Being a native Florida girl, I have ridden out many a hurricane in my day. The first hurricane I ever remember was when I was about 3 years old. My family’s small home, which my parents still live in, is just a few feet above sea level right on the water in North Pinellas county in West Central Florida.
I remember like it was yesterday huddling with my family with the power out in a darkened room while the wind howled for hours on end like thousands of ghosts as my father and mother prayed the roof would hold.
I also remember asking my mother if I could go outside with my little umbrella so that I could fly like Mary Poppins.
Fortunately, that Cat 3 storm with 120 mph winds came ashore south of us so the storm surge never came and our home and perhaps even our lives were spared. In hindsight, our family should have evacuated but back in the 1960′s most folks chose to ride out the storm and stay in their homes to protect the homestead.
The last hurricane I rode out was in 2004 when I was just a couple of months pregnant with my daughter. The stress from that particular storm was high and we were without power for close to a week during very hot and humid August days which added to the misery. I remember thinking that this poor baby I was carrying who was no doubt being flooded with my stress hormones would end up being a nervous wreck. As it turns out, my daughter is one tough little cookie and not much at all seems to faze her. Perhaps riding out her first hurricane before she was even born contributed to her steely edge.
Since I lived my entire childhood and most of my adult life in a hurricane prone area, learning to stock an adequate storm cabinet with essential provisions is a skill I learned very early and a practice I have continued to this day.
I keep a hurricane cabinet stocked all year long as it comes in handy if the power goes out for any reason not just because of a bad storm.
I don’t stock snackie foods of any kind as boredom eating can easily take hold in those hours or even days without power and overconsumption of these foods can lead to grumpy kids which is not helpful during such a time of increased stress.
I really focus my hurricane cabinet on foods that will nourish and fill you up with just a few bites if necessary.
In my experience, you really need less food than you think during a hurricane, so if you focus on the nourishing foods, an adequate hurricane cabinet really doesn’t require that much space.
Food and Other Basic Provisions in my Hurricane Cabinet
- MSG free beef and buffalo jerky
- Canned red salmon
- Tins of sardines packed in olive oil
- SPAM (one of the few canned meats that doesn’t contain MSG)
- Dried apricots
- Dried prunes
- Yogurt covered goji berries
- Dried mango
- Dried pineapple
- Soaked/dried almonds
- Soaked/dried cashews
- Soaked/dried pecans
- Soaked/dried pumpkin seeds
- Sunflower seeds
- Popcorn (for popping on the barbeque pit)
- Peanut butter
- Sunflower butter
- Raw honey
- Coconut butter
- Cod liver oil
- Paper plates/plastic utensils
- Plenty of jugs of water
- 7-8 gallons of kombucha (brewing all the time .. doesn’t need refrigeration)
- Bottles of oil for the hurricane lamps
- Bags of charcoal for the barbecue
- Both cars tanked up with gas
- Wind up radio
Of course, it is important to have a source for cooking when the power is out. I have jugs of frozen water in our spare freezer so if the power goes out, everything stays nice and cold for several days. If stuff starts to thaw, you start cooking on the outdoor barbecue or firepit while you wait for the lights to come back on.
In my experience, this list will easily last you a few days to a week without power. If the power is going to be off longer than that for a very severe storm, it is best to seek another location until normalcy is restored.
What essentials do you stock in your storm cabinet?
Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist