As young newlyweds living in a small apartment, my husband and I struggled to find enough space to keep all of our food storage items we started to slowly accumulate. Finances were tight with just my husband working while I stayed at home and prepared for the birth of our daughter. My solution was to store what I could at the time — water. When we occasionally bought soda at the grocery store for a treat, I made a habit of washing out the 2-liter plastic soda bottles and filling them up with clean drinking water from the tap in our apartment. It seemed a little ridiculous to be storing such small amounts of water, but I figured every little bit helped us to meet our goal of having adequate food storage that included some extra water just in case. Months later, massive forest fires in the area we were living forced firefighters to temporarily divert all water to putting out the fires around the homes in the mountains around us. We awoke one Sunday morning to having the water in our apartment completely shut off! Fortunately we were able to take care of personal hygiene like brushing our teeth and had water to drink that morning while we were getting ready to go to church because we just got out one of our soda bottles of water in the back of our closet. When we got to church we were visiting with the missionaries in our area who also lived in our apartment complex. Their water had also been diverted to combat the fires. One of the missionaries had been unable to rinse the shampoo out of his hair in the shower because their water had been cut off while he was in the shower. We were all fortunate enough that our water was restored later that day for us to suffer really no big inconvenience, but my husband and I were glad that we had our little supply of clean drinking water so we didn’t have to purchase water on Sunday or go without.
We have since moved and bought our first home in the Southern Central Valley of California. We have been excited to plant fruit trees in our yard and have a lemon tree, peach tree, nectarine tree, apple tree, cherry tree, and two plum trees. This year we got to plant a garden and have been blessed with an abundance of tomatoes that we were able to eat without worrying about getting salmonella because of the FDA’s caution about eating certain kinds of tomatoes. My daughter, who is almost three, loves to pick “matoes” as she calls them and go out and look for green beans. I’m planning on taking a gardening class at our local county extension office to learn how to better utilize our garden.
This last year for Christmas my parents gave us a pressure cooker that I’m learning how to use to can and preserve our own foods. I asked for some brand new mason jars and hope to can my own meat as I can find it on sale. My ward has offered classes and information through our Relief Society and it’s been fun to share recipes with some of the other ladies that incorporate basic pantry items that store well on the shelf. Last summer I canned peaches with my mom and we enjoyed eating them for an entire year after the peaches were long gone from their peach tree.
It’s nice knowing that if I don’t make it to the grocery store that our pantry is stocked with food that we enjoy eating and that my family isn’t going to go hungry if I can’t make it to the market or our budget is a little tighter one month. Our food storage is by no means complete or where it should be with a year’s supply of food yet, but we keep on working on it because we believe in the principle.