one green planet
one green planet

Setting up an emergency pantry is always a good idea. If the food shortages (and toilet paper shortages) of the pandemic didn’t teach us that, who knows what will? While many folks view the emergency pantry as a haven for canned foods and weird stuff we’d normally never eat, it needn’t be that way. It can be full of healthy ingredients that make delicious meals.

For us plant-based eaters, we need to think about getting all our nutritional needs met while by keeping a diverse, colorful, and calorific collection of stuff on hand. Not only can the involve fresh fruits and vegetables (not just yucky canned stuff), but it can have plenty of stomach-filling ingredients to keep us energized and on form.

Best of all, this version of an emergency pantry isn’t going to result in us throwing away a bunch of junk we’d never eat in a few years. It’ll be lively, evolving, and part of our regular shopping routine. With a little change in habit, we can be set with a 2-week emergency pantry of stuff we’d be buying anyway.

Fruit & Veg

This is that, unfortunately time when fresh fruit and veg, for the most part, just won’t work. That said, some fresh fruits and veggies that have a long shelf life, particularly if the fridge is still working or a cool space, like a basement or root cellar, is available.

Keep a rotating back stock of cabbage, root veg, citrus, apples, onions, garlic, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and winter squash on hand. Stock enough to last for three weeks of typical eating, cycling the oldest to the front each week and replenishing the surplus.

Otherwise, it doesn’t hurt to have some canned vegetables in the house for certain situations, and keeping a stock of dehydrated fruits can come in handy both during an emergency and for everyday cooking. Some vegetables also do very well dehydrated.

Dry Goods

Better than canned goods, both health-wise and for the emergency pantry, simple dry goods will last a very long time on the shelf, and they take up a lot less space than pre-packaged meals or canned items. Again, keep an extra couple of weeks cycling through the pantry.

  • Nuts and Seeds- Having a good collection of nuts and seeds will help to keep serious calories available, not to mention vital nutrients like protein, healthy fats, and minerals. Keep an extra pound or two of your three favorite nuts and/or seeds.
  • Grains- Grains will keep your belly full in a time of need. They also last for a long time. Rice, oats, flour, and pasta will satisfy this need inexpensively. Other favorite grains can be thrown into the mix as well.
  • Pulses- Dry beans and peas take longer to cook, but a pound of dry beans turns into a lot more food than a can of cooked beans. Having a good stock of dry beans will

A good practice is to buy this all in bulk every month or two so that it will last for the next month or two, respectively. Then, there’s usually a good surplus available.

Home Canning

Preserving fresh fruit and vegetables in season is ideal for creating a healthy emergency pantry. In general, going with high-acidity stuff that’s easy to can is the right option. Tomatoes, pickled stuff, jams, and chutneys won’t require a lot of steps to can safely.

Also, fermented items like sauerkraut and kimchi have a long shelf life, so they can be kept in surplus and cycled through like other emergency pantry goods. These can be stored in cool spots, like a basement, for months, and they are loaded with important immunity-boosting nutrients.

Herbs, Spices, and Accoutrements

It’s a good idea to stock the spice cabinet well with those favorite flavors. Growing herbs at home and drying the surplus in the summertime can easily keep a pantry stocked with those wonderful additions. And, any condiments or such that feel vital should have a backup in the pantry. Nutritional yeast is a great example of plant-based eaters.

Not only will this kind of setup be good for emergencies, but it’ll also be awesome when something surprisingly runs out and there’s more of it available.


Crucial to the emergency pantry is fresh water. Rather than going the cases of bottled water route, it’s worth considering getting large, refillable, 5-gallon jugs and a simple stand for them to go onto. It’ll take about the same amount of space as cases of bottled water, but it’ll create a lot less waste in the end.

When it comes to a healthy, plant-based emergency pantry, the name of the game is simply keeping all those long-lasting favorites in surplus. Then, should a week of mayhem go down, you’ll be ready.

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