Would you believe this is what I had for dinner last night, after Hurricane Irene left me without power?
Don’t be jealous. With proper planning, you can eat like a Queen (or a King) too.
Here is what I did, prior to the impending arrival of angry Irene, to eat healthy, if I lost power, which I did.
How I prepared to eat healthy in an emergency
- Cooked a full pot of brown rice in my ever-trustworthy rice cooker. (Asian or not, you definitely need a rice cooker in your appliances department – the type that keeps rice warm at all times. You just never know when you’ll lose power and warm rice is a good source of nutrition and carb.)
- Stocked up on green veggies that I can eat raw – like broccoli, cauliflower, sugar snaps, string beans, celery, carrots, etc…you get the picture
- Bought Salmon – why? because it can be grilled even if I couldn’t use my electric stove top. And it cooks fast, saving gas. (You can substitute this with firm tofu if you are a vegan)
- Filled three ginormous thermoses, each with hot water, cold water, and coffee. (I would fill one with hot soup, if it was winter)
- Stored dry ice in the freezer, just in case.
- Boiled a bag of small white potatoes – just because I had a bag and I knew if I lost power, at least, I’d have some carbs to munch on.
- Filled the freezer with bags of veggies, ice packs, breads, and water bottles – this is the one time I actually bought water bottles so that I can freeze them to use as ice to fill up the freezer for more cold power and to use them as water when they thaw out.
- I have a ‘bunker’ with various ’emergency’ stash of foods, including a very few canned foods – have a thing against BPA – but I do keep a variety of foods to last about a week. I didn’t have to use any of it this time, lucky me, but you should stock up on canned beans, veggies, fruits, and even a couple of fish. Again, if you don’t have to cook them, it would be much better. And don’t forget to keep a manual can opener nearby so you know where it is.
My general tip is to plan to cook minimally, if not very quickly and lightly. You should plan on saving energy for cooking, eating smaller portions, drinking less, and snacking less too. Not only will this save you on energy for preparing meals during a power outage, but it will also reduce the need to “eliminate’ too, just in case, you lose water for the toilet.
The following is not a preparation tip but if you lose power, follow this general guideline, if you don’t know what to do with refrigerated foods.
• Unopened full freezer—food is good for 48 hours
• Unopened 1/2 full freezer—food is good for 24 hours
• Unopened refrigerator, depending on the type of food—4-6 hours
• When in doubt, throw it out
The tricky part is to prepare enough (and healthy) foods to eat during emergencies but to prepare them correctly and use them up correctly so as not to waste food if power goes out.
So here is what I did.
Prevent food spoilage during a blackout.
Although dry ice is expensive, I bought dry ice to keep in my freezer. It cost me $1 per lb. But it’s more effective for keeping foods cold. Fifty pounds of dry ice should keep a fully-stocked 18-cubic-feet freezer cold for two days. But regular ice melts much quicker so your food will not last as long in the freezer.
If the thermometer reads 40°F or below, the food is safe. If it’s above 40°, it’s in the danger zone. If there’s no thermometer in the freezer, check each package. If food still contains ice crystals, it’s safe. If any of the perishable food – such as meat, poultry, fish, soft cheeses, milk, eggs, leftovers and deli items – have been kept in a refrigerator or freezer above 40°F two hours or more, throw them out.
Now, I leave you with my Irene’s Blackout Miso Infused Grilled Salmon Recipe. (You didn’t think I’d leave you without giving you the recipe, did you?)
Irene’s Blackout Miso Infused Grilled Salmon Recipe
- 2 Tbsp Miso
- 4 Tbsp of water
- 1 tsp sliced ginger
- S/P to taste
- Wild Caught Pacific King Salmon fillet
- Mix the first four ingredients and marinade on the flesh side of the salmon for about 10 minutes.
- Grill the flesh side first on high heat for about ten minutes. When the side gets crispy, turn over to the skin side and grill for another ten minutes.
- Light a candle and enjoy with a side of some crunchy greens and cooked brown rice (or orzo or risotto, if you prefer.)
P.S. You can substitute the salmon with zucchini, eggplant, and any other vegetables you like to grill, if you are a vegetarian. You don’t have to enjoy this dish only during a hurricane or during a blackout but it makes it that much enjoyable when you thought you can only eat cold canned beans during a blackout.