Is Your Kitchen Ready for Coronavirus?

  • What should you keep in your kitchen pantry in case of emergency?
  • Do you have enough food in the house to withstand a quarantine?
  • Stock your pantry with these foods to get through a natural disaster or coronavirus quarantine.
empty kitchen cupboards

Coronavirus. The latest potential pandemic sweeping the world. I am old enough to remember the not-to-distant Ebola scare, H1N1 epidemic, SARS, and even the Swine Flu epidemic of the 1970s.

As of this writing, China has locked down a whole province, South Korea has raised its national threat level to “red alert,” several countries have issued travel advisories, and Italy is still trying to identify their Patient Zero.

Here in the U.S. the CDC has told us to be prepared for more positive cases and potentially severe business and everyday life disruptions. All of which makes me wonder, “is there enough food in my house to withstand a quarantine?”

Preparing for Any Emergency

Although I do not consider myself a “prepper,” the food preservation community is closely aligned with the prepper community. And as canning enthusiasts, we probably have more food readily available than the average person.

When my grandmother was a child, quarantines were a fact of life, especially if Scarlet Fever had set up shop in your home. But farmsteads were a fact of life then too. Most of the population still lived on small farms and spent a good part of the year storing food to get through the rest of the year.

But today, we run to the grocery store or the local take-out nearly every day, and most people don’t stockpile (or have space to stockpile) much food at home. While coronavirus may not lead to massive quarantines here in the U.S., natural disasters are always a possibility. So, the fear of coronavirus may convince us to stock the pantry, it’s a good idea to do so anyway. Let’s get prepared for not only a two-week health quarantine, but also for the very real danger of a catastrophic flood, blizzard dropping feet of snow, or electric grid meltdown.

What to Keep in the Kitchen Pantry

It’s a good idea to a variety of frozen goods, dry goods, and canned goods. Keep goods that can be cooked and goods that can be eaten without cooking – in case there is no electricity.

Frozen Goods:

  • Home prepared casseroles that can be reheated. Rice, cauliflower rice, and quinoa-based casseroles reheat better than most pasta-based casseroles. You can find several easy casseroles in my book, I Want My Dinner Now!
  • Home prepared soups. Prepare and freeze hearty soups like Vegetarian Chili or Lentil Soup with Butternut Squash.
  • Your favorite purchased, frozen meals.
  • Frozen vegetables
  • Frozen fruit
  • Ice cream – if you are stuck at home for any length of time, ice cream makes it better!

Dry Goods:

  • Easily prepared grains like rice, quinoa, pasta, and egg noodles.
  • Easily prepared dry beans and split peas.
  • Nuts
  • Dry soup mixes
  • Granola

Canned Goods:

  • Canned beans
  • Canned tomatoes
  • Canned soups
  • Canned vegetables
  • Canned fruit


  • Vinegar – if all your meals are made from the above list, they may be nutritious but probably a little boring. A splash of vinegar can perk up almost anything!
  • Favorite herb mixes
  • Peanut butter
  • Jam/Jelly
  • Pickles
  • Cereal/Rolled oats
  • Tea/Coffee
  • Shelf stable milk and plant milks
  • Medical aids like cough medicine, band-aids, mint/licorice/ginger tea for an upset belly, tissues, etc.

How much should you keep on hand? That depends on how many people live in your house. Plan enough to feed you all for two weeks. The meals may not be the most exciting you have ever eaten, but they will be nutritious and keep you filled.

by Renee Pottle

Renee Pottle, a freelance writer and Home Economist, is fanatic about all things food. She blogs about canning and food preservation at Find her professional food writing info at

February 26, 2020

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