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In a pickle: What to do if you lose power in the kitchen

Katherine Martinelli is an internationally published food and travel writer and photographer who contributes regularly to publications on three continents. She recently released her first cookbook, Puff Pastry at Brunch: 10 Sweet and Sa...

Make meals during the outage

When storm hits, with widespread power outages, lots of families have to cope without electricity in the kitchen. This can make feeding your family a challenge to say the least. But it's not impossible.
Tomato soup

Losing power in the kitchen can put you in a major pickle. But a little resourcefulness — plus a well-stocked pantry — will have your family fed in no time. As long as it's safe and there are no evacuation instructions (tune into a battery-operated radio for details), you'll be good to go.

Find out how to evaluate food safety after a power outage >>

Fridge

Obviously no power means your fridge is shut off. If it seems like the power outage is a fluke and electricity should be restored soon, then resist the temptation to grab that cold beverage. Keeping the fridge closed will help prevent the cold air from rushing out and will make sure your food stays fresh, even for 24 hours. If there's a major outage in your area due to a storm or other major event, then you might want to crack open that ice cream and use up those perishables.

Gas or electric

You may even be able to cook, depending on your stove. If your kitchen is fully electric then you're out of luck, but if you have a gas oven and/or stove that can be used without electricity, then you're in business. Light some candles or set up some lanterns or flashlights and cook up a power outage feast for your family. Remember, you have to use up that food in your fridge anyway, so you might even be able to invite the neighbors over!

grillBarbecue

If your stove is out of the question, can you get a grill up and running? Of course if there's a hurricane then don't risk it, but if your power is out for another reason and you have access to a grill, then there's no better time for a cookout.

Pantry

A well-stocked pantry can be a lifesaver in a power outage. If you can cook then things are even better, but even without a stove or grill, a pantry is full of meals waiting to be made. Canned peanut butter, beans, tuna fish, vegetables and fruit can all be turned into food for the family.

Learn how to keep food safe during a power outage >>

More on power outages

How to be ready for a power outage
How to handle power outages
How to deodorize your fridge

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