Saturday, November 10, 2012

What Meats Will Meet Your Needs?


In setting up your food storage, a tough area to address is meat. When I started this series, I stopped because I wasn't certain how to address this myself along with the fact that I had changed my mind a few times about how I was going to address this area.

The best way to address the issue of meat in your food storage is to understand that you will need a few different plans. You have heard of others saying back-ups to back-ups to back-ups? In this case, they are absolutely right.

I know others who will say that you do not necessarily need to have meat in your food storage plan and that you will need to replace meat with other healthy proteins or go meatless. While I do encourage a few meatless meals a week, I do not believe meat is totally replaceable in the food storage plan. Meat is too valuable of a resource of necessary protein to give up eating altogether.

My first plan for meats to keep my chest freezer full of them. In fact, as of this being written, I have very little room for more. What a wonderful problem to have! I buy my meat directly from the producer and normally buy a half of beef once a year, several chickens, chicken breasts, a half of pork, and a few turkeys. I do like to keep ground turkey on hand also as cheaper alternative to ground beef and to stretch the ground beef I have on hand.

I could stop at this plan and be done, but while I think this is wonderful to have a full freezer and be in the position I could justify getting another freezer, problems can and do arise with my Plan A. Freezers fail. You could lose power for several days and lose everything in the freezer.

While I know (and a tip for you) a freezer only needs to be plugged in for four hours a day to stay frozen along with putting layers of blankets on top to keep the freezer cold, a possibility occurs to lose everything. So what is the next plan?

The next plan for me splits off into two plans that are equally valuable as well as viable. Plan B is to keep shelf stable meat products in my food storage. Canned chicken, tuna packets, canned corned beef, real bacon bits, and canned ham all have a place in my food storage. These are things I believe I will use and do use on a regular basis. As always, you need to keep what you will use. By having these items on hand, I could leave the freezer alone and keep the cold inside undisturbed.

Plan C is to can my own meat which I have been doing a little of myself. If you have a pressure canner and jars, you can do this yourself too. I highly recommend the Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving. This is a fantastic resource for anyone canning or learning how to can. They do tell you how to can meats. I started out learning how to can chicken since chicken is something I use a lot in my one-dish meals.

Also with canning your meats, if you think you might lose your freezer for any reason, you may be able to save a good deal of your meat by canning it instead of letting the meat go to waste. Learning how to can meat is definitely a skill you would want to have.

Do I have a Plan D? Not exactly. Plan D is going to involve learning things I have not learned yet. I want to learn other ways to preserve meat whether that is making jerky or drying the meat, curing meat, smoking meat, and salt packing meat for storage. These are all necessary skills that I need to learn.

I also need to learn to hunt for times when meat may be too expensive for me to buy for my family. Hunting is my Plan E, but if I don't really know how, this plan becomes impractical. Hunting for me does not only mean being able to bring down the animal, but to skin, gut, and dress the animal. Again, these are all necessary skills that I need to learn.

So far, this is my plans for addressing meat in my food storage as well as what I keep on hand. Again, I had to look at the possibilities with something that needs a little different attention than other food storage items.

How do you plan to address meat in your food storage? Do you have different plans that will take you through emergencies and other situations that may be out of your control?

Thanks for reading,
Erica


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