This blog is aimed at those who have been putting some extra food away in case of a No Deal Brexit, but who need some inspiration for how to craft a pantry of tins, jars and packets, plus a few frozen ingredients, into a tasty meal, when you’re used to a nearby shop full of fresh ingredients.
But – we’re all working to a deadline – so what should you prep?
Firstly it’s important to know that there’s no way of knowing what will run short, as
– items imported from the EU will likely experience chaos at the ports
– items imported from outside the EU will likely be caught up in the same chaos
– items produced in the UK often contain imported ingredients
– agriculture and slaughterhouses are dependent on EU labour, and are already experiencing skills shortages pre-Brexit.
– when there are shortages of imported items, demand for UK made items will increase, creating shortages
No one knows how long any shortages may continue for; how long you wish to prep for will be up to you, your storage and your budget. However, as a guide, evidence has emerged of 75-87% reduction in capacity at Dover-Calais and the Channel Tunnel, by far our two largest ports, lasting 3-6 months.
On that basis, I would recommend prepping everything you consume on a regular basis; exactly what that is will differ for each household. Consider
– food – jars, tins and packets. Replacements for fresh items (e.g. powdered milk instead of fresh). A freezer for extras, bearing in mind the small risk of significant power cuts.
– water – purification tablets / LifeStraw / other filter / water butt. No more than a modest quantity of bottled as it’s space hungry and environmentally disastrous.
– toiletries and cosmetics inc. Ioo roll
– household and cleaning supplies
– pet supplies – food, toys, litter, wormer, flea treatment etc
– baby / child supplies – nappies (consider reusable), formula, clothes in the next size up.
– elderly / disabled relatives, including those that don’t live with you, especially those not capable of prepping. What specialist stuff do they need?
– meds – prescription where possible, over the counter and basic first aid.
– morale items – there’s a good reason why the army includes chocolate in ration packs!
– transport – rarely discussed, but fuel shortages cannot be ruled out and petrol cannot be safely stockpiled. Consider available public transport routes, and cycling (remember; if there are fuel shortages there will be few cars on the road).
– cash – in case electronic payment systems failed.
– other – some basic tech such as a phone battery pack, rechargeable batteries, wind up torch, spare tin opener etc.
Consider prepping extra of those things you consider vital but the government will not prioritise at the ports; for instance, I consider good quality dog food to be vital but the government will not, so I’ve stocked up more dog food than I have human food.
As much as possible, the aim should be that you purchase only things you use anyway. If Brexit is cancelled, you don’t want to be left with significant quantities of stuff you’ll never use. That way, you’re buying early not buying extra.
With that in mind – what’s in my storecupboard?
Vegetables & Fruit
- Tinned tomatoes
- Mushy peas
- Frozen peas (alternative: dried or tinned)
- Tinned potatoes
- Tinned sweetcorn (alternative: frozen)
- Tinned onions (alternatives: frozen or dried)
- Frozen butternut squash
- Frozen sweet potato
- Frozen mushrooms (alternative: dried)
- Frozen spinach
- Frozen peppers
- Frozen herbs (alternative: dried)
- Coconut milk – tinned or Maggi powdered
- Olives (in jars)
- Sun-dried tomatoes (in jars)
- Peppers (in jars)
- Tinned fruit
I’ve also recently been experimenting with a dehydrator – so far I’ve done mushrooms and tomatoes, but I’m soon going to be expanding my repertoire.
You’ll notice there’s no meat on this list – I don’t eat it – but you’ll find lots of recipes where meat can be added or substituted for another ingredient.
- Red kidney beans (tinned or dried)
- Black eyed beans (tinned or dried)
- Baked beans
- Chickpeas (tinned or dried)
- Red lentils
- Dried falafel mix
- Dried egg
- Tinned tuna
- Frozen tuna steaks
- Frozen salmon
- Salmon paste
- Tinned mackerel
- Frozen prawns
- Frozen rainbow trout
- Veggie mince – Quorn, TVP (a dried mince, sold in shops like Holland and Barrett), or Iceland’s No Bull Mince
- Veggie meatballs
- Veggie sausages
- Gnocchi (the long life type)
- Long Grain Rice – microwave pouches or regular
- Risotto rice
- Tortillas – some have a 3 month shelf life, or they can be frozen
- Pitta bread – similar to tortillas
- Part baked baguettes – usually have a 2 month shelf life
- Bread mix – for hand baking bread
- Flour – plain and self raising
- Instant mash (Idahoan brand is my favourite)
- Hash browns
- Tinned potatoes
- Shortcrust pastry mix (dried, in a packet, just add water)
Sauces & Condiments
If I’m going to have a restricted diet post-Brexit, I’d prefer to be able to make the flavours exciting!
