Cooking When a Hurricane Is Coming

Father and son make peanut butter sandwiches together.
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When a hurricane bears down on Florida, a trip to the grocery store or restaurant may not be possible. But there’s one question that’s echoed in Florida households every night: what’s for dinner?

Some of the biggest problems that happen during a hurricane are making sure you have an adequate food supply as stores may be closed and power may be out.

Preparing for Power Outages

If you’re worried that you may lose power, it’s a good idea to freeze things that you’d normally refrigerate – like milk and meats.

Another helpful idea is to freeze large containers of water – wash out old milk or orange juice containers and use those to make blocks of ice.

If you don’t have any on hand, freeze bottled water or fill resealable gallon-size plastic food storage bags. All will help keep food, especially perishables, cold.

Foods to Cook Ahead

While your power is still on, cook some foods ahead of time. Here are a few that can help you through the long weekend:

  • Eggs – Boil some and don’t peel them so they’ll stay fresh longer. You can eat them by themselves, slice them for sandwiches or add them to a salad.
  • Beans – If you have a few cans of beans, drain them. Then mash them in a boil with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. Scoop them up with some crackers, carrots or chips.
  • Foil Packed Veggies – Cut up your favorite veggies and add a little olive oil, salt and garlic powder. Wrap in foil and keep in the cooler until ready to cook. Then toss on the barbecue and grill for 5 to 7 minutes until tender. Let stand for 2 minutes before opening.
  • Peanut Butter and Jelly – So these don’t require cooking, but there’s a reason this old standby is a favorite. Eat it straight from the jar or add to bread.

Things to Remember

  • Turn down the temperature in your fridge to make it extra cold.
  • When preparing meals, don’t forget that uneaten portions must be thrown away if not consumed.
  • If your food doesn’t look normal, throw it out! Even if the expiration date hasn’t passed, don’t take chances.
  • Fruits, vegetables, and breads spoil and grow mold faster without refrigeration. If you can freeze those, it will help them stay fresh longer. But be sure to check for signs of spoilage and discard items.
  • To conserve water, wash your fruits and vegetables before the storm hits.

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