Friday Food Storage Quickie

Sharon October 16th, 2009

Thanks, btw, to everyone who sent good wishes to me for my lousy mood yesterday - I really appreciate you all letting me use my blog as therapy!  I’m a lot happier this morning, and am actually going to go indulge in a little necessary retail therapy - it is a sale day at Goodwill and I’m off to hunt for a mid-weight jacket for Simon and a couple more sweaters for Eric, who doesn’t actually believe that there’s any reason he can’t teach in ripped jeans and a sweater with holes in the armpits, even if I do ;-) .

On to today’s actual topic.  I’ve done Friday Food Storage Quickies several times intermittently, but I’d really like to get more serious about it.  My goal is for one year to post a shopping guide every week, to help people add a little to their food storage.  I think it is really helpful to give some people a specific task, so I’m going to focus on two foods and one preparedness item/practice, and my goal is to actually keep up with it.  I think this breaks things down and reminds us all (me too!) to make food storage and preparedness a part of our regular day-to-day stuff.

I would also, btw, encourage you while you are out shopping, and if you can, to pick up a few items for your local food pantry - put that in your budget as well.  As we all know, our local food security infrastructure is pretty strained these days, and they can use all the help they get.  I’ll include a suggested item for the food pantry as well.

Ok, for this week, we’re going to add food I’ve suggested in the past, but are still a great starting point - popcorn and potatoes! 

Why these two?  Well, almost everyone will eat both foods - even if your kids or spouse thinks that food storage is crazy, they’ll almost certainly eat popcorn.  Popcorn can be popped or it can be ground into flour.  It makes a good snack, or you can eat it for breakfast like cereal.  It is a whole grain, but also a delicious treat.  Remember, you don’t want the microwaved or butter flavored stuff, you want regular popcorn.  Local from a farmer who grows their own is best, of course, but in bulk from the coop or even a bag from the supermarket still gets you ahead.  How much?  What you can afford - it keeps a long time.

Why potatoes?  Because most people pretty much eat them, because they are simple and delicious.  If you have even a reasonably cool, dark spot to put them in (cooler on the porch, basement stairs, closet in a room that runs cool, under a couple of bales of straw in the garage…) they will last you most of the winter.  They are cheap and plentiful now - the carrot barn near me is selling them 50lbs for $14, and while you may not get that, you should get a good deal.  How much?  As much as you think you’ll eat in a few months.  Roast them, bake them, mash them, scallop them, cover them in greens and make salsa, cheese sauce or chili to go on top and you’ve got dinner. 

For the food pantry, let’s pick up some peanut butter - it is one of the highest demand foods out there, and nutritionally dense - and kids home alone after school can make themselves a sandwich.  And if you’ve got a little extra money, pick up a container of infant formula as well and donate it. Yes, I know it would be better if women could breastfeed, but the reality is that that’s often long-since decided, and what happens otherwise is that poor women give their infants cow’s milk or other inappropriate, but cheaper food rather than pricey formula. 

Finally, a preparedness item - let’s start easily, with *matches*!  You need these to light your candles, gas stove, wood stove or sterno can when the power goes out.  They go in your evacuation kit.  They are great for building a fire outside on these cold, starlit nights.  They keep, as long as you keep them dry.  So pick up a couple of boxes today and add them to your kit.

Ok, more next week!


29 Responses to “Friday Food Storage Quickie”

  1. Susan in NJon 16 Oct 2023 at 8:21 am

    For some reason the food pantries around here won’t accept donations of infant formula. I haven’t researched why, but I would suggest to anyone buying formula with intent to donate that they first make sure they have a place to donate it.

  2. Emilyon 16 Oct 2023 at 8:34 am

    Sharon, I have just read “Depletion and Abundance” and am awaiting the arrival of “Independence Days”. In the past few years I have begun to effect changes in the lifestyle my husband and I live, just a little tweaking here and there to bring our lives more in harmony with our deeper values. Your writing is such a help! And your good recommendations are expanding my before-bed reading horizons even further. Thank you! Love, Emily

  3. curiousalexaon 16 Oct 2023 at 8:39 am

    Yay! I was just about to go back and read previous quickies, as I use your security quiz as a checklist. (there’s only 32 items - no one gets the perfect mate in the kilt/string bikini!)

    Request: Directions for using said items? It may seem stupidly obvious what to do with a potato, but confronted with a 50lb bag, my mind drew a blank. And my entire cookbook collection got lost in the move (box was destroyed, and not insured). I love the idea of grinding popcorn, but then what? (Sad, I know, that I don’t even know how to make cornbread without instructions.)

    Recent discovery: Wash and chop potatoes. Boil in water aprox 10 minutes. Drain. Fry in butter, seasoning as desired. Homefries?

