I want to provide you with a list of foodstuffs you can keep in the pantry for emergencies. Part 1 focused on breakfast. All this stuff has a very long self life and can sit in the back of your pantry for years.
“Dave, you don’t have hurricanes in Arizona, why do you stockpile this stuff?” Three reasons. There was a time when the revenue from my consulting business was spotty. I wanted to be prepared in case there was no money for groceries. Second, I now live out here in the foothills of the Bradshaw Mountains (elevation: 4000ft) There is always the chance of a freak winter snowstorm that might prohibit getting to the grocery store. Hence, I’ve done the research and try to keep food on hand.
Third, the Big City I used to live in is downwind of a nuclear power plant. While I never worried about the safety of the power plant itself, the news media is often guilty of sensationalism. If such a scare occured all the grocery stores would be cleaned out in a matter of hours.
If you are preparing for a hurricane or blizzard, your pantry needs to support you for a few days or weeks (whereas in the ‘no money for food’ scenario, I was planning for a few months). I’m sure you’ve seen the promotions by the big freeze-dried food companies like Mountain House, Wise, and Legacy. They are very expensive, though their 72-hour kits are reasonably priced. I have observed that Mountain House retailers seem to have a big promotional sale once or twice a year in which Mountain House products are steeply discounted. Wait for those sales.
It is far more economical however, to store common supermarket canned goods. Most canned goods have about a two year shelf life, so plan on rotating through them on a regular basis. Eat what you store and store what you eat. The beauty of this is that you can buy it a little at a time. Here are some suggestions:
Kirkland (Costco Brand) Premium Chunk Chicken Breast
This is a 12.5oz can, and six cans are shrink-wrapped together. I actually use a lot of this. It is perfect for chicken pot pie, chicken and dumplings, chicken caesar salad, chicken pasta salad, etc. (Combine a can of it with Betty Crocker Suddenly Salad, Ranch and Bacon flavor and you have a quick cheap easy meal.)
Low Sodium Spam
Don’t turn up your nose like that. Spam is mostly just ham and pork shoulder, and the low sodium variety is pretty good. I make Spam Fried Rice with it. Diced and combined with a few eggs, it makes a very tasty quiche. Sweet Lady wife likes to put a thin slice of spam on her sandwiches. Dice it and add it to hashbrown potatoes for a hearty breakfast.
Canned Roast Beef
I haven’t experimented with canned roast beef a lot, but some roast beef, refried black beans, cheese, and Pace Picante Sauce all wrapped up in a tortilla makes a fine meal.
Canned tuna is so versatile. Mixed with some pasta and a can of Cream of Mushroom soup and you have Tuna and Noodles. Yum.
Corn. Green Beans. Peas. Peas and Carrots. Spinach.
Peaches. Pears. Sweet Lady Wife loves mandarin oranges.
Longer Term Disaster Preparedness Items
Let’s say that you are stocking up for a longer-term emergency situation. Here are some items to consider:
I cook a lot of rice dishes, so I keep quite a bit on hand. (In fact I keep four kinds of rice: long grain white, brown, arborio, and bomba.) Long grain white rice or brown rice can be used to make Fried Rice or Rice Pilaf. Arborio rice makes a great Rissotto.
I discovered that a 25lb bag of flour at the warehouse store costs less that a ten pound bag at the supermarket. The last time I checked, a 50lb bag of flour at Winco was $14. I use a lot of flour: pie crusts, quiche crust, homemade pasta, etc. By buying a 50lb bag and storing it in a couple food-grade buckets, I need to buy flour only once every 2 years.
Winco sells bulk pasta by the pound. I keep a few pounds of several kinds of pasta on hand. It sure beats making a last minute 50-mile-round-trip to the grocery store because I forgot the rigitoni.
I confess, I love refried black beans. High in protein and fiber. We buy dried black beans in a 20lb bag and store them in a food grade bucket. 8 hours in the slo-cooker with some onion, salt, garlic, and cumin, and they are delicious. Depending upon your tastes, you could expend your emergency storage to include other types of beans as well as lentils (we love lentil soup)
What About the Cooking?
In an emergency situation you’ll probably be without electricity. We were without electricity out here for a day just because lightning struck a transformer. I have a gas BBQ grill on the back deck, and have two extra filled propane cylinders.
You should assume 1 gallon per person per day. I’ve chosen the WaterBrick for my water storage. Yes, they are a bit expensive, but:
- Each waterbrick holds 3.5 gallons.That’s 28 pounds and almost everyone can lift and carry 28 pounds.
- Their shape allows them to be stored under a bed.
- They stackable and interlocking.
Ok, that should get you through most emergency situations.