Prepping Intensive: Module 2
Some other materials
This week put your preps to the test. Can you go the entire week with only the items in your pantry?
When disaster strikes, you don’t always get the chance to run to the store for some last minute items. Want a surefire way to test your preps? Challenge yourself to skip the store this week and feed your family with only what you have on hand.
If you are brand new to this and haven’t yet built a supply that will last a week, use this week’s grocery trip to purchase only shelf stable items – this way, you’ll still glean valuable information from the challenge.
Dos and Don’ts of the Pantry Challenge
- Do take careful notes throughout the week. This will help you learn what you’ve run out of, what you really miss, and any extra ingredients that you should keep on hand.
- Don’t stick to the challenge to the detriment of your family. The S hasn’t HTF just yet. For example, if you’re completely out of milk and have no back-up supply, make a mental note to get some dry milk and go to the store and grab just that one item. (No cheating!)
- Do record any creative stockpile recipes that you come up with during your challenge. The best thing in the world is figuring out how to recreate a family favorite entirely with stockpile items.
- Don’t eat anything questionable. If you are concerned that something may be expired (and not just in that kinda stale way) don’t eat it. Also avoid dented cans, food that smells or looks funny, and anything that may have spoiled because of improper storage.
- Do make it fun. Turn it into a game for your kids. This works especially well if they’re on board with the idea of emergency preparedness. It was during a drill like this that my kids created a very tasty Mexican “pie” out of pantry items and spices, a recipe that is still a family favorite to this day.
Weekly To Do List
- Subscribe so that you get emails from all of your local stores. Most stores don’t send out flyers each week anymore but you can get the same information right to your inbox in most cases. This will help you plan your shopping trips efficiently.
- Go through your food stash, and with a sharpie, write the purchase date on the labels where it can be easily seen. This will help a great deal when it comes time to rotate your stored food.
- Make a list of the vegetables you use most often in your day to day cooking. For food storage purposes, focus on stocking up on these, whether they’re canned, dehydrated, or freeze-dried.
- Start a price book. This will help you track the local sales cycles and will help you to make sure what looks like a bargain is actually a bargain.
- Begin saving empty 2-liter soda bottles. Rinse them out well, allow to air dry. Bottle caps can be run through the dishwasher, if you have one. These containers can be used to store dry foods of all types, from cornmeal to oatmeal to rice.
- Select 2 spaces for decluttering. They should be spaces that will lend themselves well for storing food, water, your emergency kits, or other prepper gear. Remove everything from the space (cupboard, cabinet, drawer, etc.) and sort everything into 4 piles: Trash It, Donate It, Keep It, Gift It.
- This week make 2 main dishes that are primarily rice and beans — no meat of any kind. If your family gives either or both a thumbs up, add the recipe to your SPI Notebook in the Survival Recipes section. This is a new divider you’ll find in the Printables section of Module 2.
- Get buckets for a bargain. Call your local bakeries and delis and ask if you can have their empty food-safe buckets. Sometimes they’ll charge you a couple of dollars, but often they’ll be happy to let you take them for free.
- Go on a personal spending freeze. How long can you go without spending money on anything but preps? Bonus: Apply all that money you saved to adding even more preps!
- Create some menus for family favorites that can be made 100% from pantry basics (you may need to make some small adaptations, like using dehydrated or canned veggies instead of fresh.) Then, create a grocery list geared towards stocking up for those favorite meals.
- Make a map! Particularly if your preps are stashed in various cubbies around the house, document where you store things and try to keep similar items together. Otherwise, when you really need an item from your stockpile, you may waste valuable time searching for it (and may still not be able to locate it!)
- Pick up some inexpensive risers for your beds. Why is this in the Sustenance category, you ask? Because you have now cleared a lot of new space for food preps! (These will lift your bed up to 8 inches. If you can, order a set for each bed in the house.)
- Buy 1 package of oxygen absorbers from Amazon. Size: 50 cc. You will use one in each small size food storage container. See our oxygen absorber guide for more details.
- Pick up Mylar bags for food storage. (Also available from Amazon.)
- Look for the cheapest rice and beans you can find. Sometimes ethnic markets have the best deals. Buy as much as you can afford this week; you’ll be repackaging the food in the clean bottles with an oxygen absorber during next week’s to-do list.
- Look for the best bargain on any vegetable that you can dehydrate. (You picked up a dehydrator, right?) Zucchini and tomatoes are good candidates. Follow these simple instructions and dehydrate your first batch of food!
- Transfer the dry food you purchased into Mylar bags with oxygen absorbers.
- Stash some candy. Comfort items like Red Vines, chocolate, M&Ms, or other familiar favorites can really help during a stressful situation. You can extend their shelf life by using a Food Saver and a wide jar attachment to package them in canning jars. Watch this video demo by Lisa Bedford.
- Stock up on shelf-stable milk. Powdered milk and canned evaporated milk are two solutions. This is particularly important if you have (or expect) children – or if you like some dairy in your coffee.
- If you don’t already own a food dehydrator, get one. Look for one on Craigslist or eBay (for cheapest prices). When you have the funds, add one to your prepping supplies. If you are purchasing new, the Excalibur is an excellent high-end product, and the Nesco American Harvest is a less expensive product.
- Invest in an off-grid cooking method. Do you have at least 2 different methods for cooking food and heating water? Recommended: a solar oven and a fuel efficient rocket stove. Note: These don’t have to be investment preps. If you aren’t in a position to purchase them right now, both can be DIY projects.
Each week, we’ll recommend our favorite brands and products. You aren’t obligated to buy these particular items, but if you’re looking for something tested and true, consider adding these to your stockpile or library.
This week, enjoy an excerpt from Daisy’s book, The Pantry Primer. Section 3 takes you through the specifics of building a pantry from the ground up. There are shopping lists, sample menus, and strategies to help you create your pantry as quickly as possible, without sacrificing nutrition.Click Here to Download