Survival is about saving the lives of your family and loved ones as well as your own. We prepare for everything as best we can, but we never know what exactly the situation will be. We can only prepare for the worst with survival as our main goal. Whether we will be bugged in at home or bugged out someplace safe, food will be necessary to keep us alive. Cooking without electricity isn’t as hard as you might think, and it is a vital survival skill.
Cooking Off The Grid
Preparing food can be a challenge when there is no electricity. In addition to the darkness making things difficult, cooking without an electric stove, oven, or microwave is challenging.
Eating fresh, raw foods is a good alternative, but some foods like meat need to be cooked to be more palatable and safer for the body. This is what makes cooking without electricity so important to learn.
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Cooking Without Electricity
If the power goes out (grid down) and the electricity is off for a period of time, you will need an alternative method of cooking without electricity. Even your kitchen’s gas stove might require electricity to operate, so it’s best to consider multiple ways to cook and/or to boil water.
Here are a few ideas:
One obvious cooking alternative is by way of a wood fire, perhaps with a cooking grate placed over it supported by logs, stones, bricks, etc.
A ‘rocket stove’ is an efficient way of utilizing a controlled burn of a wood fire – a method which uses little firewood to create a quick hot fire. There are several popular varieties available.
A Dutch oven cooker either hanging over an outdoor fire or setting directly in a bed of hot coals (or hot coals on top of the Dutch oven’s cover) – perhaps in your fireplace if you have one. Good Dutch ovens are made of cast iron (they retain heat longer).
The issue with cooking over a fire is that it must be done outdoors. Weather may be an issue. This will probably not be an option for anyone living in the city or much of suburbia depending on your location.
Your barbeque grill is a likely option for cooking without electricity (until you run out of fuel), be it charcoal or propane gas. Always keep a full (large) tank, and preferably an extra tank (filled). If you use charcoal, when it goes on sale buy extra bags.
Again, weather and season may be an issue because you will have to cook outdoors. Preferably you’ll have a protected outdoor area for cooking which will make it a bit easier during bad weather. NEVER cook indoors with a bbq grill.
A solar oven can be very effective during the summer months, during days when there are few clouds – however this will be a limited use option.
via Cooking Without Electricity.
Fruits and some vegetables can be eaten safely without the need to cook them. Meat may be enjoyable as steak or barbecue but there is the risk of ingesting bacteria that can make you sick. We all know how important health is in helping us get through the difficult period so there is no point in taking too many risks.
Chicken and other poultry, including the liver, need to be cooked before eating. Pork also needs cooking, so do offal, rolled joints of meat, kebabs, burgers, and sausages. Always remember that there are more threats to your survival apart from fellow human beings. Uncooked food especially meats do not only make you sick but those with bacteria like salmonella and e. coli can be downright deadly.
Practice good hygiene as much as possible. Even when in the wild, try to clean your hands before preparing and eating food. When you have your family with you at home or in the wild, this becomes even more important. Food is supposed to keep you alive and help you survive.
We have a barbeque grill that we always keep extra charcoal in case of an emergency. The rocket stove you suggested sounds super fast and efficient. That is definitely a route I will try. Thanks for the tips!
Too often over the years I seen the very bad advice that just because something won’t year around or its pay back period is too long, you shouldn’t get it or install it. Not that it shouldn’t be considered, just that it should not be the only reason not to do do something. So just because solar/wind doesn’t work 24/7 doesn’t mean it won’t save fuel that may hard to come by or get you through that power outage.
Just like something I read awhile back. Somebody asked what it would take to run an electric heater for his cabin (maybe just in daylight) on solar power and all the expert said was don’t do it, just get gas powered generator just like he never have problems getting fuel. Anyway he never got an answer so he decide if it was worth the cost to him.
I see I made some typos
Too often over the years I seen the very bad advice that just because something won’t work year around or its pay back period is too long, you shouldn’t get it or install it. Not that it shouldn’t be considered, just that it should not be the only reason not to do do something. So just because solar/wind doesn’t work 24/7 doesn’t mean it won’t save fuel that may hard to come by or get you through that power outage.
Just like something I read awhile back. Somebody asked what it would take to run an electric heater for his cabin (maybe just in daylight) on solar power and all the expert said was don’t do it, just get gas powered generator just like he never have problems getting fuel. Anyway he never got an answer so he could decide if it was worth the cost to him.
A survival trick I have never seen anyone expound upon is using the wood burning fireplace common to many homes today. Our ancestors used wood burning fire places for heat as well as cooking. Granted the modern wood burning fireplace is not properly designed for cooking ( or heating either ) but it certainly will perform the job if approached correctly. I have cooked several meals at our household when electricity for our stove and oven were shut down. I have even baked bread in my Dutch oven in our fireplace just to prove to my adult daughter it could be done. Many of these modern wood burning fireplaces are equipped with a natural gas or propane fire starter that can also be used for cooking when hardwood is not available. MANY urban survivalist forget about those wood burning fireplaces that can be used in emergency’s particularly when the outside weather is not conducive to outdoor activities. . Just don’t forget to open the flue !
I have a small Camp Chef propane camp oven with a bulk hose adapter for a full sized propane tank. It is surprisingly efficient and I can cook anything in it that I could make in my regular oven. That is my first back-up. Secondly, I have a traditional wood burning fireplace in my living room, and I can cook over the fire if necessary. We also have a large fire pit set up in the back field if we really needed to cook outdoors, and plenty of wood gets split and stacked when we clean up the woods every year. Of course we have a gas grill too and you’d be surprised what you can cook on a grill! I’ve even made pizza on my grill! My final back-up is a cardboard box, lined with heavy aluminum foil that can be used as a camp oven with charcoal (another reason to stock and extra bag of charcoal). Each little brick is equal to about 35 degrees, so if the recipe calls for 350 degrees, you use 10 little bricks, give or take. If the box is properly insulated, and you don’t peek too much, and it’s not too cold or windy, it will hold heat for 45 to 55 minutes and works pretty evenly too! I have been experimenting with using 2 foil lined boxes (stacked/layered) to improve insulation and efficiency. I actually managed to bake a cake on a camping trip with one of these babies! And on the bright side, just about everyone has a cardboard box laying around somewhere and people should probably be stocking some aluminum foil in their emergency supplies already, so this is a really easy cooking hack!
one important thing to remember is to use ALL of your fuel that you fire up,and use just the bare minimum to cook and cook several meals for consumption for next day or two. if you have to “put out” your fire you’re not being frugal. next time you bbq go look at the pit after dark.