48) Sustainability Sundays: the ‘Want Not’ edition

Very little has happened on the sustainability front this week.  It's been a strange, long, busy week, and I seem not to have stopped.  Last Saturday, Leigh asked commenters to consider what (and how!) they would eat if the electricity went out over the whole region for three days straight.  As well as no electricity in your home, that means no buying anything from the shops – they can't open with out power.  Parts of my answer ran thusly:

I'm lucky: my cooker (both hob and oven) is gas,
so I could cook. If the mains gas gave out too, we have
bottled gas and charcoal for two different bbqs.
I keep a
rolling pantry of dried and canned (shop-bought) goods, and the freezer
is pretty well stocked.  The
things that would cause problems are:

  • milk, which is the thing I'm
    most likely to buy midweek.
  • the microwave, which I use to cook some
    veggies and to defrost things.

freezer will keep food safe, if left closed, for at least 24 hours; the fridge, less so. Asuming you don't know how long the power would be out, my strategy would be:

  • use room-temperature goods for the
    first day, to maintain the fridge/freezer temperature as low as possible for as long as possible;
  • cook/preserve what I can from the fridge on the second day;
  • ditto
    the freezer on the third day/late on the second

It would be
important to start using the fridged/frozen stuff in preference to the
dried goods once it became clear we were in it for more than 24 hours; I
have no canning apparatus, and have never canned, so use up what will
go off, and don't eat too much of the things that will keep!

could I change to be more prepared?

  • buy and freeze milk. It's not
    an essential in our diets, but it's certainly nice to have (and works
    like an ice block to keep things cold without power, too)
  • get a canner and learn to use it.
  • the microwave's not really a problem;
    just a case of forward planning and other methods.

On a side note, I'd hate to be without my dishwasher again!  I've become really used to not having to perform that particular chore…

1. Plant Something –
Nothing this week!

2. Harvest something –

Mange tout

Preserve something

     Nothing this week!

Waste Not
(reducing wastage in all areas)

  • Re-using 'grey' water from the kitchen
  • Composting vegetable peelings
  • Net the strawberries

5. Want Not (preparing for shortage situations)~

     Nothing this week!

Build/support Community Food Systems

  • Blogging about it

7. Eat the Food

  • Yoghurt on my breakfasts
  • Mange tout

2 thoughts on “48) Sustainability Sundays: the ‘Want Not’ edition”

  1. Several years ago, something like 2003, there was a huge power outage in the northeastern US and parts of Ontario, maybe Quebec. The whole gird went down, and although parts were back up reasonably quickly, our neighbourhood was out for about 3 days. We were lucky to have lots of cold roast meat left over in the fridge, so ate that. And then we had the street party of the millennium, with everyone bringing out their stuff from the freezer and barbecuing — we even had bbq’d egg rolls… This, I’m sure, led to lots more leftovers! We had to get up early in the morning to fly to California, and went to bed early, and, luckily, the power came back on about 2 am and we quickly set our electric alarm clocks and slept till we had to get up to leave. The memories are misty, but I bet we drank water, and whatever milk was in the fridge probably got drunk up pretty quickly. We might have had a loaf of bread or two in the freezer.
    My main memory is walking home (a long way — no subway power!) with the toddler in the stroller and the 5 or 6 year old… We bought half-thawed ice cream bars at several little shops, and I kept thinking, “I know there’s a beer in the fridge….” and lucky me, there was!


  2. It’s interesting what we become used to. For example I’ve never had a dishwasher so wouldn’t miss it. But we did make the choice to give up the microwave and that was a tough transition. I think for me the hardest would be the coffee pot. Even though we have a stove top perc model, it would be slow and I would get cranky waiting on it!


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