This work is dedicated to all those who love this earth and want to give back to her as well as to receive her bounty.

How Much Do You Need to Eat?

From the lists that you made, you should have some idea of what you eat. It is important to store what you will actually eat. Too many people buy something on sale or something that they think that they might want to eat if they are hungry enough. Studies in the UK show that this is just not true. Even under diress, people are less likely to eat foods that they do not like.

The same is true with a garden. There is no reason to grow stuff that you will not eat, except to use for trade. Trading zucchini is not going to happen, so if you don't like zucchini, don't plant it! I'm going to use the three people on the previous page as examples of how much food/space/storage is needed. One is a typical SAD American, one is a typical vegetarian male, and the last is a female on a raw diet, mostly vegan. Here is the table again:

Food Product Average AdultVegetarian MaleRaw Food Female
Total Pounds Consumed 227017051345
Meat, Dairy 11238540
Nuts/Grains/Legumes 210930115
Fruits, Veggies 7116501170
Total Fats (added) 683020
Total Sweeteners 158100

The ideal storage diet is for the vegetarian male. The ideal garden/permaculture diet is for the raw food female, although the vegetarian male can also be supported with a garden of larger size. The average person is going to be dependent upon a freezer but can support this diet through the use of stored foods and a garden. Let's take a closer look.

The first table shows what meat and dairy products you could store in cans to be used for a year. If they have the space, many people store this much, not because they fear the end of the world, but because of unknowns. One woman was sick and lost a year on her job. She was able to eat what she had stored without worrying about the cost. When she went back to work, she replaced her cans. It is best to rotate you cans, so buy what you will use. Canned meats have come a long way from Spam and corned beef products. They are certainly good enough for most stews, soups and recipies that call for meat in chunks. Ceratinly having a case of cans around is a good rule for times when you can't get to the store or you're snowed in. The down side with cans is that you cannot transport them easily. And yes, I think you can find canned eggs, but I'm not sure it's worth it. You can use the dried ones for cooking.

Food Product Average AdultVegetarian MaleRaw Food Female
Canned Beef & Pork 135 (28oz) cans (12 cases)00
Canned Poultry 36 (28ox) cans (3 cases)10 cans0
Canned Fish 40 (6 oz) cans (6-7 cases)40 cans0
Canned Milk 300 (14oz) cans60 boxes rice milk0
Canned Cheese 70 (8 oz) cans (6 cases)36 cans0
Canned Butter 6 (8 oz) cans6 cans0

Dried foods come in all shapes and sizes. If you buy jerky, get it from a reputable person and not the stuff in the stores that is loaded down with salt. Dried foods such as macaroni and cheese would count. If you know your kids wiould eat that (or you) get it and keep it on hand. When storing dried foods, they keep best if stored in another container, either a trash can or a freezer. Even if the freezer dies, your food will be safe. The only problem with storing in the freezer is to make sure that the food is in bags that are air tight. When the freezer thaws, the humidity will go way up and your food will get wet. Dried food is the best thing to have on hand in case you have to move. Yes, you will have to deal with water, but some foods, like dried fruit, can be eaten out of hand. Keep some of all kinds of food, to provide variety and to pick and chose if you know you will be relocated because of a flood or fire. There are hundreds of books on how to store what. I am introducing you to storage here, but I talk later about what kinds of foods to store. Rather than go into all the variations of dried meals here, I will just use dried meats and cheese and eggs. The jerky will take one pound of meat and become 1/3 pound of jerky. The raw foods person cannot buy dried eggs--dried eggs are cooked. So the 312 eggs at 40 pounds, would have to go out of the raw foodist's diet without access to chickens. I've subbed in rice for the vegetarian's rice milk, but you could also sub in milk products.

Food Product Average AdultVegetarian MaleRaw Food Female
Red Meat Jerky 79 lbs 314 bags00
Jerked Poultry 24 lbs 93 bags6 pounds0
Jerked Fish 5 lbs5 lbs5 lbs
Dried Milk 50 ounces/3 lbs30 lbs rice0
Wheels of Cheese varies 30 lbs50 lbs0
Dried eggs 4 (14oz) packages00

I recommend keeping a variety of foods on hand, canned, dried and some even frozen. If you have the room and the money, every time you buy one product that will keep, buy two. Gradually then you will build up a stock of goods. Be sure to cycle through them. This is why it's really important to only get what you will use. If that is macaroni and cheese, buy macaroni and cheese. In an emergency or if you are sick, you do not want to be changing foods or trying something new.

