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This post is about food preparedness for an emergency which we have found ourselves in with the Corona Virus Pandemic. This is the time to support one another even in the midst of social distancing. We will talk about stocking up your pantry with pantry essentials
How to Prepare for an emergency situation.
The good thing about most world wide emergencies in today’s world is that we are aware before hand. We kind of know it’s coming but for one reason or the other we are still caught up.
This post has been long coming but I really don’t know why it took me so long to write it. Now in the midst of it all, and after listening to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s address this evening, I must write this post because I believe it will still be helpful to somebody.
Make sure to share with family and friends and in your favorite Facebook group. You never know who needs it.
Preparing for an emergency
Do not Panic:
First thing to do is not to panic. When we panic we definitely cannot think straight and we need all our thinking faculties intact to be useful to our selves and our families
Be in the know:
Don’t stay glued to the News, and start panicking, but be aware of what’s happening. Listen to authentic news and not hearsay. If you are the panicky type, delegate listening to the news to a family member who is not.
If you hear anything you find weird or strange, google it and check the source. Websites like the CDC website, will give you the latest updates on the current situation. Snopes.com is another website dedicated to debunking false news. You can also check news websites like CNN, Fox News etc. Follow them on social media for updates.
Do what you are supposed to do and obey instructions to keep you and your family safe. For instance in the current pandemic situation, the following actions have been advised.
- Social distancing; no hugging, no hand shake, avoid gatherings of up to fifty people.
- Good hygiene; which include frequent washing of hands. In fact whenever you see water and soap just wash your hands even if you don’t think you need it. You probably do. Sneezing in your elbow not on your hands.
Stock up on food and other supplies:
Stocking up on food is a very important aspect of preparing for an emergency. Food and other supplies. You would need to stock up more on dried and canned food.
In an emergency situation, many shops run out of essentials like food and house hold supplies within a twinkle of an eye. Therefore we have to think fast. This what I do.
1. The night before I go shopping, I google the time the store opens (if i don’t have that information already) so I can be there before the doors open. That way I can get
- a good parking spot,
- a good chance at getting my supplies because I will be among the first people to get in.
2. Next I take a glance at my pantry to have an idea of what I have, what is running out, what I need to buy the next day
3. Create your list, itemizing them from the most important to the least important. This way, when I get into the store the next day, I head straight to the shelves that have my I most important items like water, powdered milk, paper towel etc first.
Be aware that those important items to you are also important items to others so never leave it for last. You would be surprised how fast they fly off the shelves.
Plan for multiple trips
In an emergency situation, many stores are great at thinking of their customers so they tend to ration the basic essentials like water, eggs, tissue etc. This way each customer is guaranteed a limited quantity of basic essentials while supplies last.
For instance, Costco limited the purchase of the Kirkland brand of water to 2 cases per family and 5 per family for Poland springs brand. Some stores have created a shopping window for the elderly and disabled so that they can get a supplies too. Very thoughtful.
If your family needs more than 2 cases of water or more than 5 cases depending on the brand you want to purchase, you can plan to make multiple trips on different days or make multiple trips on same day if you have the time.
** But remember to buy only what you need don’t be selfish and go on hoarding spree. Many families need water and other supplies too.
Stocking up on Pantry Essentials
- Baking essentials like All purpose flours to make homemade breads or cakes.
- Dry pantry essentials like beans, rice, spices and herbs.
- Shelf stable wet Pantry essentials like Oils, vinegar
- Canned goods
I recommend the following substitutions because they last longer and might be cheaper in the long run.
- Dry milk powder instead of liquid milk,
- Flat breads instead regular breads. Saves space and last longer.
- Dried beans instead of canned beans. Cook beans and use cup for cup in any recipe that calls for canned beans
- Buy All purpose flour instead of Pancake mix. This way you can make your homemade pancake mix.
- Stock cubes or stock powder instead of liquid broth (reconstitute as needed.this will save the space for another necessary pantry ingredient) To reconstitute, add 1 tsp of stock powder or 1 stock cube to 1 cup of boiling water.
Below are a list of my suggested pantry stock up essentials
Dry Pantry Essentials
- Traditional Oats, steel cut oats
- Rice ( the variety you use. I use Regular long grain rice, Brown rice and Basmati rice often so that’s what I have in my pantry)
- Dry lentils
- Dry Beans ( black eyed peas, brown beans, Chickpeas etc)
- Dried fruits and nuts
- Various types of pasta- Spaghetti, Macaroni, Penne, Rotini, etc
- Ramen noodles. A very affordable pantry staple for an emergency. I will be sharing interesting recipes for ramen noodles in the coming days so you can always switch things up.
Canned Pantry essentials
- Tomato Paste
- Tomato sauce
- Crushed or whole Tomatoes
- Canned Chicken
- Tuna and sardines
- Corned beef
- Canned milks (evaporated milk, Condensed milk)
- Canned soups
- Canned veggies
- Canned beans ( I have some canned beans like kidney beans in my pantry. I buy canned beans for beans I don’t use often)
Frozen and Refrigerator Pantry Essentials
If you have a chest freezer or some freezer space consider getting the following.
- Frozen mixed vegetables
- Frozen peas
- Frozen fries
- Frozen chicken wings
- Frozen chicken breast.
- Ground beef
- Meat balls
- Heavy cream
Pantry Baking Essentials
- All purpose flour ( with all purpose flour you easily make home made versions of some flours like cake flour and self rising flour. You can easily substitute it for bread flour as well if you need to. This way you can save on space for other pantry essentials.
- Bread flour
- White Sugar (you can make homemade powdered sugar with granulated sugar)
- Brown sugar (you can make yours if you run out)
- Dry milk (can be reconstituted to drink, make chocolate milk and for baking
- Cocoa powder
- Baking powder
- Baking soda
- Yeast (dry active or instant yeast) try to buy the ones in sachets. If what you have is the ones in the jar, store in the refrigerator after opening.
- Cornstarch (for thickening sauces. Yiu can make a homemade cake flour substitute)
Pantry Breakfast Essentials
- Coffee (especially now we have a lot of people working from home)
- Hot Cocoa
- Homemade Pancake mix
Spices and herbs
Buy basic spices, because some of these spices can be combined to make homemade spice mixes.
- Parsley flakes, Basil, Oregano, Dill, Chives, Thyme, Rosemary, Bay leaves.
- Onion Powder, Ground ginger, Adobe seasoning, Bullion powder or cubes, Garlic Powder, Paprika, Red pepper flakes, onion flakes etc
- Black pepper, Dry ranch dressing
- Cinnamon, (whole* or ground), Nutmeg
- (whole or ground), All spice.
Pantry Oils and Sauces
- Cooking oil of choice e.g Coconut Oil, Canola oil etc
- Vinegars- Red wine vinegar, distilled Vinegar, White wine vinegar, Balsalmic Vinegar etc
- Mayonnaise, Ketchup, Barbecue sauce, Mustard, Worcestershire sauce etc
Non food Pantry Essentials
- Paper towels
- Disposable plates
- Disposable cups
- Disposable cutlery
- Aluminum baking pans
- Parchment paper
- Aluminum Foil
- Freezer bags
Helpful Storage solutions for an organized pantry.
- Pasta storage boxes
- Flour storage boxes; can be used to store flour, sugar dry beans, Rice etc
- Cereal Storage boxes
I hope you find this post helpful, stay safe and enjoy your family.