Items to Have in Your Pantry When the Power Goes Out

I’ve been spending a lot of time working on building my pantry.  Call it a pantry stockpile or pantry stash, but my goal is to have a pantry that has enough food and supplies in it to keep me from having to go to the store every couple of days.  Another pantry goal of mine is to stock up on items when they are on sale so that when I need them, I don’t have to go out and pay full retail for them. 

I have dry beans, rice, pasta.  I have a bulk supply of grain that I use to grind my own flour for making bread and tortillas as well as other baked goods.  I have various other baking supplies like olive oil, baking powder and sugar. 

However, last week I found myself all but crippled when our power and water were out.  It’s difficult to make anything when the power is out and there is no running water in the house.  The dry beans and the grain were useless to me!  Now I could have soaked some beans in the spring water overnight, rigged up a fire pit and hung a pot over it and cooked it that way.  But maybe not, all the wood around me was soaked. 

Last week, I learned that we are almost as dependant on electricity as we are on oxygen!  Our houses are set up around running and functioning with electricity and running water and when those two things are missing, the house comes to a screeching halt.  It really wouldn’t have been so bad if our house was not so dependent on electricity.  Had I of had an outdoor kitchen like many of the old time houses had, I could have cooked something from my pantry.  But I don’t.

Instead, I realized that when the power goes out, I need to have a few basic items in my pantry that are not dependant on running water or power. 

  1. Bottled Water.  Always having emergency water on hand is a good idea no matter where you live.  Gallon drinking water or individual bottled water.  You really do not have any idea of how much water you use…until it doesn’t work anymore!
  2. Peanut butter or almond butter
  3. Crackers
  4. Bread can be stored in the freezer and if you loose power, it can be thawed and used to make sandwiches.
  5. Honey.  Thankfully we had a little bottle of honey which added needed sweetness to the peanut butter sandwiches.
  6. Dried Fruit is easy to store in the pantry, but also makes a great snack.
  7. Fresh Fruit.  I always try to keep fresh fruit around, but when there is no power or water, it’s nice to be able to peel an orange or slice an apple.  A garden with tomatoes and cucumbers, watermelon and cantaloupe would have been luxury!
  8. Nuts and seeds.  We found that having peanuts and other nuts and seeds were a nice treat.  We even mixed in a bag of M&M’s and made a trail mix, which was a rare treat. 
  9. Individual juice bottles, juice boxes or specialty drinks.  I NEVER buy those juice cases from Costco or Sams.  I’ve always thought they were too expensive and were impractical when you could buy a large jug of juice much cheaper.  However, after someone giving us a case of juice last week when we didn’t have power or running water….I’m rethinking keeping some cases of specialty drinks around in my emergency stash.  It’s not vital, but its a helpful alternative to drinking bottled water.  Once you’ve consumed case after case of bottled water…it’s nice to have some other options. 
  10. Cans of beans, vegetables and fruit.  As the days went by without power, we finally figured out that we could heat food with tea light candles burning underneath one of our “fancy” casserole dishes.  We heated up a large can of beans with candle heat and wrapped the hot beans in tortillas to make burritoes.   
  11. Paper products:  paper plates, paper towels, disposable forks and spoons. 

Some Changes To My Pantry

In the past, I haven’t had a lot of convenience foods in the house, however, I’m keeping more ready to eat food around after this experience.  Food like dried fruit, nuts, seeds, frozen bread, granola,  granola bars, peanut butter.  I’m keeping more canned fruit too. 

I’m keeping a rotating stash of bottle water and bottled juice.  Even a case of Sprite and Starbucks Fraps!

So those are just a few of the thoughts I had on some changes I’m intending on making.  Not that losing power and water is a regular event, but when it does happen, it’s nice to be a little prepared. 

2 comments on “Items to Have in Your Pantry When the Power Goes Out

  1. I’ve been looking forward to reading this. I am looking toward to fixing an emergency box with food, etc . . . in it for the future. We have frequent tornado watches and warnings and last October a flood that came withing 25-30 feet of our home. My neighbor has lived in her home for over 50 years and said she had never seen the water as high as it was that night. ( I live in the SE, too.) Do you plan to keep a paper or electronic list with expiration dates for stuff you have stored? Also, I once saw a video online about preparing your own bottled water for long-term storage in old juice bottles. Have you given any thought to doing that so you don’t have to buy so much water? Please update as your plans expand and are completed. I need some encouragement and guidance in this area. I don’t want to spend several nights this spring huddled in the bathroom, thinking about how I never got around to getting stuff together.

    • Hi Melinda….  Sorry it took so long for me to reply…

      I do keep a pantry sheet in my household notebook that has some of my big bulk purchases on it.  I also write dates on the jugs and tops of the cans I buy with a permanent marker.  I also date all my home canning items.  I do my best to rotate items. 

      My biggest problem now with my pantry is storage space.  We are in tight quarters so it is hard to organize like I want it!

      I have saved some juice bottles (the big ones from Sams / Costco) and have put water in them.  Not a lot of them….and we use them for when we go out to have water in the truck…so I’ve been refilling them often.  I have also frozen them and used them for the ice chest. 

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