    I’m fairly certain that boiled potatoes are smooshed with a little milk and butter into mashed potatoes. My mom always made mashed potatoes from a box, so this is new territory for me! [shaking head]

  4. MEAon 16 Oct 2023 at 9:56 am

    You can roast them in the oven. Just prick the skins and shove them in — you don’t need foil and skewers and all that stuff.

    You can roast them in the microwave.

    Your are dead on about mashed pototoes. You can add cheese if you like, and salt, and they are okay without the milk and butter, but nicer, IMO.

    You can fry them mashed or parpoiled.

    You can make soup out them with just about anything.

    You can mash them and top a meat or veg pie.

    You can put them in stew.

    You can boil them with very little water and some greens and mash that together.

    You can make pankcakes of them them with an egg or two, a little flour and fry them in fat. You have to grate them first, and then wring them out in a tea towel. You get potatoes starch in the liquid, which you can use to thick soups.

    I put them in sitr-fry, even though they are a new world veg.

    You can’t, however, have the kilted doomer man — I gave myself 4 extra points. 1 for spelling my name right and 3 for inviting relatives I don’t like to my little doomstead in the ‘burbs. That’s why I win him.


  5. Julieon 16 Oct 2023 at 10:09 am

    Have you tried potato gnocchi? With just about any sauce, but my personal favourite is pesto. I get slightly plump just thinking about how many I can eat.

  6. MEAon 16 Oct 2023 at 10:11 am

    No — my mother is British, in her 70s, and therefore I grew up very suspicious of any food that might taste good. How you make them.

  7. Sarahon 16 Oct 2023 at 10:40 am

    Mmmmm….gnocchi :-) Gnocchi are basically little noodle/dumplings made with potato in addition to the flour. They are amazing with Thai spicy basil sauce.

    We got Giant Leeks in our CSA share in addition to quite a few more potatoes, so I think it’s time for another round of potato-leek-fish chowder. Fry white parts of leeks in oil, add water, chopped potatoes, cook until potatoes are soft, add green parts of leeks, cook, add fish, cook. Season to taste :-) It can range from a fish soup with a bit of potato for creaminess to a potato-leek soup with a bit of fish for added protein and flavor. And you can add milk/cream if you want to go the more traditional chowdery route. Or omit the fish entirely, though then some actual veggie stock and/or other root vegetables to add to the potatoes are nice.

  8. Doc Bon 16 Oct 2023 at 10:56 am

    Chop up a strip of bacon and fry. Saute a small onion; add sliced potato and fry ’till about done, then add two eggs, just a half of one yolk if you wish.
    One of my favorite meals.

  9. Kate-Bon 16 Oct 2023 at 11:47 am

    Oats and other nutritious grain cereals such farina along with powdered milk are really good to donate to food pantries. I also think corn meal (polenta), rices and dried beans are great ideas. I know these are items I have found most valuable both nutrition-wise and stretching the farthest.

  10. Red Emmaon 16 Oct 2023 at 12:15 pm

    My husband spent twenty years picking up matchbooks at every restaurant he ever ate at. Now he is housebound, but we still have enough matches that, if the human race loses the ability to make fire, we’ve got it made.

  11. Julieon 16 Oct 2023 at 12:22 pm


    Try this one, and don’t worry about how they look, hers always look better than mine (ain’t that always the case) but even ugly they taste good.

  12. Going Green Mamaon 16 Oct 2023 at 1:18 pm

    Great post! And very timely. I don’t think people realize that if a child is out for a flu for a week, and it can incubate for a week, your family could effectively be “shut down” for 2 weeks!

  13. Erikaon 16 Oct 2023 at 1:41 pm

    YEA! I need this… especially after “the checklist!” Thanks, Sharon!

    As for what to do with potatoes, a few of my favorites:

    The really small ones/fingerlings - boil them in really salty water, serve them seasoned to taste (I put pepper and a drizzle of rosemary-infused oil, hubby puts a thai seasoning mix).

    Breakfast: chop up into pieces about the size of a dice, or a bit bigger, then sautee in a bit of oil. Once the potatoes are brown on a couple sides, toss in some water (I start with a few tablespoons in a serving for 2-3) and cover with a well-fitting lid to steam. Stir up, and repeat, if potatoes aren’t tender yet. Once tender, sautee a bit longer, add spices (I use fresh herbs, a finely diced and partly seeded hot pepper), then add a few eggs and misc. vegis (e.g. left over steamed vegis, frozen vegis, etc.) and scramble together… MMMMM…

    Power Outage comfort food: prick with fork, wrap in foil, throw in fire. Move around every few minutes, check occasionally for tenderness, even better if sliced and coarsely chopped garlic and herbs added before heating.