- Green curry paste
- Massaman curry paste
- Korma paste
- Katsu curry (Yutaka brand blocks)
- Miso paste
- Pasta sauce
- Condensed mushroom soup – can be used as the base for a variety of different sauces
- Hollandaise sauce mix
- Soy sauce
- Balsamic vinegar
- Mint sauce
- Olive oil
- Yoghurt & mint dressing
- Maggi liquid seasoning
- Small bottles of wine (for making risotto)
- Garlic puree
- Tomato puree
- Anchovy paste
- Stock (I like Marigold Bouillon)
- Herbs & spices – what are you currently running low on?
- Lemon juice
- Lime juice
- Maple syrup
- Golden syrup
- Nut butter
- Chocolate spread
- Lemon curd
- Easiyo set & packets – a foolproof method of turning shelf stable powders into fresh yoghurt. Lakeland and Amazon often do special offers on the sachets.
- Parmesan (like all hard cheese, it can be frozen)
- Cheddar (frozen)
- Halloumi (has a shelf life of several months in the fridge)
- Emmi fondue cheese (shelf stable; available at Waitrose)
- Mozzarella (frozen)
- Butter (frozen)
- Powdered milk – Marvel is skimmed; Nido is full fat. I prefer powdered over UHT because it takes up less space and has a longer shelf life.
- Long life sour cream (Mexican section)
- Carnation extra thick cream (tinned)
- Ice cream
Because we all need some comfort food from time to time!
- Long life puddings e.g. syrup sponge
- Fruit tea
- Coffee syrup
- Hot chocolate
- Fruit juice
- Nut milk
There is concern that tap water may not be safe to drink after Brexit, due to the chemicals used to purify it being both imported and too volatile to stockpile. However, I’m only doing modest water-related prepping as it would be something the government prioritised above almost all other supply problems
- Water purification tablets are a cheap option at £1.75 for 100 (1 tablet per litre)
- LifeStraw would work out cheaper for longer-term issues.
- Bucket – for collecting water, from a standpipe or elsewhere
- Bottled water – but only a small quantity as it’s space hungry and environmentally disastrous
- Hair styling product
- Shower gel
- Razor blades
- Cotton wool pads
- Cotton wool buds
- Toothbrush & paste
- Make up
- Loo roll (the average Brit uses 110 per year)
- First aid kit
- Over the counter and prescription medication
Cleaning & Household
- Washing up liquid
- Washing up brush
- Kitchen roll
- Anti-bacterial spray
- Greaseproof paper
- Tin foil
- Washing powder
- Bin bags
- Recycling bags (if your council has special ones)
- Vacuum bags
- Paper plates & disposable cutlery
- Mouse & rat traps (and a jar of peanut butter as bait)
In the event of food shortages, the government will likely start to prioritise different items at the ports. Pet food will be a long way down that list. I have therefore decided to prep for longer for my dog and hamster – about a year – than I am for myself.
- Dog food – wet and dry
- Spare toys
- Flea & worm treatment
- Vaccination boosters done
- Peanut butter (Xylitol free)
- Dog poo bags
- Hamster food
- Hamster bedding
- Solar powered phone charger
- Wind up radio
- Wind up torch / candles / USB rechargeable head torch
- Bike service – for transport if there are fuel shortages – or even if there aren’t.
- Socks and pants
- Spare tin opener
- Kilner jars
This is one person’s list – and hopefully it will provide some ideas for others. Please don’t feel you need to have a list that’s as long or as comprehensive. Your needs are different to mine. Even adding a week or two of food will be very helpful if there are shortages. Something is better than nothing!
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