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Food Shopping Tips
by Sally Strackbein

The standard advice on emergency preparation is to buy what you eat and eat what you buy. I don't know about other people, but my shopping cart always held fresh vegetables, fruits and fresh fish, meat and poultry.

I tried to simulate my normal purchases by buying the canned equivalent. It didn't work! I love fresh carrots, but canned ones are very strong tasting. So are other canned vegetables. I found that using canned mixed vegetables doesn't overwhelm my dishes like some vegetables do. Canned chicken and turkey did not taste good in my standard, fresh food dishes. I need to find other recipes

If you don't normally buy canned food, you really need to do some taste testing before you stock up. Use your grandmother's recipes, if you have them. Our grandparents didn't get fresh produce in winter, so they were gourmet chefs with canned food. If your grandmother is still alive, ask her for her recipes.

Size of Cans
I started out buying huge cans. Big cans only make sense if you will be feeding a large group. I did some price comparisons and discovered that I didn't save that much by buying large cans. You don't want leftovers if you don't have refrigeration.

Deciding What to Buy
A lot of recipes call for egg noodles. Egg noodles take up a lot of space compared to plain spaghetti. A box cake takes up more room than the equivalent amount of flour. Try to purchase items that don't take up a lot of room.

Canned food and packaged food varies enormously in price. Warehouse stores give great values on just about everything. But you can actually do better if you watch the sales. My rule of thumb is that if a can of vegetables or beans that I need is less than 50 cents I buy it. Sometimes you can get them for 4 for a dollar. I look for half price sales. You can get good buys at places like WalMart, Target and drug stores too. Dollar stores frequently have good emergency preparedness values.

Meats and Meals
You'll go broke if you try to buy complete meals in cans or boxes. Buy chili, stews, soups, raviolis and meats and stretch them with inexpensive vegetables, potatoes, hominy, rice or pasta.

Remember to buy tea, coffee, cocoa, spices, dried onions and garlic, baking powder, salt, etc. Be sure to include food for your pets.

It is extremely important for you to buy vitamins.


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