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Food Storage Tips: Store what you eat; eat what you store: The controversy

I know people who bought food storage in the 70s, let it sit in their garages for 20+ years, and then throw it all away. You probably know of people who have done the same thing.

Food storage experts saw the same thing. The waste is painful to observe. From these experiences the experts started citing the adage “store what you eat and eat what you store.”

This advice makes sense to me, and I have tried to follow it. We use most of the items in our storage regularly. There are a few exceptions, but most of our storage is rotated within a few years.

But then—

Last spring, I went to the Lindon, Utah cannery to replace some of our wheat. At the bottom of the order form, it had some questions and answers about food storage. It said specifically that members should not be counseled to “store what you eat; eat what you store” in regards to long term food storage.

I thought about it, and realized I had never heard that counsel from official church sources. A quick search of lds.org reveals only one hit for “store what you eat,” and that is in an answer to “I have a question” in the New Era from 1984.

“Store what you eat; eat what you store” is good counsel for the three-month supply currently recommended by the church. But I think the church is saying that this constraint should not keep you from storing in inexpensive long-term storage foods, even if you don’t foresee yourself using those foods. Eventually, gradually, you can learn how to use them if you have them. And if you store them well, they should last a long time. We once got 30-year-old hand-me-down wheat that made bread just like the fresh wheat.

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