Do you have hundreds of pounds of wheat, oats and rice in your basement? Have you spent hundreds of $$$ on freeze dried food storage?
Don’t worry… everyone else has done this too.
It’s not a bad thing… you just need to learn how to use food storage right?
Here are tips on how to use food storage so YOU can be rockin’ your pantry. You will NOT feel guilty about all that wasted time, space and $$$ in your basement (or wherever you store your food storage).
Updated October 2020 – This post may contain affiliate links. Read my affiliate link disclosure here
How to use food storage
1. Move the basic food items upstairs and into your pantry.
If you want to USE your food storage and rotate it, you need to move it upstairs so you SEE it. This will help you remember, and use it more often. You will start thinking about what meals you can use it for.
This is a picture of what I use. I have white flour, oats, sugar, powdered milk, and salt right above my cooking space ready to use. In the freezer, I have yeast and wheat flour. Then I have my basic sizes of baking powder and soda, vanilla, and spices in the pantry.
When buying food storage items, I recommend buying it in the basic containers you use it in… such as baking powder, baking soda, vanilla, etc. This will help you use it often, it will fit in your pantry, AND make it easy to rotate.
Here’s How I Use My Food Storage Containers the Easy Way:
2. Think about what meals you are already making
and think about what you already have stored. Does anything match up? If so, start swapping out some fresh ingredients and adding in some freeze-dried, dehydrated or canned ingredients. (not a lot, just one item or two).
Nothing matches up? Can you turn some of your food storage into a side dish? Make a side of rice, or beans, or corn bread? My Pinterest board has some great food storage recipe ideas. Also check out my 100+ food storage recipes.
3. You don’t have to cook with everything
I’m sorry, but my biggest pet peeve is “Thrive Q”. I HATE it! Why would I want to spend all this money on freeze-dried food and USE it when it has a shelf life of 20+ years? That is expensive!
You don’t have to use and rotate ALL your food storage. Just learn how to cook the long term items that have 20+ years of shelf life. Then cook with them every couple of months. I suggest opening 1-3 #10 food storage cans and using them for half a year. Then, open up some different ones to use the rest of the year. This allows you to rotate them, AND learn how to cook with the different items without becoming overwhelmed.
Use your basic pantry/baking items and canned food items from the grocery store more often and regularly. This is why I recommend buying most of your food storage in sizes and cans you already buy and use. AND you should be planning food storage meals that your family loves and ALREADY eats.
It’s important to use food storage… but it’s also important to have it there for when you need it.
Wheat seems to be a major part of food storage, and EVERYONE has loads of it.
A tip for wheat when you want to use food storage is to grind 5-6 cups and store it in a bag in your freezer. If you don’t have a wheat grinder, go to some stores where you can grind wheat there (Hy-Vee). Grinding it in bulk and putting it in the freezer makes it easy to incorporate into your meals.
I typically don’t use whole wheat flour ALL the time. But I do use it 50% of all my recipes. Wheat flour is great in pancakes, waffles, muffins, pizza, bread, and even cookies! To be honest with you, I really need to use wheat MORE, but I get lazy. That’s why I try to grind a lot at a time Then I have a good month’s worth of wheat flour in my freezer to use.
5. Try powdered milk
And I don’t mean DRINK it! But DO cook with it. First, it saves tons of money (when you buy it from Home Store Center) when you cook with it instead of regular milk. Second, you don’t go through milk as fast. Our family of 5 only goes through 1 gallon a week of milk from the store. We used to go through almost 2 gallons a week! Then, I started using powdered milk in my recipes and saved the space in my fridge. Third, like I just mentioned, you’ll save space in the fridge.
How do I cook with powdered milk? Well, it’s easy! MOST of the time you just mix 1/4 c powder per cup of water (but it might only be 3 Tbsp depending on brand). EITHER WAY, if you use 3 Tbsp or 1/4 c (which is 4 Tbsp) it really doesn’t make a difference. You just add the dry powder to your dry ingredients, then add water to your liquid.
Here are some recipe ideas that I ALWAYS use powdered milk for – bread, waffles, pancakes, cracked wheat cereal, biscuits, rolls, muffins, etc. Pretty much anything that you put milk in, you can use powdered milk. I even used it to make yogurt!
TIP: The only thing I don’t use powdered milk for is pudding. You can use powdered, and I have and I will in an emergency, but it just doesn’t seem to set up right and my husband hates it.
So, put that powdered milk container on your counter so you can start incorporating it into your recipes ASAP!
6. Try new meals
This might sound a little scary… but it’s not if you only try one new meal ONCE a month.
Using your basic food storage storing blocks, you can try: oatmeal, oatmeal bars, cracked wheat cereal, whole wheat muffins, and different seasonings to spice up your rice. Try adding rice as a side to most meals. My kids eat rice better than us adults do and it’s easy to keep plain or spice up.
If you are looking to try out your freeze-dried food storage, lookup multiple recipes using ONE item. You don’t want to open up a TON Of cans because you might not use it all and it will go stale or sticky (in Omaha humidity). So, open up that freeze-dried broccoli and learn how to cook with it in 2-3 different meals.
Another idea to help you try new meals is Pinterest! It’s so easy to pick a specific ingredient and search for hundreds of recipes with that one ingredient. This can help you A LOT with rice and bean recipes! My most recent favorite black beans recipe is from Our Best Bites. And Store This Not That sells my favorite bean recipe book!
Again, try a new recipe once a month and decided how you like it.
Using your food storage doesn’t have to be difficult
but you DO have to take some effort to mentally think about what you can cook with it.
What meals are you already making that you can add one ingredient here or there from your food storage?
It is important to learn how to use food storage, cook and rotate it. If there is an emergency (or even if you lose a major source of income), there will already be a lot of stress. Don’t add extra stress by looking at your hundreds of food items and NOT KNOWING WHAT TO DO WITH IT. Not using your food storage is one of the #1 food storage fails.
Learn how to cook with your freeze-dried and dehydrated items. Eat your rice, wheat, and beans so your body is prepared for it. Use your canned food so it doesn’t go bad in your pantry.
Start using what you have (but don’t use it all!). Read about what you may be forgetting in your food storage to be sure you have what you need.
If you are someone who stores a lot of freeze-dried items, I KNOW how expensive that is. Use a #10 can here or there, but don’t use all of them. It is made to sit for years, so save your money and use fresh or frozen. But PLEASE learn how to cook with it.