Friday, December 6, 2013

Weather Ready

Are you weather ready? With all the storms of rain and snow and ice crossing the entire country right now, it seems a little late to think of this, but let's do it anyway. I read someone's comment that those who were standing in line at the grocery store the day before a storm were buying milk and eggs and bread and perishable things that couldn't be stored. Because of my prep-oriented mind, even if I thought that these things couldn't be stored, I'd have been at the store a week before when the first forecast came along. Or maybe I'd have been there at the beginning of fall, thinking about things I could have on hand if an emergency rose, so that I wouldn't have to worry about it the day before, when shelves empty out before a disastrous storm arrives.

This person's comment got me thinking about what could go on the shelves well in advance. I have some things there already, of course, because I believe in being prepared. Anyone, however, can have a small shelf of emergency food set up.


I don't normally use my canned powdered milk, except in a financial emergency or a storm emergency, because the cost is about the same as buying fresh milk. It isn't economical. It doesn't taste the same, though it isn't bad these days, not like ones I tried in the late seventies when we lived on the reservation - though I got used to that taste, and it wasn't really BAD. Just not as tasty. The new generation of instant powdered milks, though, really are pretty good - different taste from fresh, but definitely drinkable. My favorite is the Thrive Life Instant Milk, but it is more expensive than the powdered (not instant) milk from the Bishop's storehouse - about twice as much. I like to have some stored, though, because it mixes so easily with a whip, and if there's no electricity, I can't use my blender.

Another option is canned evaporated milk, which some might not find as tasty, but on sugar cereal, or for cooking, there's no reason it won't work, and in an emergency, it will work for anything. I personally don't mind the taste at all. I dilute it 1 can of water to one can of milk. To make it a little sweeter, one could stir in a spoonful of sweetened condensed milk (which also can be reconstituted to make milk, but really costly!). Or you could put a jar of coffee creamer on the shelf - it keeps forever 'cause it's mostly plastic - but it would improve the taste, perhaps.


Eggs themselves will keep quite a while without refrigeration, so if you have some in the refrigerator when the electricity goes, don't think they are going bad right away! There are people who don't even keep their eggs in the refrigerator, but I wouldn't recommend that for more than a few days if you aren't eating them right away. It's usually fresh eggs, not those which have already been refrigerated from the store.

Every food storage company out there has some form of egg powder. While you can get whole eggs from Thrive Life, Augason Farms, and Emergency Essentials, among others, my preference is the Scrambled Egg Mix from Thrive Life. I think it's just tastier and more fresh-egg-like. The other companies also have one or more scrambled egg varieties.

Whatever you choose, eggs are not a problem. Any of the powdered eggs are fine in cooking or baking.


This one's not so hard, either! You don't bake your own bread? Not a problem. Who says bread has to come in sandwich slices? There are biscuit mixes, pancake mixes, and muffin mixes out there to store on the shelf. You can freeze flour tortillas for quite some time and they are fine when thawed. If you want to have actual bread, practice now with a sourdough starter like Herman. It's the only one I've ever used, and it is very forgiving if you forget to feed it, over feed it, or add whole wheat flour - whatever, it just keeps on chugging. Warning: If you start with Herman or another sourdough starter, be prepared to make bread every few days, or have a lot of friends with whom to share the starter! You can make bread, cakes, muffins, and many other bread products with Herman.

Your best bet is to experiment with these things before an emergency and see what your family tolerates best.

How are you going to cook all that? Quickest thing is to have a sterno stove and fuel on that storage shelf. Learn to use Dutch oven cooking and baking with a cast iron pot and charcoal, also stored on your shelf. Many kinds of Franklin and other stoves have a cook-top you can use while you are staying warm. If you are investigating something like that for heat in winter emergencies, make that a priority on your list. Solar ovens are more expensive, but there are also varieties you can make yourself. They might not be as efficient as the experts, but you can use a solar oven even on a cold day, as long as there is any heat from the sun. If you have a propane grill, you can cook and you can bake! Just don't let the propone run low. Keep a spare tank, if you can afford that.

See? You can avoid those lines on the day before a storm, and all the stress that goes with not planning ahead.