When we were growing up, we could not afford to eat much beef. The two "poor" people's foods are pork and chicken. However, many families today are eating chicken instead of beef for health reasons. I think being average means that you could sub out the much of the red meet category and put it into the chicken category. Familes with children find that they eat way more eggs and milk products than meat. Rather than switching the kids to meat, it is an option to just keep them on a vegetarian diet. The reason for this is that so much of the practice of growing cheap meat is very unhealthy. Of course, organic, range-fed beef is way, way different from lot-fed beef. People prefer lot-fed beef, but range fed is three times as high in Omega-3 fatty acids and loaded with beta-carotene, which is what gives the fat the unappealing yellowish color. If you do one thing for your health, going organic and paying the extra price will save you money on medical bills. I'm going to tell you over and over to eat better food, not more of cheap, bad food.

The next category of food products are already dry. The average person will store flour and pasta products as well as canned beans. My recommendation is always to store dry, whole food whenever possible. If you learn any cooking skills, it might be best to learn how to make bread, mill your own flour, and make your own pasta. Milled flour and pasta will go bad much faster than whole wheat berries. But it's better to have flour on hand than try to store bread, which can only be frozen. If you are average and want one skill, learn to make bread. That skill alone will save you a bundle of money on your food bill. It's easy to also make pasta and pizza dough. Anything you can make from scratch will save you money. Most people would never consider milling their own flour with a hand mill, but there are excellent hand mills that are great to have on hand if you have the space in your kitchen. I recommend trying to keep hand operated tools for every electric one you have. Mortars and pestles are great to have, in all sizes. We used to do most things by hand. It was a social thing where the girls (or boys) helped to crack nuts for cookies, or mashed stuff up in the mortar and pestle. It's a good way to involve children in cooking. So, our category of Nuts, Grains and Legumes would stay the same as it is on the top page. Don't buy extra bread more than a couple of weeks out. If you want something on hand, buy crackers. Raw foodists should buy nuts in the shell; the average person can buy them roasted, or raw in the shell. Raw and shelled, they go rancid too quickly. Freeze them. Here is our chart--cut in half for water for the dried beans and grains.

Food Product Average AdultVegetarian MaleRaw Food Female
Nuts & Seeds 33075
Grains 1002005
Legumes 725015

One way you can experiment if you are average (sorry to keep using that word!) is to try to make some caseroles and dishes using whole wheat berries like rice. They also go well in soups. Same with barely and rye. Whole wheat dishes are very filling. If you have a teenager who is eating you out of house and home, an inexpensive way to feed them is to make up dishes with whole grains. I made one dish with lentils, wheat berries and spaghetti sauce that was actually good and very filling. Experiment! Get a book on cooking with whole grains. They are less expensive than meat and a great way to get nutrition. Be cautious at first though. Some people are allergic to wheat or may have trouble digesting it and legumes, even lentils or split peas.

Fruits and Vegetables

Storing meats, cheeses, nuts, grains and legumes is straighforward. Humans have been doing it for years and years, basically all of civilization. The focus of this work is on fruits and vegetables with some notes on dried nuts, seeds, grains and legumes. If you are the average American, or the average vegetarian, most of your diet will consist of meats (legumes) and bread products. Dairy and eggs will also play a part. Most Americans, both meat-eaters and vegetarians, cook most of their food. Even books on permaculture are aimed at growing roots, tubers and seeds that will be cooked.

For the raw foodist, most storage options are out, as well as most food products. Many common garden vegetables are also out. But before I get into gardening, I want to take a look again at the vegetable/fruit requirements for the average person and the average vegetarian and explore storage and garden needs.

