October 19, 2009

Stockpiling, Emergency Preparedness, and Food Security

Wondering why you are seeing this post on a couponing site?  View my posts here and here to find out why I believe these issues are important.

Stockpiling—I’m pretty fatigued after a long weekend, and therefore there will not be any items listed under this category this week.  Instead I hope you’ll take $1-$5 from your weekly grocery budget to use for building your stockpile. 

Emergency PreparednessThis week I encourage you to refresh your stress management skills.  Emergency and crisis situations are stress provoking to say the least.  If you begin to integrate stress prevention and management tools into your every day life now, then you will be able to recall and use these tools much more easily when under crisis.  Practice makes perfect.  Start with something as simple as learning deep breathing or meditation and build from there.  There are tons of resources on stress management that can be found in your public library.  I encourage you to choose ones where the writers emphasize a cognitive behavioral approach, as there  is a great deal of research on how these approaches can help to alleviate anxiety and depressive symptoms.  The bonus—by practicing stress management now it will help to prepare you for the busy hustle and bustle of the holiday season that is fast approaching.

Food SecurityIf your area’s farmers markets have not  yet closed for the season, I hope you’ll visit and stock up on supplies for the winter. 

  • Winter squashes, onions, garlic, potatoes, and sweet potatoes can be stored in a cool part of the house for weeks to months without problems.  Just be sure to store where they can have proper air circulation, out of direct sunlight, and in a dry area.  Store onions and garlic away from potatoes and sweet potatoes. 
  • Apples also have a long shelf life, and ‘tis the season for apples!  Check apples every week to make sure you do not have a bad one rotting the rest.  If you prefer, dehydrate the apples or make applesauce to use through the winter.
  • Some regions might have carrots at the markets.  If you remove the greenery and wrap them in a damp paper towel and place in an opened plastic bag, they will store for weeks.
  • While you are there, pick up some cabbages.  Both green and red cabbages will store in the crisper box in your refrigerator for weeks if not longer when not cut into.  You may have to peel away a couple of layers of leaves if stored for a longer period of time. 
  • Purchase some molasses.  Really, can you imagine the holidays without gingerbread men or molasses cookies?  I cannot.  This time of the year  you will find the molasses at its freshest point.  While shopping for molasses pick up some honey to store for the winter. 
  • Are you lucky enough to have a local purveyor of cornmeal?  Buy some to store.  Like I’ve said before, I can’t imagine soups, turnip greens or beans eaten without cornbread.  If you have a grain mill, consider buying popcorn instead.  It stores for a longer period of time and can be made as either popcorn or ground into meal for cornbread.
  • If you didn’t make jams, jellies, pickles or preserves, you might find good prices for these at your local farmers market.  Pick up some extras to have for hostess gifts, last minute gifts, or to add to your family meals. 
  • Eggs and meats—unless you have a source from whom you can buy locally grown meats and eggs, you might want to pick up some extras before the market closes.  Think ahead to what meals you will be making for the holidays.  Do you need some sausage for your dressing?  Fall and early winter tend to be the best times to find pork products at the market, depending on  your region.  What about an extra dozen of eggs for that pound cake you like to make?  Fresh eggs will store for weeks in your refrigerator.  I’ve always heard that a test of a bad egg is to see if it floats.  If it does, throw it out.  If you notice any cracks, throw it out. 

If in doubt, ask the farmers how long an item might store and how to best store it.  They grow the same foods for their families and are well versed in how to store, prepare, and/or save the seeds of different foods.  Ask the farmers if they have any plans to sell their goods after the market closes.  Some farmers might have a place that they meet buyers once or twice a month, or they might welcome you to come to their farm. 

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