Surviving a Hurricane and Eating well!

October 29, 2012

Natural disasters such as Hurricane Sandy challenge the cook.  Life without electricity is not fun, especially if you have large quantities of foods in freezers, and have an electric cooktop and/or oven.

Prior to losing electricity, arrange food in freezers so that meats are on the bottom and other items are on the top.  Most modern freezers can keep food below 40 degrees for a couple of days (less if it is hot weather).  Experts say that if food has ice crystals in it, it can be re-frozen, but meats that have reached 40 degrees should be cooked immediately.  The coldest air in a freezer will be in the bottom.  Once electricity goes out, DON’T open the freezer if at all possible. Each opening cycle allows more warm air to enter and more cold air to escape.

Other strategies?  If you can get dry ice, it will keep foods frozen for days either in the freezer or in ice chests.  You can also pack regular ice around frozen foods, but it won’t do as good a job as dry ice, which is actually frozen carbon dioxide.

If you have a gas cook top, you can light it using a match since the igniters won’t work without electricity.  You may have to resort to cooking outside using charcoal.

Cookware and bakeware that has been in flood water need to be sanitized with at least a 5% bleach solution and/or run through a complete dishwasher cycle to remove potential germs and dirt.