Food Storage and My New Rule of 12

Wow. What a summer. Looking back, I can’t help but think of that person who walked away from her office cubicle on June 4th, scared and unsure of herself. I’m still pretty scared, but I’m becoming just a tiny bit more sure of myself as the months go by.

The thing that has me worried at the moment is the thought of our first winter on one income. This is going to be a huge change for us, and I feel an almost gutteral urgency to be prepared. So, food storage has been top of mind for the past several weeks. I’ve always stored a little – a hobby canner, if you will. But now I know I’m going to have to really feed my family with my stored provisions, and the weight of that was kind of crushing me…until I wrapped my head around it and made a plan.

See, I’m a planner. A goal setter. A total Type A. That’s why I’ve been out of my mind in recent months as my whole life has turned upside down. Without a plan, I get lost, overwhelmed, totally stressed out, and oddly enough, 100% unproductive. When there’s too much to do, I do nothing, and this whole food storage thing felt like too, too much.

Hence, my new Rule of 12. 

Food Storage Tip: The Rule of 12

I decided to look at the winter as a finite 3-month time period. 12 weeks. Sure, there’s fall and early spring, but for my first year, I’m thinking 12 weeks of winter. For each thing I can or freeze, I am setting a goal of 12. That gives me something to aim for (rather than pressuring myself to just “Store more, more, more!”) and I can picture what our menus will look like. A soup each week, a baked oatmeal with fruit each week, a casserole each week…you get the idea.

This Year’s Food Storage Goal

12 each of:

  • 1 lb. bags of green beans, frozen
  • 1 lb. bags of peaches, frozen
  • 1 lb. bags of cherries, frozen
  • 2-cup bags of soup greens, frozen (includes kale, chard and spinach)
  • pint jars of salsa verde
  • pint jars of pear sauce
  • pint jars of apple sauce
  • pint jars of preserves (peach and whatever else I can find seasonally)
  • pint jars of butternut squash and/or pumpkin butter
  • 2-cup bags of butternut squash and/or pumpkin puree, frozen (for baking and baked oatmeal)
  • random-sized batches of tomato sauce, frozen
  • 1-cup bags of chopped onions
  • 1-cup bags of chopped peppers
  • as many bags of random pre-cut soup veggies as possible, frozen.

This might seem like a lot to some, or maybe not a lot to others. But this is my first year, so I’m trying not to compare myself to anyone. (I have enough trouble comparing myself to myself!)  If I end up a little over or under on anything, no worries. But the second I decided to approach my winter this way,  a huge weight lifted off my shoulders. I made a list, and got to work on getting things done. And my pantry and freezer are filling up like crazy! Now each day I go to bed feeling like I took a step forward rather than focusing on how much more I could have done.

Rocket science? No…definitely not. Just a simple way of rethinking a huge task to make it seem more doable. It helping me, and I hope it helps you, too!

Happy preserving!Signature




  1. says

    This is really impressive. It’s amazing what you can do when you put you mind to it. I’ve made jams, chutneys and pickles before, and frozen gluts of home grown veg, but I’ve never been brave enough to take it up a step. Good luck with it all.

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