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What can you eat without electricity?

rob333 (zone 7b)
3 months ago
last modified: 3 months ago

I'm thinking nuts, dried cereal, whole fruits and veggies, canned fruits and vegetables, and canned chicken or tuna? A loaf of bread and peanut butter? Bottled water.


What does anyone else think? I don't plan to be without electricity, but it's possible in the storms, especially with the winds.Best luck to us all!

Comments (92)

  • morz8 - Washington Coast
    3 months ago

    jrb451 - I grew up in a house with well too. When a nasty coastal storm was forecast we filled every large pot/container in the kitchen and the bathtub so we'd have water to flush. Oh, the memories. The city did run a water line through our area later on and my mother didn't connect to it immediately. We had many days where the city proper had water restrictions in summer where we never ran low. Friends would bring their cars over to wash them since we didn't need to restrict our usage.

    Same with DH although his childhood area did acquire city treated water but much more recently. They kept the well connections for the garden, barn, outbuildings and use that even today....the house which is now raising children again (nephew's family) has city water.

    rob333 (zone 7b) thanked morz8 - Washington Coast
  • rob333 (zone 7b)
    Original Author
    3 months ago

    Just camping gear. My house was built in 1918 and the fireplace only accommodates coal or an insert which I have not added. I have no gas. I don't even have lines for gas. Where I live in the US, middle tennessee, everything is central heat and air. Problem with living in a neighborhood that was built in 1918, besides really skinny roads 😉, our electricity is a little outdated, and it doesn't take much for us to lose power. When the tornadoes came through December 12, I think I had to do without electricity for less than half a day though. Other areas it took weeks. Maybe I'll get lucky again

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  • jrb451
    3 months ago
    last modified: 3 months ago

    @morz8 - Washington Coast, the downside of all electric home with a well quickly became apparent to me after flushing the toilet the first time during a power outage. We addressed all those negatives after moving into our current home. Last night I was awakened by the Tornado siren. Then, a couple of hours later, a brief power outage. We’re expecting more of the same over the next few days.

    rob333 (zone 7b) thanked jrb451
  • maire_cate
    3 months ago

    Happen to have a fondue pot? Sterno?


    There's also canned milk or shelf stable milk. I always kept a few little boxes of the shelf stable milk in the pantry for my coffee or cereal.

    rob333 (zone 7b) thanked maire_cate
  • rob333 (zone 7b)
    Original Author
    3 months ago

    The line shaking winds are finally here. This doesn't even count the snow that's coming on Monday. Hopefully, neither is an event 🤞🏻🤞🏻🤞🏻

  • floraluk2
    3 months ago

    If the fireplace can burn coal do you keep a coal supply? Can it burn wood? If you have an open functioning fireplace you can keep warm and cook.

    rob333 (zone 7b) thanked floraluk2
  • rob333 (zone 7b)
    Original Author
    3 months ago

    I've never tried it. And I've shut it as much as possible. Though, the coal parlor stove remains in the basement

    Not mine, but looks very similar. Not connected to anything.

  • floraluk2
    3 months ago

    Might be a good idea to get the chimney tested for future possible need. It might have been capped or be full of soot. You can always cover the fireplace when not needed, to avoid draughts.

    Every room in our old house has a fireplace but all are unusable. Plus we're in a smokeless zone so couldn't use them even if they did function.

    rob333 (zone 7b) thanked floraluk2
  • arcy_gw
    3 months ago

    We have a whole house generator/ old school grill we use often, wood pellet stove and a fireplace. Food would just never be a problem. Today with the temps plunging to sub zero I am defrosting my upright freezer. The contents will be safe outside!

    rob333 (zone 7b) thanked arcy_gw
  • Lars
    3 months ago

    I had no electricity for 2-1/2 days after the Northridge quake in January 1994, but the day after the quake, the temperature was 82°. I ate food from my refrigerator during that time, and I had so much that I gave food to neighbors. I had planned to start on food from the freezer, but I never got to that point. I had a gas stove, but we also had no gas, and so I could not use that.

    My main concern back then was that I could not boil water to make tea or coffee. I no longer drink coffee, but I did back then and needed a caffeine fix. I am happy to say that now I no longer need that.

    Since I was in an apartment at that time (right before I moved to a house in Venice), I could not use camping equipment for cooking, unless I went to the patio area by the pool, which some people did. I don't even remember what I ate from the refrigerator, but whatever it was worked out okay. I think I probably made sandwiches. I did try to open the fridge as little as possible.

