is just basic cooking ingredients that you would use in any recipe. So all I do is I just take my favorite recipes and then start substituting — you know, instead of milk put in powdered milk, for eggs I put in powdered eggs, and for onions I put in my dehydrated onions. So I'm not really always coming up with new recipes but I feel that in my experience people are less likely to try it in their own recipes. They want to see someone who has already tried it and knows that it's good. So I just put on the recipes that I try for my own family that I know my family already likes and switch it out for food storage ingredients and then I put it on my blog for people to see — look, this one does work. So hopefully it builds confidence that then they can try it with their own recipes.
That's a really good idea. That's good to know. So I'm going to have to do that with mine now. So how often do you cook with your food storage?
Every single day? Every meal of the day? Or just you try to do something? Is it conscious or is it just natural?
Now it's natural. But I would say every meal. I make my own bread so at lunch we have that, at breakfast if we have cereal or something then it has the powdered milk. And then dinner would have usually milk or onions or something. I use it all the time.
All the time, wow, I don't yet! So can you make good sandwiches with your bread?
Oh, yes! Oh, gosh yes! You need a bread maker and you need to look at my tips for making good bread machine bread.
Alright, we'll check it out. What aspects of food storage would you like to learn more about? Or do you just know everything?
No, I don't know everything! No. I think you can always be learning, so I think the next thing I'm going to try tackling is powdered milk yogurt. Because I received a recipe from one of my blog readers where you can make fat-free frosting for cakes. I think it's supposed to taste kind of like a buttercream or something but it's fat-free.
So it's healthy?
Well, healthier … I won't necessarily say healthy, but healthier. If you are going to make a cookie anyway you might as well add in extra nutrition with wheat or something like that.
This is true. And you kind of said in the beginning that it's really good to start small. But is there any other advice that you'd want to share with beginners? Because a lot of our blog readers tend to be people just getting started and kind of heading into long-term food storage is a hard step. So any other words of wisdom?
That's really what I focus on is the beginners. So what I would say is just pick one thing that you're going to start with. And one of the things I think is easiest to start with is powdered milk. Because you don't need to have a grinder and you don't need to have all these special things to use it. You can just start cooking with it right away. And you can start putting it in desserts like sweetened condensed milk or like evaporated milk. And that way you know it's going to taste good because it has the sugar. Your family is going to want to try it because it's a dessert.
That's always key in my family.
And then when they see that it's good then they'll say "Oh, okay, well that's good." So then I can try this and then I can try that. And the more things you try that build your confidence the more you'll be likely to try new things and to keep using what you already know. So my motto is to always start with a dessert. Because your family will try it. And as long as you don't tell them that there's food storage in it until after and get the "wow" factor, then they'll try it and then you'll see that they like it and that it's possible. Once you start seeing that it actually is possible to cook with your food storage and that your family will eat it then that will give you the confidence you need to cook with it on a daily basis.
If you want to have a look at Crystal's recipes make sure to visit her website, Everyday Food Storage.