Are You Prepared? Here’s 20 Items Americans Should Stockpile
Amid record-breaking gas prices, ongoing inflation, and devastating supply-chain issues, many Americans are unsure of the best ways to spend their hard-earned dollars.
It may be tempting to stockpile every item you see on sale, especially with the unpredictability of the waning pandemic. Read on to learn what things you should try to keep handy.
It’s never a bad idea to stock up on extra cleaning supplies.
However, bleach is an exception. You shouldn’t buy more than you can use within six months. After six months, bleach’s disinfecting power starts to degrade.
Basic Medical Supplies
There’s nothing worse than getting a headache and realizing that you’re out of Advil.
When you’re under the weather or mildly injured, you’ll want to have over-the-counter medications and medical supplies handy — i.e., tissues, bandages, saline spray, and fever reducers to keep you comfortable.
While hand sanitizer was the hot-ticket item at the start of the coronavirus pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that soap and water are more effective at killing the virus.
Be sure to keep a few extra bars of soap in your cupboard.
Peanut butter is not only delicious, but it’s also a great shelf-stable protein source.
Many dishes call for peanut butter, both sweet and savory. And, of course, there’s nothing wrong with the old faithful PB & J.
If stored properly, white rice can last for decades. Experts say the most effective way to keep white rice is in a sealed, air-free container at temperatures of 40 degrees or less.
The CDC advises those at increased risk for severe illness to keep an extra supply of their prescription medications on hand — enough for at least 30 days.
Even if you’re not concerned about contracting the coronavirus, it’s never a bad idea to keep extra prescription medications handy in case of emergencies.
Dried Beans and Lentils
Dried beans and lentils have a long shelf life. If stored properly, like white rice, legumes will last for years. Keep in mind that their cook time may increase as they get older.
If you’ve got to stay at home for a bit, be sure to stock up on some of your favorite treats.
Kantha Shelke, a food scientist and principal of the food science and research firm Corvus Blue, says that anything mostly consisting of sugar “never really spoils” if kept dry.
“The wrapper of a Jolly Rancher will go bad before the candy does,” Shelke said.
Shelke says there’s nothing in pasta that will spoil — and she should know. The food scientist has tasted some dried pasta found in an Egyptian pyramid. Researchers boiled it up as an experiment, and it tasted as fresh as the stuff on store shelves, she says.
Frozen fruits and vegetables last much longer than fresh. Just keep in mind that quality degrades over time, so don’t forget to use your oldest fruits and veggies first.
Certain Fresh Produce
Some fruits and vegetables have a longer shelf life than others. Apples, carrots, onions, garlic, potatoes, beets, and cabbage can all last for months when stored properly.
Canned tuna is shelf-stable and offers an easy way to add protein to your diet. You can keep it simple with a sandwich or salad or use it in casseroles, pasta dishes, and bakes.
It’s a good idea to keep at least an extra 30 days’ supply of personal hygiene essentials like toothpaste, shampoo, body wash, antiperspirant, and feminine products.
If you have a baby, be sure to stock up on diapers and wipes as well.
Fresh meat only lasts a few days in the fridge, but it can last for months in the freezer.
You’d be surprised how much you can elevate many foods by adding basic seasonings like sugar, salt, or pepper. They have a super-long shelf life when stored properly.
Canned soups and broths are other easy options for when you’re feeling a little sick or not in the mood to cook.
Keep an eye out for low-sodium versions to cut down on your salt intake.
Pet Food and Medications
Pet owners – don’t forget about your four-legged friends. Be sure to stock up on extra food and medications to keep your furry pals happy, healthy, and well-fed.
Applesauce is very versatile, making it great to have on hand. It can be used as an oil substitute in baked goods, mixed into oatmeal, or just eaten with a spoon. You may want to look for brands without added sugar.
Dried fruit lasts longer than its fresh counterpart because of the lack of moisture.
You can enjoy dried fruit in baked goods, cereal, oatmeal, or by the handful as a healthy snack. Just be sure to follow the storage instructions on the label so you can make it last.
Vinegar and Baking Soda
Vinegar and baking soda are two of the most versatile pantry items you can buy. Not only are they super-handy in the kitchen, but they can also help you clean your home.