    I'm better equipped now for outages and we have several propane tanks that we can use for our gas grill and pizza oven. In L.A. we could cook on our Big Green Egg, which uses wood and charcoal. It is never too cold outside to use it, although today temps are below normal and will not get above low 60s in L.A. - slightly colder than here in Cathedral City.

    I used to go camping frequently, and I still have camping equipment that I have stored in the garage in L.A. that I could use in an emergency.

    rob333 (zone 7b) thanked Lars
  • bpath
    3 months ago

    arcy, 0° days are the best days for defrosting the freezer! Empty nesters now, we found we weren’t using up the frozen food, and stocking less/different food than with the kids home and being a band and theater mom, so we unplugged it and use it for dry storage.

    The power was out this morning for a two hours. I had a slice of whole grain bread with peanut butter. Just as I was getting ready to clear the driveway and drive to the coffee shop, the power came back on. (I’m glad, too too, because I’d have to lift and lower the garage door by hand and it’s really heavy.)

    rob333 (zone 7b) thanked bpath
  • rob333 (zone 7b)
    Original Author
    3 months ago

    bpath, you reminded me of a coworker. They moved from Chicago and they were very accustomed to driving in snow. However, they couldn't get their car out to drive in it... because it was a completely electric door and the electricity was off. Rude awakening. We sure giggled at that.


    Wind gusts to 55. Didn't lose any trees, and the power is on today. Hopefully no rolling blackouts like last year. Or precipitation weighing down power lines. Out for lunch today and will go to church in the morning to get my "people fix". Then, I'm hunkering down in the house. I'm going to deep clean to keep busy. Saving the spraying, sweeping, mopping and dusting in case they power goes out. When I have power, cooking, baking, laundry, and steam cleaning.


    I'm ready! Thanks for all the suggestions.

  • bpath
    3 months ago

    One thing I didn’t do yesterday was blow-dry my hair! So if I had to go out today, I’d have to wear a hat. Not so bad if I’m just going for coffee, but if I went to the library to stay warm and read or use the wifi, I’d get awfully hot.

    rob333 (zone 7b) thanked bpath
  • User
    3 months ago
    last modified: 3 months ago

    Wow! I’m surprised at how long some people have been without power. I must be lucky 🍀I live in a rural area and the longest we were ever without power is 8 hours and that was during a planned outage. We were given notice of it a week ahead of time. We went to a movie and out for dinner.

    The only other times are when maybe lightning struck something or a tree came down but it was rectified in a matter of hours.

    I do think that ”What can I eat?” would be the least of my worries during an extended power outage.

    rob333 (zone 7b) thanked User
  • Adella Bedella
    3 months ago

    You can get the hiking food mixes where you just add boiling water and you have a hot meal. I keep hamburger helpers on hand for emergencies. They cook pretty quick and meat is not an absolute necessity.


    We have a generator and lots of camping gear. It's come in handy in past power outages. I make sure the gas tanks on all of the vehicles are full in case we need to go some place or need a warm place to sit.


    A safer alternative to candles is the outdoor solar lights you use in your gardens. I pulled a few out of the flower beds when we were without power a few years back. My teens were able to go to their rooms without me freaking out about them setting the house on fire.



    rob333 (zone 7b) thanked Adella Bedella
  • rob333 (zone 7b)
    Original Author
    3 months ago

    easy rox. There's a lot of prep when getting ready for storms. I just picked one for conversation.


    My absolute biggest worry is keeping warm. I bet I can find one of my five siblings nearby though. And I'd rather not be a burden. I'll do what I can, I'll I can't. Then, they'll help me.

  • Olychick
    3 months ago

    I think the longest I've been without power was 9 days. Worst was no water. We store water for emergencies but not being able to flush without filling the tank manually, having to wash and rinse dishes (besides having to heat it all first) and no clothes washing. We have a little portable shower that is a bag you fill with water with a hose that gravity feeds the water through a hose and spray head. We rig it up on the shower head so you can stand in the shower to use it. We cook and heat with the woodstove. Not sure it was that same outage, but I once cooked a full turkey dinner on a woodstove. I have to say, I don't think I came from pioneer stock. I pretty much hate everything about it, esp now that I am older. I have a small generator now, which makes many things easier. I have Starlink, too, so can run that off the generator for internet, but I haven't had the "opportunity" to test that out.

  • User
    3 months ago
    last modified: 3 months ago

    “easy rox. There's a lot of prep when getting ready for storms. I just picked one for conversation.”

    Oh, Rob. I know that. I was just thinking about preparing for an emergency. I’m just thinking out loud. 🙂

    I’d sooner be over prepared rather than underprepared for an emergency. Food doesn’t come into play.