  14. NMon 16 Oct 2023 at 1:50 pm

    Alexa, another favorite potato recipe, if you also have broccoli; broccoli-stuffed potatoes, from The New Laurel’s Kitchen.
    Bake potatoes (I like to rub the skins with a tiny dab of butter for crispness. Or in my case, dairy-free margarine). When they’re done, cool a little (or wear potholders!), cut them in half and scoop the insides out into a bowl. Meanwhile you’ve steamed some broccoli until very tender but still bright green. Put the broccoli in with the potato innards, salt, pepper, butter, a little grated sharp cheddar if you want it (good without cheese, too), and mash it all together. Scoop it back into the potato skins. Make enough to have leftovers, because they reheat well.
    Also, to the basic home fries recipe you mentioned, you can add onions, cabbage, diced pumpkin, etc.; it’s very flexible. You can also use it to stuff an omelet.

  15. Tammy and Parkeron 16 Oct 2023 at 3:16 pm

    I use my giant salsa and applesauce pan and fill it with peeled chunks of potatoes……just like usual for making mashed potatoes, except on enough to feed an army scale.

    Then when done I just make up batches of mashed potatoes using butter, cream cheese, whatever you love the best. Pot the mashed potatoes into a baggie……and freeze.

    When you want to use them, let them thaw, pop them into the micro wave and ta-da! Your mashed potatoes are done! Yum!

  16. ceceliaon 16 Oct 2023 at 3:25 pm

    slice potatoes, put on cookie sheet, drizzle with olive oil, some sea salt and a dozen garlic cloves. Bake til crispy. MMM good!

    Sharon - this is a great idea - thanks.

  17. Julieon 16 Oct 2023 at 3:44 pm

    Together we know a heck of a lot about how to cook potatoes, how could we think they are boring?

  18. Sharonon 16 Oct 2023 at 4:24 pm

    I love potatoes - I figure that they grow really well here, so I’ll be eating a lot of them after the zombies, so I might as well enjoy them now! Alexa, how about latkes? Grate the potatoes with some onion and add an egg, salt and pepper, and fry them. Eat with sour cream/and/or/applesauce. Die happy of a heart attack ;-) .

    I really like the battle over kilted men ;-) . And Susan, that’s a good point - our shelters and food pantries always need it desperately, but do check.


  19. Someone You Knowon 16 Oct 2023 at 8:42 pm

    Sharon and Others,

    I would suggest storing your matches in a fire-proof container. I use a small US military 30 caliber ammo can for my stach of matches. They are easy to open and close, but a child will have a hard time opening one.

    About 2500 wooden matches will fit in one of the small cans. If you store the paper matches, you can get about 5000 matches in one ammo can.

    The ammo can will cost 10 to 15 bucks, plus shipping. Wooden matches (stike-on-the-box) cost a buck on sale same for the paper matches. If you’re on a budget, use a round metal cookie tin and, like Red Emma’s husband, pick them up when you find them for free.

  20. knutty knitteron 16 Oct 2023 at 8:44 pm

    Frilly t shirt necks and holed out elbows are de rigeur round here male wise. Always pays to inspect before meeting important clients!

    I like my potatoes either baked crispy with chili sauce and butter/cheese or made into mountains by mashing with grated cheese and onion and a large handful of chopped parsley with just a touch of cayenne to bring out the flavour.

    viv in nz

  21. kimion 16 Oct 2023 at 9:37 pm

    I love the idea of a simple weekly list - I am going to add the items mentioned above to my grocery list right now. Thank you

  22. Kathy AOon 17 Oct 2023 at 6:50 am

    Yummy potatoes - throw the small ones (try to get them the same size) into a pot, cover with water, throw in some salt. Boil until the water is gone. Devour! Thanks, Crunchy Chicken! We eat them all the time this way now! They’re like tender, moist baked potatoes with crispy, salty skins, but you don’t have to heat up the oven for an hour.

    Also potato leek soup is on the docket this week, fry up chopped leeks, boil with potatoes, blenderize. Pop back in the pot, salt and pepper, add herbs like parsley and thyme, add milk or cream to taste, warm but don’t boil.

    Mashed potatoes covered with chili and cheese.

    Thanks for the match storage idea, Someone.

  23. Susan in NJon 17 Oct 2023 at 8:33 am

    I love potatoes and just got my winter 50#. My favorite company potato meal is carrot potato soup and stuffed mushrooms. I stuff the mushrooms with the peels that stay on the top of the food mill along with other good things.
    As for the kilted doomer man, he sounds good but I’ll take my samurai guy (and that’s not settling) at least as long as we’ve still got rice.

