In case of an ice storm, a tornado, or a major power outage, how long could you go without going to the grocery store? What would you cook? If you were to go shopping to stock up, what would you purchase to make cooking without electricity as easy and flavorful as possible? Assuming you are prepared enough to have water and a heat source, here are some suggestions to develop thirty day’s worth of meals for your family. Adjust and adapt to your family as desired.
Of course, home canning is one option. The work is done ahead of time and then very convenient on eating day. A variation on that theme requires you to be able to cook the meal on eating day. The best site I’ve seen is the 52 Method. In this case, the meals are still pre-canned, with the several year shelf-life, but they are UN-cooked. You put them together dry, process and then cook on eating day. This is a terrific variation – IF you have access to heat and water.
This website recommends, and I concur (as I am an independent consult for Shelf Reliance) Thrive foods. Thrive also has some prepared entrees – soups and such – that you might want to take a look at. They are more expensive than the 52 Method, but there is absolutely NO labor involved. Our time is worth more than we think!
With a heat source, be it a camp stove or open fire, you can purchase a griddle and make pancakes, or scrambled eggs. The pancake mix can be from scratch – use egg powder to compensate for the lack of fresh eggs during a power outage – or it can be a prepared mix.
By keeping a supply of main ingredients on hand, you can put together most of your family’s favorite recipes even without electricity. Some things that you should consider for long-term storage are pastas, sauces in jars (tomatoes are highly acidic and eventually rust through tin cans), onions, peppers and celery. All of these can be purchased in freeze-dried form through Shelf Reliance and other resources, with their freshness and nutrition intact. Egg powder, butter powder, sour cream powder and powdered milk are other staples that you might want to think about. Home canned meat or freeze-dried meat are also good items to have on hand.
It is possible to get a dessert mix with a long shelf-life that only uses water! The only two reasons to invest in a dessert in this form are #1, you don’t have to store fresh eggs or oils, and #2, it will stay fresh on your shelf for years. Consider brownies, macaroons or ice cream!
With just a bit of forethought and preparation, you can make a long-term power outage endurable and even, almost, enjoyable! Well, if not enjoyable, at least comfortable with your family’s favorite comfort foods!
See some of the Untrained Housewife recommended canning resources.