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Stock your food pantry for hurricane season

Dianne Douglas
The University of Florida Extension

Hurricane season is here and will be with us through November. We've already had a close call with a tropical storm over Memorial Day weekend that brushed the panhandle area and currently, there are two tropical systems churning in the Atlantic. Now is the time to stock up your food pantry to be prepared for any storm threat that may come during the hurricane season. If you wait until we are in a watch, you may find supplies depleted. Also, if you purchase a few items each week, you won't have a large bill for one purchase.

First priority is to stock a three to seven day supply of water. Experts say store one gallon of water per person per day, stored 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 in the event of a power outage. Better yet, look for canned goods with pop tops lids. Plan a supply of food to include all five 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, so it must go into a cooler on ice.

• Packaged crackers. If you are in a storm watch, it's an appropriate 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 lightweight, taste good and 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 and a way to refrigerate leftovers, so prepare enough for a meal.

For more information on food safety during and after a storm, contact the Madison County Extension Service at (850) 973-4138.

The University of Florida Extension/IFAS – Madison County is an Equal Employment Opportunity Institution.

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