Stocking Your Storm Pantry - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

Stocking Your Storm Pantry

Now is the time to get prepared before the threat of a storm.


Listed below are some quick-to-prepare canned foods that do not need to be cooked or refrigerated before opening. You can store all canned foods for up to one year without loss of quality. Freeze-dried and dehydrated items, if kept dry, can be stored indefinitely. In addition to food, stock at least 10 gallons of drinking water - enough to reconstitute at least four quarts of dry milk per day for at least a week - and for other drinking purposes.


Any of the following foods that have been without refrigeration for two hours or more should be avoided:

Meat, poultry, seafood
Cooked vegetables
Foods made with cream sauces or mayonnaise
Cream cheese
Cottage cheese
Milk, Custard, Cream Pie
Home-cooked vegetables unless they can be boiled for 10 minutes after opening (20 minutes for spinach and corn)
Melted ice cream
Nonperishable Canned Foods

Main-dish items:
Beef Chili with Beans
Potted Meat
Chicken a la King
Chicken & Dumplings
Refried Beans
Chicken Stew
Corned Beef
Ham Loaf
Spaghetti & Meatballs
Macaroni & Cheese
Pork and Beans
Vienna sausage
Pork Luncheon Loaf

Beans, all types
Mustard Greens
Blackeyed Peas
Sweet Potatoes, Yams
Tomatoes, Tomato Juice
Green Peas
Turnip Greens
Yellow Squash
Mixed Vegetables

*Home-canned vegetables are best avoided since these vegetables must be brought to a rolling boil, covered, and boiled for 10 minutes before using (20 minutes for spinach and corn, 10 minutes for others).

Fruits and Juices
Fruit Cocktail
Fruit Juices
Ready-to-eat Foods
Bottled Hot Sauce
Packaged Taco Shells
Bottled Salad Dressing
Peanut Butter
Cheese Spreads (in jars)
Corn Chips
Salt, Pepper
Tartar Sauce
Spanish Peanuts
Dry Cereals

Sugar, Honey Evaporated Milk Vinegar Graham Crackers Worcestershire Sauce Mustard

Dehydrated Foods (requires only the addition of water or some form of reconstituted milk)

Instant Breakfast
Instant Puddings
Instant Chocolate Drink Powder
Nonfat Dry Milk Powder


Cooking and eating habits must change to fit the situation during a power failure. You may have no heat, no refrigeration, and limited water. In addition, health risks from contaminated or spoiled foods may increase. Follow these instructions when preparing food during a power outage. Conserve Fuel 

  • Choose foods that cook quickly if you have limited heat for cooking. Prepare casseroles and one-dish meals or serve no-cook foods. 
  • Alternate cooking methods:
    a) Fireplace - You can cook on skewers; wrap food in foil and place in the hot coals, cook on a wire grill over the flames; or you can cook over the flames in heavy cookware such as cast iron or heavy aluminum. A Dutch oven is probably the best piece of cookware, because it can be used for baking, boiling, stewing or pan frying.
    b) Outdoor grills - Foods can be cooked on outdoor grills, but use the grills outside. Do not use them in a closed area, not even in a garage.
    c) Fuel-burning camp stoves or charcoal burners- Use these cookers outdoors only. Fumes from these can be deadly. Conserve Water 
  • Substitute liquids from canned vegetables for water in cooked dishes. (These liquids should not be left unrefrigerated for more than two hours.)
  • Drain and save juices from canned fruits in refrigerator. Substitute these for water in salads and beverages. Observe Health Precautions 
  • Boil (for at least 10 minutes) water used in food preparation. 
  • If you are without refrigeration, open only enough food for one meal. Cooked vegetables, meat, and meat dishes should not be left unrefrigerated for more than two hours, including preparation and serving time. Do not keep these dishes overnight without refrigeration. If necessary, substitute canned or powdered milk for fresh milk. Canned milk keeps safely for no more than two hours after the can is opened. If you are using canned milk to feed a baby, however, open a fresh can for each bottle. Use only boiled or disinfected water to mix powdered milk. Use powdered milk immediately after it is mixed. If safe water or water-disinfecting materials are not available, use canned or boiled fruit juices instead of water. Prepare and eat foods in their original containers if possible. This will help if dishwashing facilities are limited.
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