LIVING

Food Essentials: 12 Items You Should Always Keep In Your Pantry

01/24/2014 03:26 EST | Updated 01/24/2014 03:59 EST
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Young female at home in the kitchen, reaching food item from the cabinet

Winter has been a season of extreme weather, with ice storms and blizzards shutting down many people's power (in some cases, for more than a week).

In the aftermath, plenty of homeowners took stock of their emergency supplies, ensuring flashlights had fresh batteries and stocking water bottles in the basement in case the sewage system was affected. But one area in serious need of consideration is always the kitchen, where emergency food supplies can make all the difference.

In general, people know not to open their fridge or freezer when the power is out in an attempt to salvage what's inside, though the Canadian Food Inspection Agency advises that only "undamaged, commercially-prepared foods in sealed, unopened, airtight, waterproof cans, jars or pouches are entirely safe to use" afterwards.

Which leads us to the pantry, where most of these safe foods reside. Now that blizzards appear to have subsided for the time being, it's a good time to stock up on the foods to have on hand should disaster strike — at any time of the year. These suggestions can help you put together some snacks and meals to tide you over for at least a day.

In-Case-Of-Emergency Foods

Beans. Protein and fibre in one can - it's basically instant nutrition. According to Eat By Date, they'll last a year on your shelves.

Salmon Or Tuna In A Can. Another great source of protein that lasts for a long time, a mini meal of fish and crackers will tide you over for a few hours.

Grains. Pasta, rice or quinoa can all serve as the base of many a dish, assuming you still have a working stove top. And of course, the aforementioned crackers can make an easy snack at all times.

Peanut (or other nut) butter. Assuming there's no allergies in the house, peanut butter generally doesn't need any refrigeration and offers plenty of protein and good-for-you fats, suggests Taste of Home. It's also tastier than just plain handfuls of nuts.

Vinegar. Easy to mix into a dressing or just use on its own, vinegar doubles as an all-purpose cleaner when mixed with water.

Oils. And of course, the other part of those salad dressing will be oils, which will obviously also help for any cooking you might be doing.

Applesauce. Canned or jarred applesauce can last 12 to 18 months, according to Frugal Living, so keep it around as a snack on its own, or as a fruity "dipping" sauce.

Potatoes. Potatoes can last for about three weeks in the pantry, depending on the type, according to Eat By Date. So while you might want to check in on them, they're a great veggie you can keep outside of the fridge that is easy to consume in many forms.

Canned Tomatoes. This might be the closest thing you'll get to fresh food in your pantry, and can add a juicy element to whatever you're cobbling together.

Salsa. Alright, this does have tomatoes beat, at least in the ingredients department. A nice healthy option to add to almost anything (yes, including that canned fish).

Broth. Chicken, beef or vegetable broth can all last two to five years in the pantry, according to Frugal Living. and while hopefully you'll have a way to warm it up, cold soup won't be your worst worry if you're in a power outage.

Bottled Or Canned Juice. In case you get sick of water or just want something sweet and easy. Remember, it's a good idea to stay hydrated at all times.