It’s that time again — hurricane season — and we’re hearing it from all fronts: Prepare, prepare, prepare. So how do you prepare to eat during a hurricane?
The Florida Department of Health recommends:
* 1 gallon bottled water per person per day
* Ready-to-eat canned meats, chicken or fish
* Canned fruits, vegetables and beans
* Peanut butter
* Cereal, cereal bars, crackers
* Evaporated, powdered or UHT boxed milk
* Canned, bottled or boxed juice
* Nuts and dried fruit mixes
Keep things chilly
Under a hurricane warning:
* Turn your fridge and freezer to the coldest settings.
* Fill plastic containers with water and place them in the freezer — if you have space. This will keep things cooler longer in there when the power’s out.
When the power’s gone:
*Move the snacks and drinks you think you’ll go through the quickest — or the ones you’ll crave the most — to a cooler with ice or frozen packs (hint, hint, you may want to have these on hand before the hurricane). This will minimize the amount of times you open the fridge. Refrigerated foods will remain safe to consume for four hours if the refrigerator is kept closed.
* Frozen foods will keep frozen for up to 48 hours in a full freezer (24 hours if not full) if you keep it closed. The closer foods are to each other, the longer they’ll keep cool.
* If you have a thermometer, place it inside the refrigerator so you know when the temperature goes below 40 degrees.
Eat your food in this order:
- Fresh foods and foods in the refrigerator
- Foods from the freezer — that is if you have a way of heating or cooking foods.
- Canned goods and foods that can survive without refrigeration.
When in doubt, throw it out
Here are some foods that can be safely kept above 40 degrees for 2 to 3 days:
* Grated Parmesan or Romano cheese (in a can or jar)
* Butter and margarine, wrapped or in a covered container
* Uncut raw fruits and vegetables
* Peanut butter, jelly, relish, taco sauce, mustard, catsup, olives, pickles
* Worcestershire, soy and barbeque sauces
* Vinegar-based dressings
* Dried and candied fruits and dates
* Hard cheeses (Cheddar, Colby, Swiss, Parmesan, Provolone, Romano)
* Processed cheese
* Opened canned fruits and juices
* Bread, rolls, cakes, muffins, quick breads and tortillas
* Waffles, pancakes and bagels
* Fresh mushrooms, herbs and spices
For more on this, go to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s guide to Keeping Food Safe During an Emergency. For their list of what to throw out and when in PDF, click here. For more on food shelf life and storage, enter the name of the food in the Food Marketing Institute’s Food Keeper.
Just because you’re stuck in your house, possibly in the dark, doesn’t mean you can’t eat well. Be creative using your resources. Prepare a cheese and cold cut plate soon after power goes out and eat it with crackers so it doesn’t go to waste. Eat hummus and pita bread or fill the pita bread with canned tuna or chicken. Mix a variety of canned beans for a colorful salad.
Hurricane-proof recipes coming soon…
[tags] hurricanes, emergency preparedness, food safety, food storage [/tags]