Emergency food supply for winter storms

By Pat Brinkman - OSU Extension

Snow, ice or both are here! Are you prepared with some emergency food supplies? Do you have emergency supplies of water? Knowing what to purchase and being prepared can provide you with some peace of mind during this season of snow and ice storms.

Since snow and ice can last try to have at least a three day supplies of non-perishable food, if possible it would be best to have a week supply. Make sure you have a least a three-day supply of water which means at least 1 gallon a day for each person. Don’t forget medical needs, infant supplies or pet supplies.

What nonperishable foods should you have on your grocery list?

· Water – at least one gallon a day per person for at least three days. If you purchase water pay attention to expiration dates. You can store your own water but make sure you have enough containers. If you store your own water you will want to change the water every few days.

· Grains – 100 percent whole-wheat or whole-grain bread, crackers, unrefrigerated whole-wheat tortillas, ready to eat cereals, canned pasta or rice, granola bars

· Vegetables – canned vegetables, canned tomato sauce and salsa, canned soup or chili, canned vegetable salads like three-bean or potato, canned vegetable juices

· Fruits – canned (in fruit juice or light syrup) and dried fruit, unsweetened applesauce, fruit cups, freeze-dried fruits, bottled/canned or boxed 100 percent fruit juices, fresh fruit with a longer shelf life like oranges, apples or pears

· Dairy – dry milk powder, shelf-stable (ultra-pasteurized), or/and evaporated milk

· Protein – beans (canned pinto, black, kidney, pork and beans), canned refried beans, jerky, nuts, trail mix, peanuts, peanut butter and other nut butters, canned nuts, canned or vacuum-sealed pouches of tuna, chicken, meats or sausages or dried meats

Only buy foods you or your family will eat. Some foods such as the fresh fruit you will need to rotate the supply more quickly than on canned items. OSU Extension has a fact sheet with a three day menu using emergency supplies “Eating Nutritiously When the Power is “ available at https://ohioline.osu.edu/factsheet/hyg-5582 The fact sheet will provide you with equipment and safety precautions when preparing food without heat and aiming for no leftovers.

It is not recommended to eat canned food without heating it first but when you don’t have any power it may become necessary. The factsheet will provide you with the information and some suggested recipes to help you eat healthy and have variety in your meals.

If you don’t have any power remember to keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed. A full freezer will hold temperature for approximately 48 hours, or at least 24 hours if it is half full and the door remains closed. If the freezer is in a cold area food in the freezer will be safe longer. The refrigerator will keep food safely cold for about four hours if unopened.

Tips on “How to Prepare for a Winter Storm” available at https://www.fema.gov/media-library-data/1494008826172-76da095c3a5d6502ec66e3b81d5bb12a/FEMA_2017_WinterStorm_HTP_FINAL.pdf can provide you with other information to be prepared for a winter storm emergency. Be safe and stay warm. Let’s hope we all have electricity and heat all winter.

Pat Brinkman is the Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Educator for Ohio State University Fayette County.


By Pat Brinkman

OSU Extension