  • foodonastump
    3 months ago
    last modified: 3 months ago

    If it were me, alone, I’d be most concerned about two things:

    1) water freezing in the pipes if the indoor temps actually get that cold.

    2) not buying food that I won’t ever choose to eat if I don’t lose power.

    For what I would buy, I wouldn’t go too nuts. I can rough it without proper meals for a few days or even a week or more. Who cares. I’d get jugs of water. A gallon per day is more than plenty. (So I can shut down and drain the house water if needed.) Dry milk. A variety of cereal. Maybe some cereal bars, chips and salsa, peanut butter and crackers. Some produce that’s not too picky about temperature. Again, reasonable amounts of stuff I’ll actually eat before it spoils regardless of what happens with the storm. Done. Oh, plenty of alcohol if I still drank. That I’d overbuy, ”just in case” LOL. I’ve overbought all kinds of nonsense in the past, like canned stuff I’d never normally eat. At best it ends up at in the local food pantry, at worst in the landfill.

    As for warmth, whatever. That’s what sweatshirts and blankets are for. You’re not roxsol’s neighbor! 🙂

    rob333 (zone 7b) thanked foodonastump
  • User
    3 months ago

    That would be ”neighbour”, FOAS 😉

  • beesneeds
    3 months ago

    I tend a bit to the overprepared, heh. Being in the boonies can do that to you. We don't lose power like we used to. First few years here a power outage of days a couple times a year with a smattering of other outages was almost normal. There was the Christmas that wasn't- we were supposed to host but had a week long outage that year. Winter outages are pretty rare now, but we still tend to hole up when the big weather hits. Just in case.

    rob333 (zone 7b) thanked beesneeds
  • Kathsgrdn
    3 months ago

    I bought a power station recently just in case the power went out. It will keep my fridge working for up to 10 hours. It came with a small solar panel too. I can also recharge my phone with it. Not practicle for heat, though. I have a couple space heaters but the power station wouldn't last long using them. I had to buy a small, cheap, rolling cart to put it on because I can barely lift it. It's around 62 pounds. It's charged and ready to go. I've been without power for up to a week before. I suppose I could also use it with the microwave to warm stuff up. I mainly bought it so my food wouldn't go bad and I wouldn't have to take it all out and put in coolers and go buy ice.


    I'm still considering buying a wood stove someday. I do have a small grill and camping stove so I do have something to cook with if the power goes out. Both are a pain when the temperature is so cold out, though.


    Next year I may buy another battery to connect to the power station and use it for my cpap if the power were to go out.

    rob333 (zone 7b) thanked Kathsgrdn
  • Olychick
    3 months ago

    If it's so cold out, why wouldn't you just move your refrigerated food outside instead of running the refer?

  • rob333 (zone 7b)
    Original Author
    3 months ago
    last modified: 3 months ago

    The storm is something else and I was just trying to keep our mind off things. I don't think I'm worried about anything I'm pretty prepared. I really don't want to be cold. We've had single digit weather before, and the pipes didn't burst. I'm pretty vigilant about that. They're wrapped, and I have a stream of water the entire time. Once it hits teens I start running the water.

    All of my seedlings are indoors, which is more than I can say for other years 😃

    I have my medications. I just got new brakes, rotated the tires, and filled the car with gas that's about to sit in the backyard. I'm taking it completely off the streets after church so people have plenty of room. Plenty of water. And ready should anything happen. I know how to get ahold of my insurance carrier, all of my siblings and Daddy. I can text my boss should I decide not to go to work physically. I've already decided I'm going to work from home next week. Just don't think I could be any more ready for anything that's expected.

    But then, that's what's wrong with these things-the unexpected.

    Hugs to everyone with the winds, snow, blizzard, and I'm especially thinking of you Lucille, freezing rain (in Texas). This La Niña winter is looking very difficult

  • User
    3 months ago
    last modified: 3 months ago

    Olychick, I get confused reading about power outages and what people are worried about.

    A hot weather outage is a totally different animal than a cold weather outage. Plumbing freezing IMO is the biggest concern during cold weather and food spoiling IMO is the biggest concern during hot weather but that is easier to take care of.

    A tree landing on your house and breaking through the roof is another matter! Or flooding! Or wildfires!

  • rob333 (zone 7b)
    Original Author
    3 months ago
    last modified: 3 months ago

    Serious question, because it is my biggest concern. Aren't you at least bit worried about yourself or your animals freezing with extended cold temperatures and no electricity? I have been without electricity in the heat, and it's not that bad. It ain't wonderful, but it also wasn't for an extended time either.

