Monday, September 19, 2011

Alternate Cooking Methods

One of my readers said one of the things that stands in the way of them being fully prepared is alternate methods of cooking.  I have to say, I really am not prepared in that area, except for my backyard grill and a lighter.  Granted we have grill gas and wood, so we could get by. 

But one thing that always bothered me about cooking outside in a dire "poo hit the fan" situation was depicted on an episode of "Dark Angel".  Dark Angel was a television series where an electromagnetic pulse weapon was used in the atmosphere over the United States.  One episode told the story of a family who was prepared for such emergencies.  They had a generator that kept their power going after "the pulse" had turned a nearby town into darkened chaos.  The townspeople thought that the prepared family had somehow done this to them because they still had power and attacked the family, killing them and burning their home. 

Of course, I know this is Hollywood, but have you ever heard the expression, "life imitating art"?  We are talking of mob mentality here.  So, if I am prepared and start cooking my food outside and others don't have means or food, that could leave me and my family vulnerable.  What might I be getting at?  Well, two things.  One, discretion in preparedness and two, pre-cooked food.

So, while we want to help others learn to be more self-sustaining, we need to be discreet and not publish what we have all over the Internet and TV.

Also, after a stint of ice storms that took out our electricity and we lost a lot of food in a huge freezer, we decided we didn't want to rely on electricity to preserve our food.  And, if we pre-cook our food, we can just open a jar and eat it cold in a real "poo hit the fan situation".  Not the most ideal, but definitely doable.  So, we learned to preserve meat by canning.

Let me say that you need to follow ALL safety precautions and check with your local extension office for the correct way to can food in your area.  Here is a video my husband and I did on canning ground beef.  Remember, do not do this at home unless you contact your extension office for the proper proceduresCanning meat can be deadly if done improperly.  In fact, your local extension agent may not recommend canning ground beef, but you can use the same method for canning beef chunks or roast.  BE SURE TO FOLLOW YOUR AGENT'S INSTRUCTIONS OR YOU CAN END UP POISONED.    

We also did a series on home butchered and canned chicken.   You can view it on my channel here.

The extension office recommends that you heat the canned jar contents for 15 minutes after you open them and before you consume them.  In a normal situation, you would do so.  I am speaking of using this in times when you don't have an alternate method of cooking. 

My friend, Marianna Bailey has uploaded a wonderful document to her Facebook page about alternate means of cooking.  I don't think anyone can access the page unless they are part of the group, so I will post her document here.  It is vital information and I thank Marianna for sharing it.  She has a great group called "Prepare with Me".  I love it.  You should join it. 

Here is the document, if you can access it:  Cooking Without Electric.  If not, I have posted it below, in it's entirety.  It is more information than I have ever seen compiled on the subject.

Kylene Jones said there are a few basic principles that apply to cooking without electricity.
• Conserve fuel so you don't need a lot
• Plan to be able to cook indoors and out, in the home or evacuated, in cold and hot weather
• Remember, any flame can produce carbon monoxide — the cooking area must be well ventilated

Different emergencies will require different things.
Kylene Jones said she likes canned heat for basic cooking because it lights easily, burns hot and she can simply take away a can to lower the cooking temperature.
She said Coleman fuel or white gas is very effective but also very dangerous and must be stored out of the house. 
Kerosene must be used with great caution but requires very little oxygen.
Propane has an indefinite shelf life but homeowners may only keep up to five of the 20-lb. containers. If the propane leaks, it lingers and will explode at a spark or flame.
Butane stoves are lightweight but won't work well in cold weather.
Charcoal briquettes are easy to use and inexpensive but should never be burned indoors.

Observe Fire Safety Rules (from
• Do not bring a gas grill or stove inside, as this can cause toxic fumes and vapors to build up in your home, and is also a fire hazard.
• Do not build a fire or light a grill close to your home or garage.
• Leave plenty of space so sparks don’t fly off and ignite something you want to keep.
• If you cook on a wood stove, keep small children clear of it at all times.
• Never use gasoline to start a wood or charcoal fire; it can explode and burn anyone nearby severely.

(the following info. taken from government site:
There are 91,200 BTUs in a gallon of propane - times a 4 gallon bottle = 364,800 BTUs in a 20 lb tank. Take 364,800 and divide it by your burner’s BTU rating to figure how many hours you can run your burner on High. If you turn the burners down, you can extend that time a bit.  Normally you won't be cooking with it on full heat.

Under normal usage, one can (16.4 oz. Coleman Propane Cylinder) will burn about one hour.  When using the one burner “Perfect Flow Stove” from Coleman, which attaches to the top of the cylinder, one can will last 2 hours on high or 4.5 hours on low. This type of stove works well for heating small pans of food or water only. Heavier pans must be hooked up to a larger camping stove or a single burner stove that rests on a flat surface.

Charcoal goes on sale for the best prices of the year around Memorial  Day and Labor Day. The last two years sales prices have been about $4 per bag (16 lbs - 20 lbs).  Kingsford Original Brand (not matchlight) burn hotter, longer.

