We hope none of our readers lose power in the upcoming storm — or ever — but it’s always good to be prepared. This guide to which perishables to eat and which to toss after you’ve lost power can help.

Related: Which frozen foods are safe to eat after a power outage? 


What's safe to eat after a power outage -- and how can you turn it into a meal for your family. We have a guide and recipes too! | Cool Mom Eats

What’s safe to eat from your fridge?

If your refrigerator warms up to over 40 degrees for more than 2 hours, toss everything except for these items. Pro tip: Mayo is so useful for making easy meals while snowed in, so while that technically has to go, too, check out my more detailed note about it below. It can last a little longer, so consider getting use out of it before you toss the whole jar!

– Hard cheeses (like cheddar), processed cheeses (like Kraft singles), or dry cheeses (like Parmesan)

– Butter or margarine

– Bread or muffins, waffles or bagels

– Fruit juice

– Fresh fruit (and any canned fruit you may have stashed in there)

– Nuts and nut/seed butter like peanut butter

– Jellies and jams

– Raw vegetables

– Fresh herbs that still look happy


What’s safe to eat from your freezer?

The same general rule goes for your freezer. If it has reached over 40 degrees for more than 2hours, perishable foods are no longer safe. Stick with these staples that won’t go bad even after a thaw:

– Hard cheeses

– Breakfast items like waffles or pancakes

– Bread items, cake, muffins

– Flour or cornmeal

– Nuts

– Butter

Related: 7 awesome dinners you can make with pantry basics. 


Now my fridge is empty! What can I cook for my family?

Take it from someone who regularly falls behind on grocery shopping: There are tons of recipes that you can make right from your pantry. If you don’t have the exact ingredients, fret not. I’ve chosen recipes that are substitution-friendly and flexible. You will survive, and even stay full!


If you still don’t have power…

What to eat after a power outage: Chickpea Salad | Oh She Glows

I’ve been eating loads of this Chickpea Salad at Oh She Glows lately because it makes such a perfect lunch. And because it’s made with raw veggies, canned chickpeas, and doesn’t require cooking, it’s also the perfect snowed-in-without-power meal. Pro tip: Mayonnaise only becomes unsafe after’s been above 50 degrees for more than 8 hours. If yours has gone bad, try mashed avocado, olive oil, or hummus instead.


What to eat after a power outage: Green Goddess Sandwich | Cookie and Kate

Sandwiches are a no-brainer when your power’s off. The real question is how to make them taste good without deli meat and most cheeses (although hard cheeses are safe; if you have them, load up). But this Green Goddess Sandwich at Cookie and Kate kicks the flavor up notch by briefly pickling the veggies. Genius!


If your power’s back on…

What to eat after a power outage: Tuscan White Bean Skillet | Wanderlust Kitchen

The foundation for this hearty Tuscan White Bean Skillet is canned beans and tomatoes; the rest is wiggle room, especially since the folks at The Wanderlust Kitchen do such a good job with all those spices. In fact, that one missing ingredient will definitely NOT ruin this dish.


What to eat after a power outage: Coconut Chickpea Curry | Jessica in the Kitchen

I made this vegan Coconut Chickpea Curry for my husband one night, and he asked if I’d added kielbasa sausage. Really! It was that flavorful. If you’ve got chickpeas and coconut milk, you can improvise the rest of the recipe in no time. And trust me, it won’t feel like roughing it one bit. Thank you, Jessica in the Kitchen!


Top image by Fischer Twins and fridge image Squared.one via Unsplash