    I live in the city, so I won't be without electricity for an extended period, I don't think. 🤞🏻 But it's one thing I can't fully prepare for. I have a few thousand blankets and a sleeping bag. I worry about kitty. That'll work for a night or two. If I had to go beyond I'm not sure what I would do. I do think I would risk driving in it to one of my family member's house which would be close enough, but far enough away that they may not be affected the same way I am. We're located within three different counties, that all abut each other.

    I've done the pipe thing so long, that I just don't think that's a worry of mine. All my pipes are within the house, even though it's an unheated basement. And like I said before, they're wrapped in insulation. They have survived multiple winters with single digit temperatures.

  • User
    3 months ago
    last modified: 3 months ago

    Rob, I truly think for any homeowner, when the temperatures get below freezing, and the power goes out, plumbing is your biggest worry. That’s why cold climate homes need to be built the way they are. We have an outside garden faucet that doesn’t freeze in -40 degrees weather, and the horse waterer is the same thing. But if the power goes out that is a different matter! Like FOAS said, you can bundle up and keep warm ( with your pets)

    😁I hope your ice cream was good.

  • rob333 (zone 7b)
    Original Author
    3 months ago

    Was is the proper tense for that ice cream. I need the extra calories for hibernating. Yeah, that's it!

  • User
    3 months ago
    last modified: 3 months ago

    LOL, Rob!

    But don’t underestimate a good brisk walk to get the blood circulating.

    I wish you hygge during all of this.

    rob333 (zone 7b) thanked User
  • carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b
    3 months ago

    Hoping everyone stays safe and warm.

    We've never had a power outage here that lasted more than several hours, but back during hurricane Irma, power was out for much of my mom's neighborhood for a week or so - and it was stifling hot without A/C. Our next door neighbor's power was out for a few days as well, and we let her run an extension cord over the fence.

    We had my mom and my son stay with us for that week, along with my sister and her son, who were visiting when all hell broke loose, and ours is a 2BR/1 Ba home, so it was extra cozy, for sure.

    We did eat well, tho - emptying out the 2 fridges and freezers from Mom's house, which is less than 5 minutes away.

    When power came back, hubby and son went to clean up at Mom's, and threw out all the condiments from the fridge - there were a LOT - and my mom got pretty upset about that, no matter how many times we tried to remind her they'd been un-refrigerated in 90 degree temp.s for over a week 🙄

    rob333 (zone 7b) thanked carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b
  • Annegriet
    3 months ago

    Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches


    rob333 (zone 7b) thanked Annegriet
  • Cherryfizz
    3 months ago

    Not food related but to help keep warm during a winter power outage I keep one or two boxes of hand warmers on hand and I put one or two inside my top to keep my chest warm. Even without the power going out I sometimes get quite chilled and use one when going to bed. You can even get a neck warmer or toe warmers. They can last about 8 hours and are better than nothing.


    rob333 (zone 7b) thanked Cherryfizz
  • summersrhythm_z6a
    3 months ago

    We installed a whole house generator 2 years ago after 2 power outages while we were out of town. Now we are thinking about installing one at the weekend place. Years ago at previous home we had a power outage for 3 days, we used 2 portable generators (one big and one small), they took turns running. I used a portable electric stove for cooking, had 2 Home Depot kerosene heaters running to keep the house warm (still cold but warm enough for the water pipes),

    You can eat dry instant noodle, chocolate, nuts, dry fruits, yogurt, cold milk, juice. Or just use a gas grill to cook anything you want.

    rob333 (zone 7b) thanked summersrhythm_z6a
  • JoanM
    3 months ago

    Living in S FL I have lost power for 6 days twice now. Hurricane Wilma was one and I can’t remember the other. It might have been Jean. I learned that the reason for filling the bathtub full of water was so you could scoop it out and flll your tank to flush your toilet. If you are on a well the lack of water is annoying. I jumped in the pool to shower.


    After the 1st power outage we drove to Ft Lauderdale for a window A/C unit. The little generator would run out of gas about 6 am and we all slept in the one cooled room. We grilled our food and ate out, I never opened a single canned good.


    Many storms later I still have portable generators but I switched to the duel fuel version that uses propane tanks or gasoline.I have a propane grill so I just cycle thru the propane tanks all year long. It is so much nicer not to have to deal with buying and storing gas cans. I have also switched to a rolling portable A/C unit that vents out any window. This also comes in handy when the A/C acts up. It is meant for shops but it cools the whole house. If I was up north I would have a propane generator and a space heater on hand. My friends in NY lose power from the frozen tree limbs breaking and taking out power lines. I couldn’t even imagine not having heat.

    rob333 (zone 7b) thanked JoanM
  • rob333 (zone 7b)
    Original Author
    3 months ago

    Well... cable is out. Atypical. It's only 1 1/2-2 inches deep??? Let's just say, I'm not the only person in the neighborhood who is wondering. 😒

  • nicole___
    3 months ago
    last modified: 3 months ago

    rob....sounds like you dodged a bullet. Good for you!

