Survive Hurricanes Tastefully with Foods That Last
Hurricane Irene is knocking at the doors and quite a few States in the country, including New York, are preparing to face the nature's wrath, once again. Only yesterday, the US Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has issued recommendations to residents in the states which are likely to get affected by this hurricane. Hurricane Irene will mean power outages, flooding and other problems. Therefore, it is the right time to be Hurricane-ready. The first thing that comes to mind while preparing for a hurricane is food.
You need to stock up on food for a long time. Read on to learn a few tricks and tips that will help keep your family and you food-ready during a hurricane. So, here is a list of hurricane-safe foods, which can be eaten cold, don’t need to be cooked and will stay good for days without refrigeration:
- Ready-to-eat canned meats, fruits, and vegetables: The canned variety comes in sturdy containers, which do not require additional storage and in case of flooding, you can even pick up cans from within the water and consume them safely. You do not need to cook these items and don’t need to store them inside a refrigerator. These can be eaten cold or without being cooked.
- Canned juices, milk, soup: Once again, cans, and not the tetra packs, are the ideal choice because canned varieties last longer even when opened.
- Food staples like sugar, salt, pepper, condiments, etc: Store sugar, salt, pepper, olive oil, butter, jam, etc in waterproof packaging. Once you are in the middle of a hurricane, having a regular meal will be the most difficult thing to garner. Having staples such as these at hand will give you and your family some semblance of a regular family meal. You can also store ketchup, mustard relish, hot sauce, pickle sauce etc to give your food an extra zing, when you need it the most.
- Infant food or foods for elderly or special diets: There is no reason why the elderly members of the family or the infants should suffer because of unavailability of food. Just like you do it for the rest of the family, you can store food specifically meant for the infants, elderly or those on special diets. The storage rules will be just like as mentioned before.
- High energy foods: To keep your energy levels up during these trying times, keep some peanut butter, crackers, granola bars or trail mix or vitamins handy and safe. When you don’t have the energy to rustle up a full meal while waiting for the hurricane to pass, you can just pick up some crackers and slather them with peanut butter or pick a granola bar to munch upon and you will feel energized in a jiffy.
- Comfort foods: Yes, you read it right! Locked inside your house or basement during hurricane is probably the most trying time you will ever face, therefore, it is necessary to keep your spirits up. And what better way to do that than having some of your favorite food items like cookies, candies or instant coffee? You don’t need electricity or gas to prepare this and will be able to munch upon it without going anywhere. So, load up on those twinkies or nutter butters.
- Preserved meat: Preserved meat not only helps you receive a steady supply of protein during hurricane, it also lasts for a long time without refrigeration, so you can load it up in your pantry without any worry.
- Pet foods: Don’t forget your pets during a hurricane. Just like you are loading up stuff for your family members, keep a corner of your pantry secure for your pet foods and vitamins/medications etc, which can be used in time of emergency.
We bring you a list of non-perishable and perishable food items, which will help you when you go grocery shopping before a hurricane. Buy nonperishable foods because they can last without refridgeration:
Salad dressing, jelly/jam, mayonnaise, honey, sugar
Canned pudding, instant breakfast drinks, evaporated milk, infant formula
Half gallons of milk, liquid dairy products, cheese, yogurt
Canned tuna, baked beans, chilli, bean soups, canned chicken, canned salmon
Frozen or fresh meat (excluding venison), eggs
Baby food vegetables, spaghetti sauce, vegetable soup, V-8 juice
Fresh and frozen vegetables, fruits
Fruit leather, baby food fruit, applesauce, dried fruits, raisins
Rice and rice mixes, cold cereals, macaroni and cheese mix, shredded wheat, flour, etc.
How to Store Food Items Needed During Hurricane:
- Store the food in a dry and cool corner in your home.
- Breads, cookies, crackers should be kept wrapped in plastic bags or in tightly closed containers.
- Keep clean plastic containers handy to store enough clean, drinking water for each member of the family. To calculate how much water you would need, follow this simple rule – Stock up on one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days.
- To keep water clean during a hurricane, you can use purification tablets, since it would not be possible for you to boil the water.
- Keep food stored inside a special section of the food cupboard, which should be easier to pick in case you need to rush to evacuate out of the house.
What To Stock To Prepare Meals during Hurricane:
- Disposable plates, knives, forks, and spoons
- Disposable hot and cold cups
- Paper napkins or towels
- Heavy-duty aluminum foil
- Manual Can opener
- Sufficient supply of trash bags and zip-lock bags
- Sterno heater/hibachi/camp stove with 5-day fuel supply
- Matches stored in waterproof container
- Propane tank for the grill
- Hand sanitizer
Experts say that ideally, you need to keep a stock of two weeks’ of food supply of non-perishable food items to help you and your family stay away from hunger during a hurricane. Although, it is unlikely that the emergency will last that long, it is better to be safe than sorry, especially during a hurricane.
“Ask Karen” is the FSIS’ virtual representative, who is available here 24 hours a day to answer the general public’s questions about safety during a hurricane.