Winter Pantry Preparedness

Last Updated on February 19, 2023 by Ellen Christian

Winter pantry preparedness is something that I take seriously in rural Vermont.  Check out these tips to stock your pantry for winter emergencies.

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How to Stock Your Pantry for Winter Preparedness

Stock Your Pantry for Winter

 It’s not unusual for us to be snowed in for several days after a bad winter storm.  Being snowed in means that we cannot run to the store when we run out of the basics in our pantry.  

It often also means that we lose power and that means that we lose refrigeration. When we lose refrigeration, those things that are sensitive to temperature changes need to be thrown out.

If I didn’t think about being prepared, we would find ourselves without food if we were snowed in for any length of time. There are a few basic supplies that we always keep on hand in our pantry for winter preparedness just in case.

While it’s important to stock up on food, it’s also important to have extra batteries, prescription medication, supplements, paper products, and first aid supplies.

How to stock your pantry for winter preparedness

Easy to prepare food

Keep in mind that you may not have a way to cook if you are without power. And, even if you can cook, you may not have hot running water to do dishes.

It’s important to keep shelf-stable ready-to-eat foods on hand for this reason. You don’t want to have to deal with a sink full of a week’s worth of dirty dishes.

Instant coffee

Normally, I do not drink instant coffee but if we are without power and my coffee pot does not work, I need to be certain I have some sort of coffee to wake up with.

Canned meat

Look for canned options at the grocery store. Canned tuna, chicken, clams, shrimp, etc. can be made into a filling meal or even eaten cold if you need to.

We keep a box of MREs on hand at all times. They last for years and are relatively cheap to buy. We use these.

close up shot of canned food

Canned shelf-stable meals

Generally, we do not eat these but they are good to have on hand if you have no way to heat food up since they can be eaten straight from the can. Think about things like Chef Boyardee and Dinty Moore beef stew. 

Bottled water for drinking

At our home, we have a well. No power means no water. We keep a large supply of bottled water for emergencies. Keep extra on hand for washing, brushing teeth, and flushing.


Nuts, dried fruits, juice boxes, trail mix, energy bars. Make sure you keep a stash of these to keep on hand at all times so you do not run out.

Fussy children are not fun at any time but especially not when you have no power. Since Marty is a diabetic, he needs to have quick energy snacks. We keep a stockpile of peanut butter crackers just in case.

baby eating in a high chair

Baby food and formula

Always have at least a week extra on hand of baby food and formula if you use them. You never want to run out. If you have powdered formula, be sure you have enough water.

Winter pantry preparedness needs to include children and pets.

Winter pantry preparedness is something that I take seriously in rural Vermont.  Check out these tips to stock your pantry for winter emergencies.

Canned fruits and vegetables

Keep extra on hand when you can and preserve your garden harvest over the summer. Or, keep cans from the grocery store. 

You can also keep dehydrated fruits and vegetables in your pantry.

Shelf-stable milk

Whether you want to cook or give the kids a drink, you don’t want to have to rely on milk that’s going sour in the refrigerator. You can find powdered milk and milk in a carton at the grocery store.

How to stock your pantry for winter preparedness

Lighting options

If you lose electricity, you’ll want a variety of lighting options to choose from. It’s no fun sitting in the dark at night. And, it can be dangerous if you have to go up and down the stairs.

We keep on hand a variety of candles, flashlights, lanterns, and solar-powered lights just in case. Of course, if you are using battery-operated light sources, you need to make sure that you have on hand whatever size batteries you need.

a wood stove with wood in a basket

Heat Source

Depending on your location, a few extra blankets may be all you need. Here in Vermont, we use our woodstove regularly. But, I make sure we have extra wood just in case we lose our power and our furnace won’t come on.

If you use a pellet stove, it won’t work without electricity. However, if you have electricity and are simply stuck at home due to poor roads, you will want to be sure you have extra pellets on hand.

How do you stock your pantry for winter?

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10 thoughts on “Winter Pantry Preparedness”

  1. Although they say water never goes bad if stored correctly if stored in plastic it will have such a bad taste if won't be drinkable within a few storing milk I would use White rice you can eat the rice save the water and has a nice taste as milk but lasts only a few days in refrigerator.if you loose power a option would be to store frozen food in trunk of a car.if possible in a is better than a refrigerator or freezer in the house you are trying to keep warm.i also heard of a nice idea Put in a bowl of water in the freezer put a penny on top to let you know if the foods in it has thawed.
  2. Pingback: The Ultimate Winter Ready Organization Guide - HoneyBear Lane
  3. These are are great tips.  I would rather be prepared and safe than sorry  other wise.  We once had an outage that lasted a week during winter.  It was HORRIBLE!
  4. This is such a good list, especially if you live in an area that gets lots of snow. We always have this kind of stuff in the house just in case we get snowed in.
  5. What a wonderful list and such a great idea. We live in a very desolate area too, we definitely need to be stocking up and getting prepared for the winter. Thanks for the suggestions and ideas!
  6. Great tips! We don't get storms like that on the West Coast. but we've been trying to learn a little bit more about preparedness, because you just never know. We do get crazy amounts of snow sometimes, so while it's very rare to lose power or have major problems - with the crazy changes in weather anymore, it's better to be safe than sorry!
  7. I used it in my kids' lunchboxes all the time, almost every day. It's a little pricey, but it was worth it to me.
  8. Great tips! I need to get ready for winter. It's been unseasonably warm around here so I keep putting it off! Thanks for giving me the motiviation I needed.

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