    We're still in the minus digits. Freezing! The radiant floor heat isn't keeping up when it's below zero. I have two small electric heaters running. The master bathroom stone floors are freezing cold. Threw an extra comforter on the bed. I sure feel like I'm living low. "Me cave-man living in dirt cave." Geez.

    rob333 (zone 7b) thanked nicole___
  • joann_fl
    3 months ago

    I just saw this recently. Great idea!


    rob333 (zone 7b) thanked joann_fl
  • rob333 (zone 7b)
    Original Author
    3 months ago
    last modified: 3 months ago

    Nope. No dodging. 8.2" and I'm still in the house. I can leave within the next hour and go do anything I need to do before the next ice storm hits. I can't think of anything I need, so I guess I'm going to stay put until Sunday. That's when it's supposed to start warming up.

    The ice storm is coming tomorrow mid morning. And that's when I really worry that I'll lose electricity. We're still in the negatives too. So far my water is doing fine. Tomorrow is the day I'm most worried about.


    P.S. cable was out throughout the entire US for a good 18 hours. It wasn't just the southeast.

  • Bookwoman
    3 months ago

    cable was out throughout the entire US for a good 18 hours.

    rob, who's your cable co?

  • rob333 (zone 7b)
    Original Author
    3 months ago
    last modified: 3 months ago

    It's back on now. ATT Uverse. Just their customers.


    I just looked up and there's a message from u-verse on TV that says that we're allowed to have $6 movie rental due to the weather related outage?! Cool

  • eld6161
    3 months ago

    Of course I thought of you Rob….





    rob333 (zone 7b) thanked eld6161
  • JoanM
    3 months ago

    I never lost U-Verse here in Fl. The temperature and weather has been nuts across the US. Winter is when I really appreciate my current location. I have a brother in Buffalo so I get amusing snow pictures here on my patio.

    rob333 (zone 7b) thanked JoanM
  • rob333 (zone 7b)
    Original Author
    3 months ago
    last modified: 3 months ago

    You're correct. While it was nationwide it was just some Uverse customers ;)

    https://weartv.com/news/local/att-u-verse-tv-faces-nationwide-outage-pledges-quick-restoration

  • Toronto Veterinarian
    3 months ago

    Don't forget dried food, like jerky or dried fruit.

    It was a 5 day power outage in my all-electric house (with a well and septic) that inspired me to get a backup generator (and a propane tank to fuel it). Worth the money in peace of mind, in my opinion.

    rob333 (zone 7b) thanked Toronto Veterinarian
  • nicole___
    3 months ago

    Rob....I checked your weather....33f and rain. You don't get much snow? High humidity....

  • rob333 (zone 7b)
    Original Author
    3 months ago
    last modified: 3 months ago

    Nicole, we got more snow than Boston or Philadelphia this year, all in one night. The average snowfall here is half this for the entire season? We get little snow here. It is not rain today it is freezing rain and it's supposed to cause icing on wires/ lines and the road. And it's going back down to the teens tomorrow Saturday Sunday. So not much relief in sight, and it might get worse.

    https://www.wkrn.com/weather/

  • rob333 (zone 7b)
    Original Author
    3 months ago
    last modified: 3 months ago

    This is what's going on. Oh to be further south. Is this mixed precipitation or what? I did leave the house when it was warming up but the rain hadn't started. Talked to people in person. Feel better about things. Now if the electricity will just stay on for the next 4 days. I assume, if we make it through tonight with electricity we'll be on the downhill side. 🤞🏻



  • Jay Foursee
    2 months ago

    You can eat pretty much anything with a small investment in a small propane bottle and a camping stove.

  • Toronto Veterinarian
    2 months ago

    " You can eat pretty much anything with a small investment in a small propane bottle and a camping stove. "

    But you'd have to be outside to cook it that way - not fun in a freezing snow storm.


    rob333 (zone 7b) thanked Toronto Veterinarian
  • Jay Foursee
    2 months ago

    @toronto-veterinarian it's perfectly fine to use propane indoors. Maybe open a window if you're concerned, but unless the house is insanely well insulated to where there's no air exchange it should be fine.