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Wednesday August 30, 2006 2:15 am

Hurricanes, Snow Storms, and Power Outages

Posted by Janie Franz Categories: How To, Storage Tips,

Snow DriftHow much you stock your larder in anticipation of storms or power outages depends on where you live. If you live in the Great Plains, the Midwest, the Gulf Coast, or in the East, a storm (winter or summer) can be very serious. In the Northern Plains, winters are normally harsh and winter storms really are the blizzards of the Little House on the Prairie books. There, the stores are usually full of customers before a winter storm with folks stocking up on milk, bread, and serious munchies. Even in cities in this region, travel the day after a storm is difficult. If you live in a small town or on a ranch or farm, getting into town to a major grocery store may be impossible until the roads are plowed. 

Winter storms, especially the ice storms of the Midwest and the East, can coat power lines, causing wires to snap and break. Power outages can be troublesome when you are trying to feed a hungry family. 
Whatever the size of the storm, you can always stock up on milk, eggs, cereal, cheese, and cold cuts. Make sure you have the foods and condiments your family enjoys on hand. This often will ease the fear or just the plain inconvenience associated with a power outage, keeping your family happier.
Always keep some non-perishable, no-cook foods on hand just in case the electricity to your fridge is compromised. Some of those could be peanut butter, crackers, raisins, and nuts. Sometimes this is problematic for whole food cooks who keep well- stocked in dried beans, raw vegetables, noodles, and other foods that must be cooked before you can eat them. Keep a couple of cans of beans in the pantry or a can of tuna, as well as dried ready-to-eat cereal. You can still use mayo or milk from the fridge if you don’t open the fridge too much.
You might want to keep a can of Sterno or a candle warmer like a fondu pot nearby. You might not be able to cook a pot of pinto beans, but you can warm a can of soup or heat some baked beans. If you have a gas stove during a power outage, you may be in luxury.  If it has an electric ignition, you will need to light it with a match. Light some candles or use the old battery camp lantern, cook up a hot meal, and make an adventure of it. 

Also, fill clean milk jugs or other containers and freeze a day or two before the expected storm. Use this ice to keep milk, cold cuts, and other perishables cold either in the fridge or in a cooler if the power is out for more than four hours. Try not to open the refrigerator or freezer doors if you can.  You can also keep gel packs in the freezer all of the time, if you have the space.

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