We forget– although she reminds us– that the weather can be extremely powerful.  West Virginia was particularly hard-hit by the de ratio storm(s) that passed over the Eastern United States last week.  There are areas that look like they were hit by a tornado, and numerous trees and utility poles down.  In fact, there are areas where power won’t be restored for 2-4 weeks. Yikes! What would you do if you were in that situation?

Over the last week, the house lost power four times and cable and phone additional times.  Fortunately, we have all our utilities back and we were lucky enough to never lose water.  While I’m religious about maintaining a stash of non-perishable food in the winter, I’d relaxed about the summer.  Nonetheless, this is a reminder to maintain your emergency stashes throughout the year.

How can you make your stash more sustainable?  The easiest option is to aim for reusable packaging or simply less packaging.  Home-canned food counts, too, so make sure you think about the applesauce you canned. If you have a pressure canner, you can can your own beans and soups without so much salt. While canning in quarts is a touch more efficient, I always use some pints for the purpose of an emergency kit. Despite FEMA’s threats of broken glass, I prefer quart size canning jars for storing water.  The jars are easy to sterilize and store. In addition, make sure that your stash is food that you would normally eat instead of someone else’s list.  Because you need to replace an emergency food kit regularly, it’s important to chose food that is nutritious and something worth eating.

E-kit Basics (3-5 days)

3-5 gallons water
12+ servings fruit (dried and/or canned)
15+ servings vegetables (canned… think tomato sauce, artichokes, etc)
20+ servings carbohydrates (crackers, bread, pretzels, cereal, instant noodles, etc)
12+ servings protein (PB, nuts, tuna, aspeptic tofu/soymilk, canned meats, dried meats)

Non-food related to your food kit
matches (light gas stove, or a grill)
can opener, manual
hand sanitizer
bleach or tablets to purify water
dish soap
paper towels (substitute cloth if you have plenty)
utensils: spoons, forks, etc

Example Food Kit
3 cans pineapple (I love canned pineapple and am happy for any excuse to eat some)
3 jars applesauce
1 package dried apricots
1 pint mixed nuts
2 cans tuna
1 quart soymilk
3 cans lentil soup
2 boxes crackers (homemade?)
1 quart jar of add-water pancake mix (homemade)
4 rice bowls
3 jars artichokes
2 cans vegetable soup
2 cans hearts of palm
Packaged saag paneer (also, happy for any excuse to eat this)
1 quart sauerkraut (homemade, perhaps?)
1 package chocolate chips or other treat
As much water as will fit

Any other suggestions for unusual additions that make your life better? A favorite lights-out food?