  24. ctdaffodilon 17 Oct 2023 at 8:39 am

    I keep my paper matches in a clean salsa jar -

    Sharon - I love your idea of retail therapy…its like a true treasure hunt that way. Have you noticed that the prices at your GoodWill are getting kinda high though? Ours have - I can get new shirts for the boys at the local outlet mall for the same price. I’ve had really good luck at the Salvation Army lately - got a new liz claiborne skirt for 3.99 and a new purse for 2.99 - how could I ask for more of a great day!

    Taters - got that covered - my family likes it when I turn leftover mashed into a pancake… Saute onion in real butter until carmelized - mix in the left over mashed taters and then plop back into fry pan to brown up with more butter.

    Food Pantry - Ours in town won’t take infant formula either. They do take peanut butter - and have asked that no more dried or canned beans for a while. Ours wants juice boxes, dinty moore stew and low sodium soups, pasta and canned sauce (not jars). Last time I sent canned beans I also sent one of those veggetarian chili seasoning packs with it (put it all in a large ziplock bag together). They also like granola bars and cereal bars. Last year at one time they asked for people to stop donating pasta - Maybe they should have kept quiet and just given it to another food bank because they are desperate for pasta now.

    As for Popcorn - my kids are scouts so I spend the extra $ and get the plain popping corn from scouts. It comes in a nice little tin too so that really keeps it fresh - I could recycle and store my matches in one too.

  25. Beaweezilon 17 Oct 2023 at 11:40 am

    Funny thing is Sharon, I am struggling with a funk myself today and wandered over here to feel like I wasn’t alone. Thank you for the virtual company!

    Yesterday I spent some time and made tomato sauce with the huge basket of green tomatoes that was rapidly turning red. mmmmm

  26. Annon 17 Oct 2023 at 3:57 pm

    Potatos: We grow our own and share them with our ducks in the winter, so my method of cooking them is odd, but may help someone. I put several pounds at a time into a plastic tub of water with a few drops of dish detergent and let them soak about an hour to loosen soil and soften any scab. Any rottens go into the compost. Then I rub them around in the tub, dump the water outside [too much soil for the drain], and fill with more water. I may repeat a few times until the water runs clear. Sometimes crevasses need a bit of the back of the fingernail to get out soil. When clean and rinsed, I wrap them wet into a large kitchen towel, rolling into a large sausage. I put the sausage into a plastic grocery bag, and the potatos sit in the cold pantry until I’m ready to cook some. I fill a very large pyrex bowl with potatos, cover with plastic wrap, and microwave about 10 + 10 + 8 minutes, stirring them in between. I cool down with the wrap on. Then I put a plastic grocery bag on the counter with 2 pieces of newspaper on top, put in a few cooked potatos, and start to pull the bag up so as to have a newspaper-lined bag. I usually drink any water in the bottom of the bowl. I may use what I need right then. The rest go into the cold pantry until needed. We use the perfect potatos and chop the scabby, wormy, or blemished ones for the ducks every morning with their poultry mash, pumpkin and squash scraps, and dregs from the hard cider. They love the potatos and eat them first, so we make sure they don’t get too many [most critters will over eat potatos if they can get them]. For ourselves, I may mash the cold potatos, by themselves or with other veggies, and heat them with butter or cream [like colcannon]. I may fry or saute them with onion, with or without meat, eggs, other veggies [hash]. Or sliced into a baking dish layered with onions, etc, and filled with olive oil and cream, with or without cheese on top [scalloped]. It’s all so quick with cooked potatos available. Quick is all I have available on a week day. All three methods are delicious and cause my husband ecstasy.

  27. Gailon 18 Oct 2023 at 9:08 am

    And what about popcorn??? Crazy for Corn is the cookbook of choice. Betty Fussell the author. I found it at the library and then purchased it online. Corn is the local grain of the New World. So, I haven’t tried it yet but pop the corn and grind it up for flour in your mill… popcorn flour.

    I am the proud mama of an agronomist who did her Master’s on native corns. And then she brought home the research!

  28. sealanderon 18 Oct 2023 at 3:52 pm

    Hedgehog potatoes are very popular at our place…..slice washed potatoes into big chunks, then make a series of slices on the top of the chunk almost all the way through. Roast cut side up in a little olive oil, toss with herbs and salt when done. The cut area goes slightly crunchy and the rest of the chunk is meltingly roasted. They’re good cold the next day too.

  29. Alanon 19 Oct 2023 at 12:36 am

    Like to get a potato bargain? The Potato Promotion Association has a rebate offer running from the beginning of October until the middle of November for residents of Florida, Missouri, New York and Oregon. Buy three 5 pound bags of potatoes and get a rebate of the value of one bag. Download the rebate form from: Their site has a bunch of good potato recipes, too.

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