How to Make a Power Outage Kit

The electricity just went out again. What are you going to make for dinner? Here's how to make a "power's out kit" with 3 days' worth of easy-to-prepare food.

Living out in the country like we do, our power goes out unexpectedly, but rather regularly. Usually it comes on again after a couple of hours. Sometimes it doesn't, but my "Power's Out" kit means I'm prepared.

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I put this kit together several years ago and have been tweaking it ever since. As I think of something that might be helpful I add it, and I rotate the food inside on a regular basis. 

The kit is meant for a short-term outage and can sustain us at home for up to three days.

Are you interested in making a kit too?

Start by planning easy-to-cook food for three days. Write down ideas for three meals a day plus snacks. Take into account the size of your family and their tastes and needs. Your contents will change over the years as your family's needs change.

What can you eat for dinner if the electricity goes out?

These nine meals can be supplemented with crackers and other foods you might have on hand as well as veggies from the garden if the season is right, but should be "enough" in case other items aren't available. 

After all, it might be the dead of winter or the day before payday.

Comfort food is a must during such times, so add a few "goodies" too, like a package of freeze-dried ice cream - you'll be surprised at how good it is and it's a fun treat during a stressful time. 

Add a jar of instant coffee if you're a coffee drinker, or single-serving cans of fruit juice, V-8, and Gatorade. 

You'll need bottled water too, of course. In most rural areas, if the electricity goes off, so does your well pump. You'll need bottled water for cooking and drinking (and coffee making). You can fill containers with tap water ahead of time to use for hygiene purposes and toilet flushing.

Snacks, including freeze-dried ice cream.

Your food items should be shelf-stable and just need to be warmed up on a campstove or other heat source. 

I didn't pack pans or cooking utensils in my kit because I'm assuming we'd use this at home where we have access to those items, but you can include those if you wish.

Put together a kit to sustain your family when the electricity goes out.

Saving fuel while cooking in a power outage

I've found an old-fashioned way to cook foods that require a bit more cooking time, which I call my non-electric slow cooker, also known as a straw box cooker.

The camp stove would require a lot of fuel to cook something all day long, but by bringing the food to a boil on the camp stove and then moving it quickly to my straw box cooker I can let it cook all day without using any additional fuel. 

Click here to find out more about straw box cooking and how I made one with items I already had on hand.

We've transitioned away from eating a lot of prepared foods, so I'm working home-canned items into the kit instead of cans from the grocery store. Packaged snacks will stay, just because they are shelf-stable. And because they are a bit of a "treat" they help my family get through the tediousness of days and evenings without electricity.

Non-food items to keep on hand

Paper and plasticware to use if the power goes out.

Include packages of paper plates, cups and plastic ware so you won't have to wash dishes. A box of heavy-duty aluminum foil is handy to wrap food packets for cooking on the grill. 

If you use an electric can opener in the kitchen, remember to put a manual can opener in your kit.

I store all of this in a large Rubbermaid bin or tote, with the heavier food on the bottom and the lighter items on top.

A weather radio and flashlights are important in power outages. You might put them in the kit or keep them in a more accessible place. 

Store fuel for your camp stove appropriately.

Power outage lights plug into your home's outlets and turn on automatically when the power goes out, providing light at night so you won't trip in the dark. 

A battery-operated lantern will provide light for tasks (ours gives us light to cook and eat, play card games and so on); this lantern even has a USB port to charge your phone.

Bin of food and supplies to use when the power goes out.

Rotating your emergency foods

The heart of the kit is the written menu plan. I know we might be tempted to eat more than I've planned for one day, so I wrote down what we should eat for each meal plus snacks.

All the foods in the kit need to be rotated and replaced on a regular basis. I try to do this every six months, checking expiration dates on the canned goods and replacing the snacks often to keep them crisp and fresh. 

I have a sticky note on my calendar/planner to remind me to rotate and replace foods, and when the task is completed I move the note forward another six months.

I'm currently experimenting with storing crispy snacks inside of vacuum-sealed jars. I'm hoping this will help keep them crisp and fresh because I abhor soggy snacks and our humid summer weather makes this a challenge. 

If you store items inside jars in their original packaging, poke a hole in the wrapper with a pin so the air can be sucked out of the packaging when you vacuum-seal the jar. 

Yes, you can vacuum seal jars, and not just canning jars. I've shared here how to vacuum seal almost any jar in your kitchen.

Storing items this way will add the weight of the glass jars, so keep that in mind if you want your power's out kit to be easily portable.

Plan ahead for emergencies

If you have pets keep a small bag of their food on hand, and if you have an infant or toddler it's a good idea to always have diapers and other needs stored away. 

Don't let your supplies get so low that you'd be in trouble if you couldn't get to the store. A power outage can be a minor emergency, but the day before payday can be an emergency too!

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Related posts:
Straw Box Cooker - how to cook without power
How to Prepare for Winter Storms
How We Prepare for Tornado Season

The electricity just went out again. What are you going to make for dinner? Here's how to make a "power's out kit" with 3 days' worth of easy-to-prepare food.


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