In Florida, you never know when a storm will hit. Recent weather forecasts are predicting a quiet hurricane season. With predictions of few storms, residents often become complacent about hurricane preparation. Regardless of predictions, it’s wise to stock your food pantry in anticipation; even the heavy thunder storms we experience during the summer can knock out power for a period of time, leaving it difficult to prepare meals. First priority is to stock a three to seven day supply of drinking water. Experts say store one gallon of water per person per day in food-grade containers. If you have water on the shelf from last year, pour it out and refill the containers. Some people may prefer to purchase bottled water from a store for drinking, which is an option. Stock a two-week supply of non-perishable packaged or canned food and juice that require little or no cooking and no refrigeration. Be sure to have a manual can opener because, of course, an electric one would be useless if the electricity is off. Better yet, look for canned goods with pop-top lids. Plan a supply of food to include all of the food groups, you can find many foods in canned or shelf stable packaging. The following is a list of food that would be suitable for hurricane preparedness:
▪ Protein foods such as peanut butter, canned tuna, salmon, ham and baked beans.
▪ Small cans of fruit and fruit juice.
▪ Small milk packaged in UTH boxes. Be sure to look at the “Use By” date, and be aware once the package is opened, any unused portion needs to be chilled and must go into a cooler on ice.
▪ Packaged crackers. If you are in a storm watch, it is a good time to stock up with a couple loaves of bread. ▪ Small cans of vegetables that can be opened and consumed in one meal.
▪ Granola type bars. They store well, are light weight, taste good, are nutritious and high in calories.
▪ Trail mix - Blends of granola, nuts, seeds and dried fruits are available prepackaged, or mix your own.
▪ Instant meals such as cups of noodles or cups of soup are also a good addition to kits, although they too need water for reconstitution. If you have a source of fire, such as a camp stove or grill, food can be cooked for meals, but remember you may not have electricity, so prepare enough for a meal without leftovers. For more information of stocking a food supply for emergencies, contact the Madison County Extension Service.