Thanks to a faithful reader who shared the following question:
What are some things to consider regarding food storage when you are 1) living apartment style and 2) a student? I want to develop food storage habits and knowledge but feel that my resources are limited.
This is a great question. Storing food is really a challenge when you don’t have a lot of space, time or money. It has only really been in the last six months that I’ve lived in a place that I actually had room to store very much. Here are some things I’ve done:
- Store a little water. When I was at BYU, we were told that they have food stored for the students, but that students are responsible to store enough water for 3 days–3 gallons. We could wash and fill old milk jugs or juice bottles and have some water on hand. Juice bottles made of PETE plastic are recommended. Once when I lived in an apartment our water was unexpectedly shut off for several hours. I was very grateful I had some water I could drink easily available.
- Stash some cans under the bed. Cans of vegetables, soups, and other things you can eat with little or no preparation are great to have on hand in case of an emergency.
- Gradually build up extras of the things you use regularly. Students especially are notorious for waiting to go to the store until they have cleaned out their cupboards completely. Try to have at least some dry rice, canned beans, and perhaps some oatmeal on hand that you could eat in case you were snowed in for a week.
- Try to use up your food before you move. I’ve found it to be a great practice in using food storage in trying to just live off of it during the last little while before I move. That way I have less to move and get a better idea for what types of things to store and how to use them.
- Cook with store-bought whole wheat flour. Although freshly ground is certainly ideal, you can buy whole wheat flour and begin practicing with it. I used to make a big batch of bran muffins and keep them in the freezer so I could pull one or two out when I needed a quick snack. I started making whole wheat tortillas with store bought flour.
I think perhaps the best rule of thumb is to do something. One of my favorite quotes is this:
“We can begin ever so modestly. We can begin with a one week’s food supply and gradually build it to a month, and then to three months. I am speaking now of food to cover basic needs. As all of you recognize, this counsel is not new. But I fear that so many feel that a long-term food supply is so far beyond their reach that they make no effort at all.” President Hinckley 1
Just do your best with your resources and you will be blessed and amazed with what a little effort can do.