Hurricane Irma: Food prep to keep in mind

Lauren Delgado

As projections of Hurricane Irma's path show it coming toward Florida, it's time to check and double check your hurricane food and water supplies.

Keep the following in mind:

Hurricane food prep by the numbers:

  • 1 gallon water per person per day (don't forget pets!). Don't forget - Your tap water is still safe to drink, it's only dicy after a power outage. Fill clean pitchers and water bottles now. Also, you can fill freezer bags with water and freeze them ahead of time. Just let them thaw in a water pitcher for clean drinking water.
  • 3-7 days worth of food for each person (again - don't forget pets! Cat parents - grab extra kitty litter).

Hurricane food safety by the numbers:

  • 4 hours: the amount of time a refrigerator will keep food cold.
  • 24 hours: the amount of time a half-full freezer will hold its temperature.
  • 48 hours: the amount of time a full freezer will hold its temperature.
  • 40 degrees and below: the temperature a freezer item should still be at to be refrozen. If it still has ice crystals, it's also safe.

A few more food safety tips:

Food items to store:

  • Tough-skinned fruits and vegetables: Citrus, carrots, apples, avocados, etc. Wash and dry them before the storm.
  • Protein rich foods: Peanut butter, protein bars, unsalted nuts, trail mix, beans, etc.
  • Smoked or dried meats and hard cheeses. (Nonperishable and goes well with a glass of wine!)
  • Instant drinks: Shelf-stable milk, instant coffee and tea.
  • Comfort foods: Cookies, hard candy, chips, crackers etc.
  • Canned items: Meats, fruits (in juice), vegetables, soups, stews and chilis
  • Condiments: You're going to need them to spice up those canned vegetables! Snag some hot sauces, mustard, oil, and vinegar.

Gather and clean cooking tools:

A manual can opener, appliance thermometer, pans or sheets that can be used on a grill, oven mitts, matches, cooking tools, grill fuel, moist towelettes, paper towels, gel fuel such as Sterno, a grill light or flashlight designated for cooking, pet food, paper plates and plastic utensils.

Post-storm grilling tips:

  • Never use a grill inside a house.
  • Make sure your grill is a few feet from your home and far away from awning overhangs, plants, etc. Never leave it unattended - especially around small children or pets.
  • Use only approved accelerant fuels for charcoal fires - NOT gasoline.
  • Charcoal briquettes need about 48 hours to cool before they're thrown out. Soak the charcoal in water before tossing.