Prepping For Weather Emergencies When You Eat Real Food

I have lived in Massachusetts all my life. If your not from one of the New England states then you may not understand our love/hate relationship with the weather. If you live in the area you probably know exactly what I mean. We love the fact that we get all four seasons and they are pretty evenly spaced. We hate the fact that some times we experience all four seasons in one single day. We also love to complain about how much we hate the weather changes but secretly, we enjoy it. Its some type of weird New England thing that can’t be explained. It has to be experienced.

Right now hurricane/tropical storm Sandy is giving us lots to complain about. It’s like winning the weather lottery. Everyone I know is constantly watching or listening to weather updates. We discuss what will or won’t happen and what needs to be done to prepare for it. If it passes by with just tropical storm wind and rain we will complain. If we get any of the hurricane effects hit we will complain. That’s what we do here.

The other thing that we will do is to prepare for the coming storm. Those of us who remember the last time we got hit by a hurricane are most likely already prepared.

Bottled water – check

Radio, flashlights and plenty of batteries – check

Yard items picked up and put away – check

Huge stack of candles and matches – check

Any prescriptions that are due to be filled in less then a week are already called in for pickup – check

If you were around for the week long power outages during hurricane Bob and Gloria then you may already have filled your grill tanks and have extra charcoal on hand so you can cook. Half way into the week with no power I remember sitting in my mothers house and all of us started to notice a weird smell. When the power went out both the washer and dryer had wet clothes in them. We completely forgot until the moldy smell started to get stronger. Needless to say it’s a good idea to have already washed and dried towels, clothes, etc before a big storm hits.

The last thing to do when preparing for a big storm (doesn’t matter if it’s a hurricane, N’orEaster or a blizzard) is to stock up on food. Pictures will start popping up on the news showing all the last minute Nelly’s down at the grocery store cleaning the place out an hour before the storm hits. They will have stacked their grocery carts with bread, milk and just about every type of canned or boxed food you can think of. They will toss in frozen foods, snack cakes, chips and more. That’s what I would have done a few years ago.

Now it’s a bit different. We eat very few premade, canned or boxed foods. Now we eat mostly real food. When my husband asked if  we needed anything from the store to get ready for the storm I had to do some serious thinking. After taking a good look at what we had on hand and as part of our food storage here’s what I came up with.

We need nothing.

Amazing but true. If the power should go out here what we will do.

First we would eat what is already in the refrigerator…fresh veggies, milk, eggs and meat. Food in the refrigerator will go bad before the freezer foods. The only exception to this would be ice cream which we don’t usually have on hand. It would get soft so we could eat that within the first or second day. No need to purchase extra gallons of milk. They would only go bad. If the weather emergency was during the winter then the contents of my refrigerator going bad wouldn’t be a problem. I would just put the items outside in the cold or in the snow.

Frozen items would last longer. A well packed freezer can stay cold enough to make it 3 days or longer (if you don’t go in and out frequently) before items started to defrost. Any item that still is cold enough to have ice crystals on it can be refrozen should the electricity go back on by that point. Once thawed the food needs to be cooked and eaten. If your unsure if the items are still good then toss them out. You want to avoid a nice case of food poisoning.

During the previous hurricanes some parts of the city got their electricity back quicker then others. Those of us who still had no power but had a gas stove could cook. Those with no power and electric stoves were out of luck. As the days wore on we ended up having huge cookouts just to use up the food. Not only did it help to prevent waste but it also benefited neighbors who had most of their food spoil by that point.

Canned items would be last to be eaten. While I have been soaking and cooking beans I also keep some canned beans on hand. Just in case. Same thing with canned tomatoes, veggies, fruits, tuna/salmon, chicken, Annie’s mac and cheese, quick oats, etc. I would prefer to use fresh (or home canned) but in an emergency situation canned ingredients used to make a meal would still be far better than eating Hamburger Helper, Chef Boyardee, Spam, chips, crackers, cookies and Hostess snack cakes. If I don’t end up dipping into my emergency supplies, and choose not to use them, the items can always be donated to a local food pantry before they expire.

For those who have had WLS I would suggest keeping a favorite protein powder that is tastey when made with water on hand. I know many people like to make their protein shakes with milk, fruit, ice cubes, etc. When the power is out you may not have access to those items yet still want to continue drinking your protein powder. It’s also a good way to fill in the gaps at meal time when all you have on hand are high carb items to eat. Also storing a few bottles of water to use in shake making is very helpful too.

I also have the recipes I used most printed out and in a binder. I know many people who keep their favorite recipes stored in a file on their computer. If the power is out then there would be no way to access them. So having a printed copy would be very helpful if the power should be out for a long period of time.

While I’m not a big fan of disposable items we do have a supply of paper plates and napkins along with plastic cups and utensils. These would really come in handy if water supplies became contaminated or we lost water completely due to broken pipes. We have water on hand to use in cooking as well as to drink. Washing dishes and pans takes a lot more water then you realize. You also need water to flush toilets too. We found this out the hard way one winter when there was an issue with a water line in the street. The water was off for a day but we weren’t prepared. Storing water is probaby even more important than storing food!

So these are my emergency preparedness plans now that we eat real food. How about you? Do you have any special plans in place in case a weather emergency hits and you lose power for an extended period of time?


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