At our house we have always stockpiled some foods and drinks because we live in a mountain area where the roads are not the best to begin with. Our
first stockpiling priority is water, since we live in Southern California earthquake country. We bought 50-gallon storage containers from SOS
emergency supply outfitters, located in the San Fernando Valley, USA. Here is the link for their online store:
They sell related items, such as water storage tablets, etc. If you store your water containers on a concrete flooring, be sure to set your
containers on a plywood sheet on the floor, not directly on the concrete, since over time, salts from the concrete can migrate through the plastic
container into the water. How much water to store? That depends on how many people are in your household, whether your close neighbors and friends
have also stored water (or not), etc. The international Red Cross recommends storing at least a 3-day supply for the household, a minimum of 1 gallon
per person per day -- that number is for drinking and cooking purposes only.
Another helpful U.S. source of basic food-preparation and household items at decent prices is Lehman's catalog. They sell many non-electric
household machines, tools, and hard-to-find supplies, including reasonably priced home canning equipment, pickling crocks, on and on. Here is their
Note: We don't work for either of these stores, we've just bought from them and can vouch for the quality of what they offer.
BTW, be aware that Eden Foods is the only manufacturer currently using cans lined with natural plant ingredients which contain zero Bisphenol A. Here
is the link to that topic discussion on their website:
Okay, here is our list of what we have been stockpiling:
Gasoline: We keep our car tanks pretty full, and keep a 5-gallon can filled as well, but be aware that at least in the U.S., the refineries for years
have included additives in commercial gasoline which limit its storage life quite a bit. So don't hang onto gasoline forever.
Grains: We often cook with whole grains, which usually involves soaking a cup or so of the grains overnight in the refrigerator -- cooking is much
easier that way; I got used to planning ahead about that pretty quickly. I sometimes get headaches from wheat so we use alternative grains like spelt
and kamut, as well as whole hulled barley and oats, millet, a little whole rye, short grain brown rice (this is the best-tasting), also medium grain
brown rice, quinoa, amaranth, popcorn, various grain flake products, and a small amount of buckwheat. At a Latino market, I bought a 20-pound bag of
Maseca brand corn masa mix (cornmeal for making tortillas at home), along with an inexpensive tool they sell for flattening out the tortilla shape,
after I found out that many commercially made tortillas have sugar added -- gross! BTW, Maseca masa comes in 2-pound and 5-pound packages as
Noodles and tofu: Trader Joe's has decent prices on organic semolina dry pasta and excellent prices on organic tofu, otherwise we mostly drive to a
Little Tokyo in downtown L.A. to buy dry noodles such as buckwheat soba, big fat udon noodles that are to die for (the flat udon noodles are so-so),
and somen noodles.
Other dried goods, bought from local food co-op, stored in glass containers in our kitchen cupboards: Dried corn, various split peas, lentils,
black-eyed peas, aduki beans, black beans, navy beans, garbanzo beans (AKA chickpeas), etc. Nuts include almonds, walnuts, dried chestnuts, and pine
nuts. Seeds include sesame seeds (must store in refrigerator) and sprouting seeds such as sesame, alfalfa, even fenugreek. Pay attention to what's
on sale; you can often get a good deal on dry goods this way.
I eat fish, while my partner is vegetarian; in Little Tokyo I bought dried flaked bonito in small plastic packages (no need to refrigerate), which is
the secret ingredient in most restaurant miso soup broth.
Also in Little Tokyo we get high-quality low-priced seaweed packaged in plastic bags, shelf life is quite long. Just remember to be careful with your
portion size of seaweed, since if you max it out over a long enough time, the iodine in the seaweed can make your thyroid gland hyper... not a great
In Chinatown, we buy yuba (a sheet of high-protein, high-fat material made from tofu, and it's dried so no refrigeration necessary) and black bean
(which is actually black soybean) sauce.
Drinks: We buy canned coffee from either Costco or Smart and Final, which are local "big box" discount stores. Costco is membership only, but
Smart and Final membership is totally optional. We buy packaged tea from our co-op, and Trader Joe has good prices on lemons which we slice and add
to glasses of water and what-have-you. We also buy quintuple-filtered water from our co-op (currently .30 cents a gallon, quite a good price).
Unfiltered sake - cheaper to buy this in Little Tokyo, but Whole Wallet -- er, WholeFoods -- has it as well, a little more expensive.
Canned foods: The aforementioned Eden Foods manufacturer makes an array of canned beans and veggies, which we use for quick meals.
Home garden: We started growing lots of organic veggies and fruits, but varmints (squirrels etc.) got all the fruit and most of the veggies; nowadays
we grow artichokes successfully along with citrus and leafy veggies the squirrels dislike, such as collards, kale, etc. Edible flowers include rose
petals, nasturtiums, and garland chrysanthemum (Not the Regular Mums, folks - those are Not Edible).
Spices and ethnic supplies we get from an Indian grocery in the San Fernando Valley; star anise, for example is normally outrageously pricey, but I
can buy a large plastic bag of star anise for around $2.00 (and anise has the active ingredient in Tamiflu, the bird flu vaccine).
Miscellaneous: Also from the co-op, we're buying quantities of soap, rice vinegar, unrefined sesame oil, unrefined olive oil, (store the oils in a
cool place and refrigerate after opening), tahini, tempeh, Ezekiel bread (store in freezer until needed), sea salt, sprouting seeds and tamari sauce
(a high quality soy sauce). Fresh produce we buy at our co-op includes green and other onions, carrots, turnips, rutabagas, collards, kale,
[edit on 4/23/2008 by Uphill]