Let's take a better look at the USDA tables for fruits and vegetables:

Food Product Average AdultVegetarian MaleRaw Food Female
Total Fruit 298100520
Total Fresh Fruit (some juices) 13350500
Total Processed Fruit (some juice) 1655020

Food Product Average AdultVegetarian MaleRaw Food Female
Total Juice 205500
Orange Juice 84500
Apple Juice 2200
Other Juice 9900

Food Product Average AdultVegetarian MaleRaw Food Female
Total Canned Fruit 1300
Apple Sauce 500
Peaches 400
Pears 400
Chutneys, Jams 440
Raisins, Dried Fruit 8020

Food Product Average AdultVegetarian MaleRaw Food Female
Total Fresh Fruit 133100500
Melons 581050
Citrus 353525
Bananas 310100
Apples 195100
Plums, Pears, Peaches, etc 10050
Berries, Grapes, Kiwis 630100
Dates, Persimmons, Other 3075

It's important to remember that these two tables show food poundage at the check-out line. Garden poundage will be more, and what is actually eaten is less.

From this table it is obvious that even the raw foodist is dependent upon trucking and the shipment of tropical food into the country. This is worse in Northern Europe and Canada where the seasons are even shorter. I'm not against the shipment of food, per se. I'm against it being abused, such as shipping subsidized food into countries to undermine their own economies, or the abuse of large conglomerates who ship food from California to Florida because it's cheaper than the locals eating Florida food, which all goes to New York. I'm also against the shipment of food in from countries where it is grown and harvested much more cheaply so that it can be sold in the States for cheap enough that it looks like bananas are a good deal. But, let's face it. Apples are only available for 6 months, tops. If we trade with Chile, they are available year round. Some people oppose eating out of season, others say that it's not a problem as long as the food is organic and Fair Trade. But it's good practice to eat as locally as possible.

This goes for meats and other foods as well. Meat grown in Brazil is so cheap that the fast food industry uses it, shipped and frozen. If you buy local meat, organically grown, it's better for you, better for the economy, and better for the world ecological situation. However, even with root cellars and other low tech storage, the raw foodist would have to rely upon dried fruit for a good part of the year if there was no world trade. Also note that most vegetarians eat much more fruit than this "average" man. Children eat more fruit, adults tend not to unless fruit is in the form of juices or salads. Part of the problem with eating as much fruit as is recommended by the food pyramid is that there is a cultural "child-behavior" taboo in eating peaches and apples and other finger food in public.

It's pretty easy to store fruit. Juices come canned and bottled, kids love dried fruit which is great for pies and other cooked deserts like fruit breads. Most people in old times put up their fruit by canning it. Much fruit will keep for a time, but usually not longer than a couple of months at the most. Even kiwi fruits are taken out of special storage at the grocery distributors and sold before they turn to mush. Apples will store about 3 months, but are usually pretty soft by that time. I'm a fan of drying, which is easy to take if you have to leave your home. If you have kids, make them up packages of jerky, fruit and nuts for them to take if you have to relocate to temporary quarters, even grandma's. If they are used to eating it, it will be comfort food for them.

Food Product Average AdultVegetarian MaleRaw Food Female
Total Vegetables 413650650
Fresh Veggies 192400650
Processed Veggies 2201500
Potatoes 156500
Tomato Sauce 63600
Green Veggies 44150400
Iceberg on Sandwiches 2500
Corn (not in chips) 30500
Orange Veggies 2210150

Most people eat cooked vegetables; most carrots, celery and onions go into soup mixes as a basic stock (with chicken usually). Most average Americans eat their greens as spinach, their fresh vegetables as a slice of tomato and lettuce on a sandwich, and the bulk of their vegetables as starches like potatoes and corn. More people are eating salads than ever before, yet the bulk of vegetables comes on a plate at dinner time. If you want to get more vegetables into your diet, this book is for you. The bulk of the following pages are going to deal with vegetables: mostly growing and cooking them.

Vegetables are not easy to store. Most people can them to save on the electric bill that it takes to freeze them. In the event of a power shortage, frozen vegetables are going to be awful after they begin to rot. You can go a long way with dehyrated vegetbles, especially for soups and stews, but they are expensive. However, this is where a garden can save you money and make your life much more stable in case of problems with the economy. In temperate neighborhoods with many families, all summer long people grow gardens and swap vegetables.

This book is about eating better quality food for less money, storing food against an emergency, but more so about growing quality vegetables, foraging for fresh vegetables in an emergency, and what to do with those vegetables when you harvest them.

© 2008, A.R. Stone

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