How long could you feed your family, if you couldn’t go shopping?
With cornavirus looming, who knows which food supplies might run short, if the supply chain and deliveries get disrupted.
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I first wrote about stocking up on emergency food supplies after seeing photos of empty supermarket shelves during ‘Beast from the East’ snow storms.
A few days of severe weather seemed to make half the country grind to a halt. With many shops reliant on central warehouses, food deliveries got disrupted by the snow.
Luckily back in 2018, more by luck than judgement, I’d just done a big food shop. This meant we could hole up at home for several days, without braving freezing temperatures and icy roads to buy anything extra. But up in Edinburgh, loads of shops near my sister ran out of basics like bread and milk.
Even in good weather, an emergency food stockpile could come in handy. If money is tight, benefits are delayed or illness keeps you stuck inside, extra supplies will help tide you over. Certainly when we tried to cut costs by using up the contents of our fridge, freezer and kitchen cupboards, it made a big difference.
Post with the results of our storecupboard challenge
Researching this post, I fell down a rabbit hole of ‘preppers‘, bracing themselves for the collapse of civilisation or the zombie apolocalypse. I’m not suggesting you stockpile rifles in the spare room, but having a few extra tins can’t hurt.
Top tips for starting an emergency food stockpile
- Think long life, non-perishable food
- Add one or two items a week, if you don’t want to bust your budget (or give yourself a hernia carrying stuff home)
- Take advantage of multi buy offers like ‘buy one, get one free’
- Switch to own-brands and value range items to keep costs down
- If kitchen space is tight, keep a few cans under the bed or at the bottom of your wardrobe
- Rotate stocks to stop food going off, pulling items with the shortest dates to the front
- When you use something from the stockpile, replace it next time you go shopping
- Think about storage, for example keeping flour in a tightly sealed container
- Set aside space in your freezer. I try to keep some essentials handy, like a sliced loaf, frozen peas, frozen meat and fish, butter and ever-faithful fishfingers
- Choose items your family will actually eat. No point stashing lentils or quinoa if your nearest and dearest won’t touch them
- Even without an emergency, these supplies could all come in handy for a self-catering holiday or last minute camping trip
Post with what to pack to cut the cost of a self-catering holiday
Essential items for an emergency food stockpile
Here’s my list of suggestions:
- Porridge oats
- Powdered milk or long life milk
- Long life fruit juice
- Baking powder
- Peanut butter
- Tinned beans, like baked beans or kidney beans
- Tinned tomatoes
- Tinned fish like tuna, salmon and sardines
- Tinned meat or a jar of frankfurters
- Tinned potatoes, if you can face them, or Smash
- Tinned fruit, like peaches, grapefruit, pears or pineapple
- Dried fruit like raisins or apricots
- Curry paste
- Tomato puree
- Stock cubes
- Spices and flavours like chilli powder and soy sauce
- Cooking oil
- Salt and pepper
Non food items
- Spare tin opener
- Candles and matches
- Torch and batteries
- Pet supplies like pet food and cat litter
- Spare medicine
- Loo roll
- Toiletries like shampoo, conditioner, deodorant (Maybe those hotel miniatures would come in handy!)
Possible meals from an emergency food stockpile
With the supplies above, we could have breakfast with cereal or porridge, tea or coffee, some fruit juice and tinned fruit.
If we didn’t have a spare loaf in the freezer, I could still use the flour and yeast to make bread to eat with peanut butter or honey, with soup, sardines or baked beans, or as sandwiches. If I made rolls, we could use the frankfurters to make hotdogs.
I can’t pretend these are gourmet options, but they’d be warm and filling:
- Fishcakes using tuna or salmon with smash, plus baked beans
- Tuna pasta bake, adding tinned tomatoes and pasta
- Rice salad with tuna, salmon or frankfurters plus sweetcorn
- Chickpea or lentil curry with rice
- Veggie chilli with rice, using tomatoes, kidney beans and chilli powder
- Pasta pesto with frozen peas
On the sweet side, the dried milk and flour would come in handy making pancakes to eat with honey and tinned or dried fruit. I might throw caution to the wind and add a packet of jelly and evaporated milk to the list, to make puddings for the kids. I didn’t attempt adding biscuits to a stockpile – they’d get eaten well before any emergency!
If you’re not keen on much cooking, then cans of chilli, soup, stew, curry and ravioli might appeal.
In practice, I’d rarely have only these essentials on hand. I usually have cheese and eggs knocking around, which could expand our meals to home-made pizza using flour and yeast, egg fried rice, cheese on toast and omelettes, for example. Even bendy carrots, potatoes and sprouting onions can make a base for soups and tomato sauces.
Now over to you – what would you add to an emergency stockpile? What essentials do you always have to hand? Do let me know in the comments, as I’d love to hear!