When you heard through the news that a storm is coming, you have to get prepared or a power outage. Well, you’ll never know for sure when will power be out as natural disasters may come unexpectedly, but if there are reports, it doesn’t hurt to get well-prepared. Before you brave the rains and winds, take a deep breath and get well-prepared, especially when it comes to cooking without power. If there’s no electricity, you won’t be able to microwave your mac and cheese, or cook rice, bake with the oven or make a decent cup of coffee, but it doesn’t mean you can’t have a decent meal. It takes some preparation to be able to do this, such as:
Do grocery shopping in advance
Before a storm hits your town, hit your favorite grocery store or supermarket. Stock up on non-perishable foods and essentials. Choose food with loads of protein and fat to keep your body warm and nourished during the cold.
While you still have power, do an inventory of what you have in the freezer and fridge. This will help make your grocery shopping more efficient. Here are some foods that you may want to stock up on during the power outage:
- Pantry essentials like pastas, rice, bread, canned goods, baking ingredients, vegetable oil and olive oil, vinegars, wine, oatmeal and grains, cookies, biscuits, milk, ketchup and other sauces, dried beans, stocks and broths, garlic, onions, potatoes, peppers, mayonnaise, jarred sauces, breadcrumbs, seasonings, herbs and spices
- Fridge must-haves like fruits, butter, cheese, tortillas, bacon
- Freezer items like pizza dough, frozen dinner rolls, beef, chicken, shrimp, sausages, frozen fruits, frozen vegetables
Check out this guide on how much food to store to prepare for a major disaster. If you’re able to go out and go to the groceries while the power is out, you can lay in a supply of fun and exciting food to keep yourself amused even if there’s no power. Eat your personal splurges like choco-chip cookies, potato chips, candy, and the like. It’s also advisable to stash an emergency supply of coffee so you can still make a cup of joe to maintain a semblance of normalcy in your home.
Clean and inspect the chimney
The fireplace is a great place to cook when there is no power. It can be a fun way to bond with your family, too. You may fill your Dutch oven with all sorts of ingredients to create meals over the fire. But if your chimney isn’t clean, it can present a fire hazard. You must have it cleaned and inspected every year before winter comes. This way, you can be ready to use it in the event of a storm.
Look for alternative cookware besides your electric stove
Since you won’t be able to use your electric stove or induction cooker, you can find other ways to cook during a power outage. You can use a propane stove that you store in your garage for camping trips. You can use your old gas stoves if they still work (provided that you have gas). Learn more about it here.
Use up perishable foods first
During the first day of your power outage, it helps if you cook perishables first so that it won’t go stale. Cook your meats, fresh produce, and dairy first, before cooking your pasta and instant ramen noodles. The possibilities for dishes are endless, and you don’t have to feel limited just because there’s no power. Sometimes, you just need to allocate more time in food preparation because you will miss the conveniences your electric kitchen appliances can provide.
Keep your fridge closed
If you keep opening and closing your fridge and freezer during a power outage, your food will get warm faster. Unless you really need to open the refrigerator, keep it closed. Refrigerators are equipped with an insulator to keep the cold in and the warmth out, so keep use of it. Temporarily, your fridge will serve as a cooler while the power is out. The ice bags you prepared beforehand will help keep your perishables fresh and safe.
Light up your workspace
Preparing and cooking food in the dark is dangerous. You may cut yourself when you’re chopping, and you might get burned if you accidentally touched a hot object. When preparing dinner during a power outage, keep a flashlight, a candle or a lantern on to illuminate your workspace. Better yet, cook earlier while there is still daylight, so you don’t have to cook in the dark anymore.
Keep a lighter or match at hand
As mentioned earlier, a camping stove that uses propane is an excellent alternative to your electric stove during a power outage. But with this, you need to gather matches or lighters to operate the stove. A gas stove can still work if there’s not electricity – you just need to create the spark inside your home. You can use the stove to heat meals and boil water.
Keep it fun
Power outages are usually caused by storms and other natural disasters. While you and your children are safe at home (and because schools are closed), you can gather around and designate roles for the kitchen. Send your kids on a treasure hunt through flipping through the pages of the cookbook. Let them cook what they want and guide them on how to do it right. This might be one of the most memorable brownout moments with Mon and dad for them.
When there’s no power, the meal that’s easiest to make is PB &J. You may love it, but it really gets old after a while. Here are a few ideas you can create with no cooking involved:
- Overnight oats
Mix rolled oats with water and let it sit overnight at the counter. In the morning, you can eat it as breakfast – just add banana, raisins, or other dried fruit, and add a little cinnamon for flavor.
Whatever kind of vegetable salad you may want to make, it can be prepared easily and right away. Just make sure that you also consume them right away.
- Tuna or salmon tacos
Combine chunks of canned tuna or salmon with chopped tomatoes, cucumber, and cubed avocado. In a bowl, toss them with white vinegar or dressing of lemon juice, then add a bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper. Then stuff them in tortillas or taco shells.
Mix up diced tomatoes from a can with its juice, chopped onions, chopped cucumber, salt and pepper, and a bit of Tabasco sauce or cayenne pepper. You can also add green or red peppers if you want. Drizzle it with olive oil and top with fresh parsley. Add a can of drained chickpeas to make it a heartier dish.
- Beans and grains
Mix drained canned beans with a pouch of pre-cooked grains. Add olive oil and any herbs and spices that you prefer. You can also add nuts or chopped veggies to make this dish tastier.
- Carrots and chickpeas
Combine drained canned chickpeas with grated carrots, nuts, raisins, and a little cinnamon. Toss it with vinegar and olive oil.