Daily Prompt Food for the Soul: Afraid of My Food Storage

Skull & Crossbones 5

As a member of the Mormon church, I am encouraged to be self-reliant. We’re told we should have a 48 hour emergency kit, as well as a year’s worth of food storage. I like this idea, and have assembled a killer 48 hour kit.  If there’s an emergency, I am packed and ready to go at a moment’s notice. On the other hand, storing a years worth of food is a little more complicated.

First let me say that I don’t actually have enough food to last  a year. I do have quite a bit though, and while there’s a certain feeling of security in knowing  its available . . . there’s also a dark side (insert scary organ music). To make this system work, you have to rotate the old items to the front, and I’ve been rather lax about that. In fact, I was poking around down in the basement the other day, and discovered that a few,well some, O.K., a lot of my canned goods are past thier prime.

Now I’ve read the food safety guidelines, and know you don’t have to throw stuff out the day it expires.  land before time Unfortunately some of my cans have reached, er exceeded their expiration date. All right, all right, some of my food dates back to the Land Before Time!  There, I said it. A Cro-Magnon family might easily have  dined on my fruit cocktail.

I know, I know, I should get rid of this stuff, but hey, I spent a lot of money on it.  Wouldn’t it be wasteful to just throw it away.? And on the practical side, in  event of an emergency,  expired food would be better than no food, right? Honestly, how bad could it  be?

By way of experiment, I went  to my storage room and retrieved a can of expired green beans.  There were no bulges in the can or other tell-tail signs of botulism.  I got the can opener, and with some trepidation began to crank open the can. Expecting any moment to be assaulted with the sulfurous smell of decaying food, I was pleasantly surprised.  No oder at all, unless you count the smell of canned green beans.

They also looked just fine. I picked some up with a fork and examined them carefully. They were green and perfectly normal in appearance.  Hmmm, I wonder how they taste?  I slowly raised the fork to my lips . . .  and . . . just kidding!  I’m not insane. Just because the beans smelled, looked and possibly tasted O.K. doesn’t mean they weren’t harboring invisible food poisoning microbes.  I have no time in my life for a potentially fatal, paralytic illness. No,The sensible thing to do is clear out all the scary stuff, and start using and replacing my food storage like I should have done in the first place.

But what to do with the old items? I just need to think outside of the box/can. I once saw a book about crafting with cat hair, and a woman on the Today Show made sculptures out  of dryer lint. In light these shining examples, surely I can put expired food to good use. How about  placing cases of chili under my bed in place of a bed frame ?

I could donate cans to college students or newly weds to prop up their book shelves. Or maybe some Andy Warholien art project?

Hmm, I’m sure I’m missing an obvious solution. Aha! EBay!  People will buy anything on eBay.  I recently heard about a dietary fad that touts the benefits of fermented food.  Maybe I should market to that group. Or collectors,  people collect some pretty weird things, surely someone wants a case of 1920’s Campbell’s vegetable soup,  How about antique dealers! Now there’s an idea – classic, no vintage food, “like fine wine it improves with age”.  Suddenly, I’m not afraid anymore. In fact,I may be sitting on a gold mine. Eureka!

But wait, before I get too carried away, I feel I should do my duty to my fellow bloggers. That’s right, I’m giving you my friends, first dibs on this amazing product! What? You already have enough expired food? Oh, well, O.K. here’s another idea – I’ve got this bridge I could get you a deal on . . .



29 thoughts on “Daily Prompt Food for the Soul: Afraid of My Food Storage

  1. Thanks for the link. A friend of mine was married to an Indian and his mother said the best rice is old rice. Keep it sealed in a tin and on a special occasion open the tin and cook it Unfortunately the rice did not remain alone…. ok I will stop now, but it is not to be advised.

    • I don’t know, If I’m worried about eating it I’d feel kind of bad giving it to someone else. But the whole issue may be null and void now. Check out “The Rest of the Story,” tomorrow.

    • This is very interesting. Maybe I should keep my old food after all. Want to come over for dinner?
      Anyway, I’m going to reefrence your NPR story in tomorrows – The Rest of The Story – post. Thanks for a great follow up.

  2. Hey- Just read your comments about expired canned food. You know, I have been meaning to talk to you about that, but didn’t want to be a nosy Mom telling you what you should know already!! Just kidding. Great story. Love you. Mom

  3. Oh, I have this problem too. I don’t have nearly enough stockpiled for a year, but enough for a few weeks. Problem is I never rotate it. I keep telling myself I need to do that and then I do something else, like sit on the couch and watch TV.

    I have no suggestions other than compost? BTW, I love your description of opening the beans. I felt like I was right there with you, but I might have tasted them… or given them to the hubby to try. He’s tough. 🙂

    • Hi Jennifer, have I mentioned lately that you crack me up? I too have multiple things I need to do. I often think about them as I sit on the couch and watch T.V.
      (I’m a little concerned about your hubby. Shall I slip him a note and tell him to beware of the canned green beans?)

  4. You know, most of that stuff has so much preservative in it, it will NEVER spoil.

    I find things in the back of my fridge that have grown feet and are trying to run away. I can’t even remember what it used to be!

  5. I think you may be right about the preservatives. Another blogging friend sent me an article in response to this, that has changed my mind about getting rid of this stuff. I’ll post it tomorrow.

      • Actually there were people eating people in the movie, but this isn’t the idea 🙂
        In his journey with his son, they came by an abandoned house under which they found a food store full of canned food among other products that could suffice them for a really long time. Ever since I saw the movie I have wondered why were those people storing all of this food until I read your post 😉

  6. Pingback: Food Storage – The Rest of the Story | The Library Lady and Rosie Bear

  7. Exactly, did you read the article that one of my other blogger friends sent me? I posted it today. It’s called “Don’t fear old food.” I’ve decided to hang on to mine a little bit longer. Don’t think I’ll watch The Road though.

      • O.K. here’s the long answer:
        Have you been following the situation with the typhoon in the Philippines? Right now there are millions of people without acess to food and water, and It usually takes a few days for outside help to get in. I’ve seen aerial photos of the damage, and the area is a horrible mess . . . but there are still buildings standing. If by chance my house was not completely destroyed in a natural disaster, I’d have enough food, clean water and firewood to manage for several weeks. If all my neighbors are similarly prepared, we may not die while waiting for help to come. Finally, if at all possible, I want to be the person helping, rather than the one waiting to be helped.
        Now for the short answer. The prophet of our church has advised that we prepare for emergencies. I’ve prayed about this and feel it is wise counsel, so I do as he asks.

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