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Preparing Your Kitchen for an Emergency

September 10, 2021

September is National Preparedness Month, and all month long EWEB is sharing how we are preparing and some guidance for how you can prepare at home. As our region experiences more extreme weather events - like wildfire, heatwaves, and winter storms - it is important for both our organization and our community members to prepare as best we can.  

Stock Up on Supplies 

Keeping several days of emergency food and water is an important first step in preparing your kitchen. Here are some foods that might help you prepare to cook without power for a few days: 

  • Canned tuna, chicken, or other protein-based items 
  • Dried fruit, nuts, and quick-cooking oats 
  • Canned vegetables and pickles 
  • Condiment packets: mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard, sriracha, soy sauce, etc. 
  • Nut and seed butters 
  • Granola and protein bars 
  • Pre-cooked packets of rice or other grains 
  • Canned soups and chilis 

Certain equipment is good to keep on hand as well. Here are some suggested items: 

  • Can openers 
  • Headlamps or lanterns 
  • Propane-fueled camp stoves 

If you're feeling overwhelmed by the large list, a good way to get started is to take the Pledge to Prepare. You will get an email every month with a few suggestions to add to your list over time, as well as other tips and guidance for emergency preparedness.  

Keeping Food Cold in an Outage 

Any time the power goes out, keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to maintain the cold temperature. The refrigerator will keep food cold for about four hours if it is unopened. A full freezer will keep the temperature for approximately 48 hours if the door remains closed. Oregon State University Extension offers these Tips for Keeping Your Freezer Frozen During Power Outages

Making Meals 

While it is easier to eat peanut butter sandwiches and canned chili during an outage, several days of that can become tiresome and demoralizing. Sometimes a little preparation and creativity can go a long way toward getting through a stressful time. Here are some easy recipes that can help satiate your hunger for a meal that can be made even when sheltering in place without electricity.  

Chicken Burrito Bowls (serves 2) 

1 12-ounce can chicken breast 
½ cup canned salsa 
1 8-ounce pouch of pre-cooked rice (can get rice already seasoned or plain) 
1 15-ounce can of pinto or black beans
Lime juice (bottled) and favorite hot sauce to taste 
Mix together the chicken, chiles, salsa, and corn. Strain excess liquid from the mixture and mix well. Add any additional seasonings you have on hand to taste (salt, pepper, chili powder, or oregano). Divide the rice and beans evenly into two bowls and top with the chicken mixture. Add preferred condiments and enjoy. Note: heating is optional for this meal. If you have the means you can heat each component through to enjoy it hot.  

Mediterranean Tuna Salad 1 6-ounce can tuna (we like locally canned albacore) 
1 can of marinated artichoke hearts 
1 15-ounce can of cannellini beans
1 tsp dried parsley 
1 tsp dehydrated onion flakes 
Salt to taste Drain the tuna, beans, and artichoke hearts. Make sure the artichoke hearts are cut to your preferred bite size. Add all the ingredients to a bowl and mix well. Serve with crackers and cut vegetables if you have them.  

Quick Soaked Oats with Pistachios and Dried Figs 

soaked oats for national preparedness month

For an elevated twist on breakfast, have a few luxury dried goods in your store. Pistachios and dried figs are often part of gourmet treats. Quick soaked oats are still edible and don't require overnight refrigeration.  ½ cup quick cooking oats (or rolled oats if you prefer) 

1 tsp brown sugar 1 Tbsp chia seeds 
1 tsp cardamom powder 
2 tbsp chopped pistachios 
½ cup non-dairy milk of your choice Mix all ingredients in a mason jar or another container with a lid. Close the lid and let the oats soak for one hour, then enjoy! 

Additional Tips 

Some other things you can do to prepare your kitchen for an emergency and keep stocked with healthy foods include: 

  • Grow an herb garden. A few plants like basil, cilantro, parsley, or chives grow well in kitchen windows. 
  • Have a rotation of fermented foods like sauerkraut or kimchi in your fridge to add lots of flavor and nutrients that will keep a long time. 

What are some of your favorite foods? How can you adapt them to make during an emergency? Let us know on our Facebook page or message our Instagram account.