Nova Scotia is known as much for its weather as its vibrant culture and beautiful scenery. The fall and winter never cease to amaze me with how many storms take over the province, uniting everyone through weather apps and storm chips. Even the slightest windstorm risks a power outage that can last from hours to days. And while the lack of WiFi and cable can be inconvenient, losing power for too long can cause some heart-wrenching fridge purging, not to mention limit your ability to cook your usual meals. While I may not be able to save your carton of milk, I can suggest some helpful items to always keep in your pantry for a blackout.
But first, let's establish a few important tips in case of a power outage:
- If you keep your fridge door closed your food should be able to last for at least four hours without power. Since everyone's fridge is different, some may last longer than others. But make a mental note when four hours hit so you remember to do some quality checks once the power returns.
- Not all fridge items will need to be discarded after an outage. Items such as meat, fish, and poultry, should be discarded after the four-hour mark (unless power comes back on and you plan to cook it), but condiments such as ketchup, mustard, hot sauce, soy sauce, etc., will be fine.
OK, now onto the food!
PB&J: Peanut butter, bread, and jam
Not only is this a delicious breakfast, lunch, or dinner, but all three ingredients can survive being left out of the fridge. Just be aware that jam will spoil faster when unrefrigerated (approx. after a week or two) so I wouldn’t plan on playing the long game with it. But, when an outage hits, you know you can always count on this childhood staple to keep you going.
Packed full of iron and protein, canned fish or chicken can be the perfect meal to fuel your powerless festivities. Depending on when you opt for this snack, you can use the mayo from your fridge (if it's within the first six hours) to make a yummy salad mix for crackers or sandwiches, or you can use avocados (which you can get for usually under $5 and don’t need to refrigerate) as a creamy substitute.
* Just make sure you have a can opener on hand!
Whether they’re salted, whole grain, or roasted red pepper flavour, crackers can make for a quick and yummy snack when you get the mindless munchies. When picking up your storm snacks, check the nutritional information to see if your crackers have a high fibre content. If they do, then you know they will keep you fuller for longer!
Apples, bananas, peaches, oranges, plums—anything that comes in its own wrapper makes for a great staple to always have on hand. Also, just like the crackers, fruits are high in fibre and sugar which means you’ll not only get a sugar rush, you’ll also curb your hunger for longer.
Canned fruit also makes for a great snack and it's super cheap!
I’m pretty sure these are a staple in most emergency kits as they’re full of the nutrients that will keep you going throughout a storm. They’re delicious (my favourites are peanut butter), have an extremely long shelf life, and don’t require any refrigeration. In other words, they’re one of the best foods to always keep on hand, especially during hurricane and blizzard season.
Power outages can be fun and nerve-wracking, especially if it's your first time living away from home. Be sure to always check your weather apps and Environment Canada to ensure you have time to stock up on the foods and supplies you might need. It's always better to be safe than sorry.
Stay safe and happy eating!