More Great Websites for Cooking without Electricity and MORE:

For Recipes and Other Preparedness:

Alternatives to Electric Appliances: (list from:
(Google or search the above website for specifics on these)

Alcohol Stoves
Apples Box Oven
Camp Stoves (liquid fuel)
Canned Heat
Dutch Oven
Hay Box
Kerosene Stoves
MRE Heaters
Paperbox Oven
Portable Grill
Pressure Cooker
Propane Stoves
Solar Ovens
Thermos Cooking
Volcano Stove
Wood Cook Stoves

For Volcano Stoves:

-Use 3 different kinds of fuel
-Use less fuel
-Compact and outside of stove stays cool to the touch

For Rocket Stoves printed picture instructions:

-Search Rocket Stove in a #10 Can

Rocket Stove Videos:

-Search “Best Rocket Stove Design Ever”
-Over 100 Preparedness Videos posted by our own Bro. Gillmore

Alternative Cooking Methods

Dutch Oven Cooking: Cooking techniques such as roasting, baking simmering, stewing, frying, boiling, steaming, and many others are easily done on the campfire with only a single utensil, the dutch oven. Think of the possibilities, delicious fresh baked bread that will rise up and lift the lid, cobblers made from berries picked fresh at the campsite, incredible deep-dish pizzas, stews, quiches that melt in your mouth, Cornish game hens roasted to perfection, and imagine a chocolate cake a foot in diameter. These and many, many more are very possible and sometimes easier than they are at home. With very few exceptions, I have been able to duplicate my home recipes on the campfire using the dutch oven. Check out this website for a complete book about Dutch Oven cooking, with recipes included: 

Rocket Stove: Why? – Rocket Stoves are:

Fuel Efficient: Because they direct all the heat energy (from the flames) upward, most of the heat actually goes into heating the food, rather than being radiated outward (like most campfires). Instruction for a rocket stove:
Rocket_Stove_In_A_Number_10_Can. Here's a variation:

Here's another one:

Volcano Stove: Volcano II Collapsible Stove. You will love the versatility of this stove. The Volcano II Collapsible Stove works great with many different methods of cooking and three different fuels. Use this collapsible stove for your cookouts, camping, or emergency cooking. 

• Tri-fuel Stove: The Volcano II Collapsible Stove uses Charcoal, Wood, or Propane*. Changes easily between each of the fuel sources.
• Versatile Cooking Options: Grill right on the stove, or use a skillet, griddle, pot, or wok. Also great for 10-12” Dutch ovens!
• Patented Heat Chamber: Cook a meal with as few as 12 briquettes. 15-20 lb bags of charcoal can be enough for 1 hot meal a day for a year (we recommend storing the charcoal in sealed plastic buckets to protect from moisture). • Double Wall Construction: The Volcano II Collapsible Stove minimizes heat transfer.  Much safer for small children.
• Collapsible: Collapses to only 5.5” tall for easy storage. Comes with a storage bag.

*Propane attachment included in combo or sold separately. Works only with 20 lb tanks.

Solar Ovens: Solar cooking requires only your oven and a sunny day. Brightness of the day, and not outside air temperature is the most important factor. Solar cooking entails a few basic principles; reflection, concentration, the green house effect and absorption. Solar ovens have properly arranged reflective inner walls to direct and concentrate the sun's energy on the dark pot or dark bottom tray. A clear covering lets in solar heat, but prevents most of it from escaping, producing a green house effect. You know how hot the inside of your car gets in the summer sun, your black pot is similar to the dark upholstery that gets too hot to touch by the process of heat absorption. Sun Sport Solar Oven Sun Ovens Want to make your own solar oven:

Butane Stove: Another usable fuel for cooking... Can be used inside in a well vented area.

Wonder Box: or

Fuel: Insta-Fire is a safe, simple, and versatile new fire starting product. It has water-repellent properties, a fiffteen minute burn time and a thirty year shelf life. Use it to light campfires, prepare charcoal briquettes, or as a safe and reliable fuel source for cooking or heating in emergency situations.

Fired Up: Similar to Insta-Fire but at a different price. Comes in two sizes...!%E2%84%A2%20Emergency%20Fuel%20&%20Firestarter%20IN-A-BUCKET%20-%2013%20lbs

Magnesium Fire Starter: In survival situations, you'll want this simple, compact magnesium fire starter with you at all times to get a fire going even in damp weather. The magnesium fire starter is a small block of magnesium that is waterproof and fireproof in its solid form. Scrape some shavings and then strike the firesteel built into the starter to ignite the shavings. The fire generated is extremely hot and will ignite even damp kindling. Compact size – fits in a pocket - Comes with a striker -

Built-in fire steel for sparking. Harbor Tools has the best price...


Well, my Prepared Household, that should get you started on alternative methods of cooking.  All links are live, just click on them to access the page. 

What do you have in your storage for alternative methods of cooking?  Have you tried or tested them?  What works for you?  Please share.


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