Whether you consider yourself a prepper or not, power outages happen in the winter, and preparing for an emergency situation is never a bad idea. I remember we had a huge snowstorm here in the Midwest in 2007 or so, and some places lost power for almost two weeks during that time. We lived in the country and so, while we lost power for just under a week, we were perfectly fine. Our stove was gas, and we could melt snow for water so things were just fine, if not a little boring.
So, with winter approaching and cold weather on the horizon for many places, I thought I’d make a list of foods that you should have on hand just in case an emergency happens. Keep in mind that if you have an electric oven you won’t be able to cook anything, so there are some things on this list you may want to skip.
1. Canned fruits and veggies
Whether you can your own produce from the garden or simply purchase aluminum cans of fruits and veggies from the store, canned goods are a fantastic way to get the nutrients that you need during an emergency. If you have no access to an oven, you can eat them without heating first, although it might not taste as great.
2. Peanut Butter
I love peanut butter, so this is a no-brainer for me. Peanut butter is a great source of protein, which is important for your overall health. It also keeps for quite a while, and is pretty low-fuss so even if you don’t have any bread on hand, you can still just eat it out of the can or on a fruit/veggie for a bit of variation.
3. Dehydrated Foods
Dehydrated foods keep for a long time, and they’re great for preserving things that you otherwise might not be able to preserve (like bananas). Preparing some dehydrated foods and keeping them on hand can really help with balancing your diet.
4. Instant oatmeal
Instant oatmeal is easy to prepare, provided you have access to water and a heating source, and it’s a good source of energy. If you have a garden with any fruits, you can add that for a bit of zing as well. After all, just because it’s an emergency, that doesn’t mean you can’t still have yummy food!
5. Canned Meat
Canned meat is usually already prepared and safe to eat without cooking. I’m sure I don’t need to explain that meat has protein, right? If you aren’t comfortable canning your own meat (I know I’m really not) then you can purchase canned meat pretty cheap at the store.
Not only is honey great for your immune system, but it also lasts basically forever and tastes delicious! You can add honey to most things to improve the taste, so while it’s honestly not essential, it’s a good thing to have around.
7. Mixed nuts
Nuts are delicious and a great source of protein. They’re also a great pick-me-up if you need a bit of energy or something to tide you over. They might not last quite as long as some of the other things on this list, but it’s definitely worth keeping some on hand anyway.
As a culture, we pretty much take advantage of salt. Once so valuable, it was used as a form of payment, salt not only adds flavor but can even preserve your meats if done properly. While I doubt you’ll actually need it for that purpose, keeping some salt around is not a bad plan.
9. Instant Coffee
If you’re like me and you have a cup of coffee every morning, then keeping some instant coffee (and sugar!) on hand is a great idea. It might not be as good as brewed coffee (although that’s also an option if you will have access to boiling water) it will help prevent a caffiene headache.
10. Hardtack Biscuits
Used by soldiers in the time of war, hardtack biscuits are basically just flour and salt, but they keep a lot longer than crackers and other similar things. To eat, all you have to do is soak it in milk or water, then fry it. It can also be eaten without cooking, but you’ll want something with it, and a lot of water to drink. Check out a recipe to make your own here.
What do you keep in your pantry for power outages and other emergencies? Tell me in the comments below!