Here’s what you should buy now. Don’t wait for a storm, when lines will be long and supplies short.
Essential foods to make meals
- Couscous and five-minute rice. Pour boiling water over these packages, cover, and let stand.
- Salsa, chunky pasta sauce
- Ramen noodles. Pour boiling water over them and voilà!
- Shelf-stable bacon, hard sausages. Make BLT’s, add to baked beans, bean salad. Keep in cooler once opened.
- Single-serve condiments (individual packets of mayonnaise, mustard, ketchup and relish)
- Pouches of cooked tuna, salmon and chicken. Grill chicken or fish fillets briefly for a “real” meal.
- Shelf-stable milk. Add to canned soup and heat it up on the grill for substance. Put it in coffee, use it for cereal or make chocolate milk for kids.
- Shelf-stable cheese. Processed cheese (Velveeta) and sliced cheeses made with oil are shelf-stable.
- Canned potatoes, canned beans and veggies.
- Individual puddings, fruit cups
Packing up the kitchen
Permanent markers: Use them to label jars and cans that might lose their labels in high humidity or floods. Write contents of cans on their bottoms or tops and date them; label plastic bags or bins to identify items packed within.
Food-sized storage bags or containers: Empty all open packages of foods into these airtight bags or bins to keep them fresh.
Extra water jugs: Preferably 2.5 gallons or larger. Buy the biggest size your freezer will hold.
Heavy-duty plastic garbage cans with lids: Can be used for water storage, packing foods, packing valuables — or storing trash.
Extra coolers: Buy metal ones with foam/plastic inserts for maximum cooling (see ship’s stores or online sources). Buy large Igloo-type coolers that can stack and are on wheels. Buy foam ones to have on hand, but note these are not meant for long-term ice storage. Consider investing in a small cooler that plugs into the cigarette lighter of the car, or a mini-fridge to plug into a generator.
Waterproof storage bins: Flooding during a storm can be more of a problem than winds. Packing everything in plastic, waterproof bins can save the items. For already opened foods, use bins with airtight seals. Use large, clean garbage cans for additional storage.
Ice and water
There’s never too much of these items. Here is a guide to how much you need and how to keep it.
When in doubt, throw it out
How to decide what will keep and what to get rid of plus safe water handling and purification tips.
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